Traditional links between Buganda, Bachwezi, Babito and Bahima

As people fleeing from various regimes, their ideology was understandably anti-Bachwezi, anti-Babito and anti-Bahima. It is not surprising that traditions linking Buganda to any of the three groups have been suppressed, even where the evidence is overwhelming. For instance, when we compare the Bachwezi traditions of Bunyoro and Nkore with the traditions of Buganda, which rarely refer to the Bachwezi, we find several similarities which historians cannot afford to ignore. In Bunyoro and Nkore the gatekeeper of King Isaza of Kitara was Bukulu of the Balanzi clan. On the Sesse Islands the traditions of the otter clan – which is the same as the Balanzi clan – name one Bukulu. In Bunyoro and Nkore, the daughter of Bukulu, and hence the mother of King Ndahura, was Nyinamwiru. The Kiganda equivalent is Namuddu, who is widely found in Sesse legends. From the west we learn that Bukulu’s grandson was called Mugasha, and in Buganda tradition gives the name of Bukulu’s grandson as Mukasa. W e learn from the traditions of Nkore that Mugasha disappeared in Lake Victoria; according to Bunyoro tradition, King Wamara disappeared into the lake and he was also responsible for the construction of Lake Wamala. In Buganda, Wamala, who is a descendant of Bukulu, is associated with the making of the same lake. Moreover, just as the Bachwezi spirits are deified in the Kitara complex area, the Buganda deify the spirits of the descendants of Bukulu, such as Nende and Mukasa. Is it not possible, therefore, that the descendants of Bukulu in Buganda
were Bachwezi?

To go back to the fleeing clans that constituted the Kimera complex, it would appear that, just as they left Bunyoro at different times, they also arrived in Buganda at different times. Unfortunately, all these refugee clans, irrespective of when they reached Buganda, now regard themselves as part of the Kimera migration, largely because people like to associate themselves with success. Kimera, the leader of refugee groups, founded a new dynasty and a state that brought together the thirty-five clans that had settled in the area from different directions. Each clan wanted to participate in the monarchy, and therefore there arose in Buganda the custom of each clan presenting wives to the Kabaka, giving each the opportunity to provide his successor.70 B y 1500 the migration and settlement period of Buganda history had ended. T h e consolidation and expansion of the new kingdom belonged to the future.

B. A. Ogot (Kenya); specialist in African and particularly East African history; has published many works and articles on the history and archaeology of East Africa; teacher, researcher, former Director of the International Louis Leakey Memorial Institute for African Prehistory.

Source: General History of Africa Vol.IV. [Editor: D. T. Niane] Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century. Chapter 20. The Great Lakes Region.

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