A myth has it that the first person to live on earth was kintu, the father of all people. He lived alone together with his cow which was his source of food. Up in heaven, there was the creator “Gulu” who lived with his children. The children occasionally came down to visit earth and play. One day, they met Kintu and his cow. Nambi, Gulu’s only daughter fell in love with Kintu. She decided to take kintu with her back to heaven and ask for her father’s permission to marry Kintu. Her father accepted after her pleading a lot. Gulu asked Nambi and Kintu to quickly return back to earth , before one of Nambi’s elder brothers, Walumbe, found out. Gulu feared that Walumbe would bring both Kintu and Nambi misery (sickness and death) if he retured with them back on earth. Nambi picked a chicken to take with her to earth. While descending to earth, Nambi remembered that she had left the millet in heaven. Kintu talked her into not going back but she insisted on returning to fetch the millet. After she had got the millet from heaven, she descended back to earth, but on her way she met Walumbe who asked her where she was going.She did not respond. Walumbe then followed her down to earth.Walumbe’s existence on earth is said to have brought conflicts and death.
However, there are over 45 tribes living in the ‘Pearl of Africa’, Uganda; spread in all thefive regions which includeCentral, Western, Southern, Eastern and Northern. According to current statistics annalysed by the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development; Uganda has a total population of about 40.3 million people, having a 3.58% growth rate compared to the 2015 Census that estimated the population to be about 34.6 million people.Uganda is composed of about 2 main ethnic groups, Bantu and Nilotics ethnic groups. The Bantu group is the dominant ethnic group, occupying most of the regions in the country which include Eastern, Southern, Central and Western. The Nilotics group occupies the Northern region of the Country. Some of the tribes belonging to the Bantu Ethnic group include Banyoro, Bakiiga, Bagisu, Baganda, Batooro, Banyankole, Bahima, Basoga, Banyole, Bagwere, Bakonjo, Bafumbira, Batwa, Baruuli, Banyala, Batuku and others. The Nilotic include Itesots, Langi, Acholi, Karamajongs, Lugbara’s, Dodoth, Sebei’s, Aringa, Alur, Kuman, Madi and others.
Uganda’s population started way back around 500 B.C with the migration of different ethnic groups from different parts of Africa. The Bantu speaking group is believed to have originated from Cameroon in West Africa, and migrated into Central, Southern and Eastern Africa. Some of the reasons as to whythey migratedinclude search of fertile land to carry out cultivation since they were agriculturalists; search of suitable weather that supports plant growth and human settlement; traditional conflicts and many other reasons. By the 13th centuary, they had settled and formed Kingdoms within Africa. In Uganda, the Banyoro are believed to have been the first tribe to have migrated into its interior and occupied areas around Lake Kyoga in the Northwest region up to those surrounding Lake Victoria in the Central and Southern regions.They formed a Kingdom, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom which was by then the most powerful Kingdom in Uganda led by the Omukama. The Banyoro were followed by the Baganda who settled in the areas of the Southern Region. The two tribes eventually started having civil wars, however, Buganda was the weaker one. Upon the arrival of Arabs in Uganda, around 1843, Bunyoro Kitara started losing some of its land to Buganda Kingdom. The Arabs, led by Ahmed Bin Ibrahim, upon reaching Uganda, were hosted by Buganda Kingdom which was a great enemy to Bunyoro Kingdom. Their main reason for penetrating into Uganda’s interior was looking for Ivory and also spread Islam. In return, Arabs offered the King of Buganda, Kabaka Mutesa I mirrors, jewellery, cloth, beads gun powder and guns. Buganda used the guns against the Bunyoro Kingdom to expand its territories, and with time, Buganda Kingdom become the largest and strongest Kingdom in Uganda.
Later, in 1877, Christian missionaries approached Buganda. The first missionaries to come to Uganda were Shergold smith and C.T. Wilson, who were from the Church missionary Society (Protestants) in Britain. In 1879, the French Catholic White Fathers (Catholics) arrived in Buganda. Their major aim of coming to Uganda was to spread Christianity amongst the people. The Two religious groups split Buganda kingdom into two; the Protestants supported the British rule while the Catholics supported the Germans rule. The Germans had by then approached Buganda too with being led by Karl Peters. January 1892, a religious war broke between the the baganda catholic converts, Islams and protestant converts. The Catholics and Islam’s were defeated when Fredrick Lugard, a British soldier and explore intervened with a prototype machine gun. Lugard’s existence saw the British expand to other kingdoms and conquering power. With time, other Bantu ethnic Group tribes continued to migrate into the areas of Uganda. Nilotics ethnic group however, began migrating to the Northern Region of Uganda in the 14th Century.
The tribes in Uganda dominate as follows; Baganda (17.4%), Basoga (8.4%), Banyankole (9.8%), Bakiga (7%), Langi (3.2%), Acholi (4.8%), Bagisu (4.1%), Lugbara 4.14%) and others (33%.3). The most widely spoken local language in Uganda is Luganda, belonging to the Baganda tribe. However, the official languages in Uganda are English and Swahili. English was introduced by the colonial masters, the British; and Swahili was approved as the second official language in 2005. It is not widely spoken by the tribes in Uganda, especially those belonging to the Bantu ethnic group. Swahili is however widely spoken in the Nothern Region by tribes belonging to the Nilotics Ethnic Group. Swahili has for years been used mostly by the Police and Military forces, which are highly dominated by people from the Nothern region. This is as a result of the recruitment of people from the region into security forces ever since the colonial period.
Religion in Uganda
Uganda’s religion varies from Anglican, Muslim, Bahai, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventists, Atheists and Sikhism. However, Catholic religion is the dominant religion in Uganda, spanning at about 41.9%. Other religions rate at 12.1% for Muslims; 4.6% for Pentecostals; 1.5% for Seventh-day Adventists; Baha’i faith at 0.3%; Atheists at 0.9%; Sikhism and others at 3.1%. For those who undertake safaris in Ugandaand happen to tour around Country’s Capital, Kampala; they get to be rewarded with viewing of amazing religious sites which over-look the city center in the valley, on top of hills. Muslims have their two main worship centers on both Kibuli and Old Kampala hills; Baha’i faith has its temple in the outskirts of Kampala. It is the one of the 8 Baha’i faith temples in the World and the only one in Africa; Anglicans have their center of worship at Namirembe cathedral on Namirembe hill; Catholics have their center of worship at Rubaga Cathedral on Lubaga hill.
In Uganda, different tribes have different customs and norms which are regarded to as Culture.