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Post by sol_drethedon on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:45 pm

KASUBI TOMBS

Kasubi Royal Tombs Worlds Heritage Site, a magnificent 54-acre place with great cultural, political, spiritual and historical value to and Buganda, a potential tourist goldmine for Uganda and a human civilization heritage recognized and classified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Unfortunately, the main center of attraction, the imposing grass-thatched house Muzibu Azaala Mpanga was burnt down on March 16, 2010, leading to a loss of many valuable and rare art crafts and regalia. It is still undergoing reconstruction and no one is allowed to take a photo of it.

At the main entrance, the reception, are two men who go by the titles of Mulamba and Nsingo who are in charge of the reception and security of the whole place. Nsingo deputises Mulamba. The duo is backed up by a number of abambowa who guard the minor entrances. The site is administered by a Nnaalinnya, assisted by a Katikkiro


PLACE TURNED INTO BURIAL PLACE

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention website officially lists the 54-acre site as the "Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi", and remarks thus: "Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods.. The core of this site at the hilltop is the former palace of Kabaka Mutesa I built in 1882 and converted into the roysal burial ground in 1884 when he died. Mutesa was reconstructing an earlier palace set up on the same place by his father Suuna II in 1820, which was no more.

Four royal tombs( or rather four sections of the 'Sacred Forest') lie within the now burnt Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which was circular and surmounted by a dome.

UNESCO says of Muzibu Azaala Mpanga: " It ia a major example of an architectural in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site's main significance lies, however in intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity."

Originally. each Buganda king was buried in his palace. But since Mutesa I, three other kings; Basammula-Ekkere Mwanga II, Daudi Chwa II, and Freddie Mutesa II were buried at Kasubi. Mutesa I called his main house Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, literally meaning "It's a tough hen that produces a cock" in praise of his mother whose identity was in dispute. He ascended the throne in 1856 from obscurity and turned Buganda into one of the most powerful and influential kingdoms of East Africa.

The main house was supported by 54 pillars representing the 54 clans of Buganda. In the center of the pillars were three rings representing the royal family. Officials say nine lions were sacrificed at the site before the huge site could be erected. Tradition has it that once the three rings touch the ground the structure collapses, nine lions would have to be sacrificed to put up pillars that would again carry the rings. Getting nine lions today would be problematic. The kingdom would have to go into consultation with the government of Uganda, The UgandaWildlife Authority and UNESCO over the matter. Since also, a reigning king has the powers to change any tradition, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi could perhaps make an adjustment regarding the nine lions. Beyond that the details of construction remain cagey.

Although Mutesa I had 84 wives, only less than 20 of his favorites lived in this palace and the rest of the majority lived around Mengo, Nakulabye, Makerere, up to Kololo in a wide expanse of land romantically called Nyanja eladde, literally "The lake is calm". The descendants of these wives and ritual wives of kings live on this site. Four ritual wives of the four kings buried in Muzibu Azaala Mpanga stayed in this main house until the fire destroyed it. There are several, some elderly, others not too old, such ritual wives of former kings littered on the site. The tradition is that since the king never dies, his favorite wife/wives must always be alive as well. One of them, Omuzaana Kabejja, the fourth generation in the title Kabejja is introduced as the name of the most favourite wife of Mutesa I. Wow!!

Muzibu Azaala Mpanga was rebuilt in 1938 by Daudi ChwaII. The date the 1938 reconstruction started, March 1, while others are outdoors6, Is the same date the fire gutted this magnificent structure in 2010, and the date the ongoing construction started in 2011. Officials explain that the current reconstruction, budgeted at Shs 2 billion, would rebuild not only Muzibu Azaala Mpanga but also several other houses that had lost their original materials and make-up over the past years of political turmoil and hardships. As much effort as possible is being made to rebuild these many houses to their original state using materials such as grass, wood and reeds. Omega Construction, the contractors, are expected to install smoke and fire detectors and fire fighting equipment.

A TOUR AROUND

The site has several tombs, and not in one or two places. Some tombs are indoors, ,There are a number of houses some rounded and others rectangular. Although all houses on the site were originally grass-thatched, majority of them are now iron sheet roofed. Here below I highlight just a few of the spots of interest and importance in the compound of the former palace.This murram compound would look better if covered with grass or tarmacked or fitted with pavers, although some of these may be contrary to cultural beliefs. The compound is, of course surrounded by many graves, houses and gardens.

1. NDOGA OBUKABA

This is the house most immediate to the entrance. It keeps the royal drums and is in charge of information. The title of the keeper is Kawuula, who must be from the Lugave(Pangolin) clan. He was culturally supposed to be a eunuch and women are not supposed to enter this house. Ndoga Obukaba literally means "I curse sexual urge". As chief communicator, Kawuula was traditionally never allowed to go outside the palace. However the current Kawuula has children... Of the many drums here are three main ones. Mujaguzo is played mainly at the enthronement of the king. The Mujaguzo that is still kept here belonged to Mutesa I. Bantadde is played to announce arrival on the site or departure of any royal family member. The third drum Kanaba is played to announce the death of a royal family member. Opposite Ndoga Obukaba, is the waiting lounge, which apparently is an open space with no shed at all.

2. EKYOTO (The Fire Place)

This place is second next to the entrance, after Ndoga Obukaba. It's fire is supposed to keep burning all the time to symbolize that the king is alive. Tradition says that Buganda kings dont die, but just disappesr in the forest. The caretaker of the fire place is called Musolooza and it isa hereditary position, exclusive to the Nyonyi Nakinsige Clan. The fire place used to be at the entrance but when Mutesa I, who founded the palace at Kasubi disappeared, died, or rather disappeared into the forest as a true lion, it was brought inside the courtyard.

3. NJAGALA KASAAYI (House of Mutesa I's wife)

Njagala Kasaayi (I need blood). This house arose from succession arguments and fights among the heirs that would occur in this house after the king's death. The name of the wife in charge of this house is called Kikome. Heirs to members of the royal family are prepared (pased out) from his house . When the reigning king visits the tombs site, he ritualistically becomes prince(child)on entering this house because this the palace of his fore fathers(not his own as such)

4. GAZIMBYE

This is the house of the grand mother of the king, called Luyiga, who is responsible for the confirmation of the rituals. The lady responsible for rituals in this house belongs to the NGO (Leopard) clan

5. KATALAMA ( House of Mutesa I's wife)

The wife in charge of this house is called Nanzigu and is from the Mbogo (Buffallo) clan. Nanzigu is the ritual wife who sits with the king on the day of succession to the throne.

6. BAKWAYA(House of the twin of Daudi Chwa II)

The in-charge of this house which is also reffered to as Omulongo wa Daudi Chwa and belongs to the Ngonge (Otter) clan. Here is preserved the umbilical cord of the king which was ritualistically treated and preserved as the twin of the king. Guests here, reffered to as guests of the twin, are served with wine and coffee beans called kattamukago as a sign of frienship

7. MAWOME(House of Mutesa I's wife)

The wife responsible for this house is called Ssaabaddu, from the Ngeye (Columbus monkey) clan. She was responsible for the king's royal regalia and was the closest confidante.

8. LUVUMBI (House of Mutesa I's wife)

This is the house of lady Mukwasa, of Ngonge (Otter) clan, who was responsible for grooming all the princesses in the palace. The keeper of the house hereditary and comes from the lineage of Mukwasa.

9. NNAALINYA'S TOMBS

The house has tombs of some Nnaalinyas. The title Nnalinya replaced Lubuga and was first used on princess Nkinzi. Princess Damali Nkinzi, the daughter of Ssuuna II who is apparently burried at Wamala palace, was the Nnaalinya of Mutesa I. King Mutesa I was so found of his sister Nkinzi that they used to dine together. She perpetually came late for dinner and would courteously say: "Nnaalinya mu mmere." ( I might step in the food) as she paved her way to sit. The king would jokingly say: "Take a seat; you always step in the food", hence her new name.

Nkinzi's heiress was princess Nakamaanya, daughter of Daudi Chwa II; herself succeeded by princess Muggale, daughter of prince Mawanda. The Nnaalinya's of Kasubi are from the lineage of Mutesa I.

10. MUZIBU AZAALA MPANGA

Narrating what the main house was made of, contained and meant to the people of Buganda brings sad moments of grief. The structure that used to house the 'sacred forest' and a lot of regalia, wa 31 metres in diameter and 7.5 metres high. Inside it a thick bark cloth curtain partitioned off the 'sacred forest' where four royal graves lay. Only royal family members, widows of the Kabaka's,the Nnaalinya's and the Katikkiro's were allowed entrance into the sacred forest.

Lamenting the loss of the beauty, harmony and power displayed by the interior of Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, it is said of how the floor used to be covered with a thick layer of grass and palm leaves mats and the main reception room was adorned with power insignias such as medals, drums, shields, and photographs of the kabakas buried there and the gigantic straight wooden poles wrapped in bark cloth that supported the heavy roof of steel bars and a thick layer of grass metals The thatching and repairs of the thatch roof were the preserve of the Ngeye clan (Columbus monkey) whose elders passed on the special skill to the young through apprenticeship.


COMPILED BY:

DON DRE.








Last edited by sol_drethedon on Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:30 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by sungula on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:55 pm

i love this dude
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