The Bahehe tribe
The Bahehe are a tribe in South-eastern Uganda, on Lake Victoria’s north eastern shores, on Uganda’s border with Kenya.
The Bahehe belong to the Bantu ethnic group. They originated from Tanzania where they were part of the Hehe people who live in south-central Tanzania. They may have migrated to Uganda via Lake Victoria – Lake connection. When they reached Uganda, they got in contact with the Basamia people living on the north-eastern shores of Lake Victoria and integrated with them; eventually adopting the Basamia culture. The Bahehe belong to Buhehe region (in Busia) and are governed in a clan system.
The Bahehe are agricultural people but also do fishing. They farm millet, sorghum, cassava, beans and other vegetables. Their staple food is Cassava, Millet and Sorghum. Just like the Basamia, they call Cassava – “Amoogo”, Millet – “Obule “, Sorghum – “Amabere “. Cassava is mixed with millet or sorghum to make “Obusuma”, a cassava-millet or cassava-sorghum bread. Obusuma is eaten with “Engeni” (fish). This fish is obtained from Lake Victoria.
The Bahehe language is called “Lusamia”, which is also the language spoken by the Basamia tribe.
The Bahehe dress code is traditionally animal skin called “efungo”.
The Bahehe dances (same for Basamia and Bagwe) include: owaro, ekworo, eboodi and esikudi. Eboodi and ekworo are love dances. Owaro and esikudi are performed when people are happy.
The Bahehe, together with the Basamia and Bagwe, are the guardians and custodians of Busia Border Post: Uganda’s, and East Africa’s busiest border post. Busia Border Post is located on the border of Uganda and Kenya. The border post handles Uganda’s largest exports worth UGX 798 billion (US$220 million) as of 2016/2017. Busia border town is the most popular border town in Eastern Uganda.
The Bahehe, together with the Basamia and Bagwe, are the guardians and custodians of Paradise Beach, and Sangalo Sand Beach Majanji. These beaches are both located on Lake Victoria’s northern shores. They are pristine and offer great beach experiences north of Lake Victoria. The beaches also have beautiful views of both nearby and distant landscapes, some of which on the Kenya side.
They Bahehe, together with the Basamia and Bagwe, are also the guardians and custodians of Majanji landing site North East of Lake Victoria.
There are 4,023 Bahehe (2014 census) in Uganda. The Bahehe are mainly found in Busia district.
The Batagwenda tribe
The Batagwenda are a tribe in western Uganda, on the eastern shores of Lake George, east of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The Batagwenda belong to the Bantu ethnic group. They originated from the Baganda who occupy central Uganda and Lake Victoria. They migrated to their present day region in 1797 after a Buganda king (Kabaka) called Kabaka Jjunju Sendegeya, died in a succession battle that was started by his brother, Prince Semakookiro Wasajja. Kabaka Jjunju Sendegeya had in 1780 succeeded his father, Kabaka Kyabaggu Kabinuli, who had passed on that year, and became the the new Kabaka/King of the Baganda. After his ascension to kingship, his brother, Prince Semakookiro Wasajja, rebelled against him which led to a succession war between the two brothers. This war ended up with the death of Kabaka Jjunju which made Prince Semakookiro Wasajja, the new Kabaka of the Baganda. After Kabaka Jjunju’s death, a group of Baganda, as a way of escaping what was to happen next, sought refuge in eastern Uganda, western Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Those that sought refuge in western Uganda split into two groups; one group became the Batagwenda, and the other, the Banyaruguru. Those that sought refuge in eastern Uganda became the Bakenyi; from the Luganda word “Bagenyi”, which means – visitors.
Just like the Bakenyi, the Batagwenda and Banyaruguru settled among western Uganda tribes which included the Batooro and Banyankole, and adopted their cultures and languages. They also retained some of the Baganda culture and Language.
During their movement to western Uganda, the Batagwenda, upon reaching present-day Kitagwenda district couldn’t move any further and decided to settle there. As a result, they were called “Batagwenda”, meaning – “those that couldn’t travel anymore”. Their counterparts, the Banyaruguru, who continued moving west through the hilly terrain of present-day Rubirizi district were called “Banyaruguru”, meaning – ” those who could run more and more”.
The Batagwenda belong to Kitagwenda region (part of Tooro region), and are led by an Omukama (King): The current Omukama is: Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV.
The Batagwenda are both agricultural and fishing people. They farm millet, sorghum, bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava, maize, coffee and vegetables. Their staple food is Millet, called “Oburo”. From millet they make millet bread which they eat with “Ebihimba” (beans) or “Enyama” (meat), or “Enchu” (fish). The fish is obtained from Lake George.
The Batagwenda dress code is: Kanzu (men), and a Suuka and dress (women). Women dress in a similar way like Batooro women. The Batagwenda traditionally used to wear backcloth.
The Batagwenda dance is called “Orunyege” dance, a courtship dance similar to that of the Banyoro, Batooro, and Batuku.
The Batagwenda give pet names to their children in a ceremony called “Empaako”, just like the Banyoro, Batooro, Batuku, Basongora, and Banyabindi. These Empaako pet names are symbols of praise, love, honor, and respect.
The Batagwenda language is called “Lutagwenda”.
The Batagwenda, and Batooro, are the guardians and custodians of Mpanga Valley, a spectacular gorge that is home to Cycad plants which are believed to have been dinosaur food. Mpanga Valley, located in Kitagwenda district, is drained by River Mpanga which begins from the Rwenzori mountains to Lake George. River Mpanga along the way creates the beautiful Mpanga Falls which are also located in Kitagwenda.
The Batagwenda, and Batooro, are the guardians and custodians of the eastern shores of Lake George. Lake George is a 250 sq km fresh water lake, home to a number of wildlife including animals, 150 species of birds, and plenty of fish. Animals include buffaloes, elephants, hippopotamuses, crocodiles and antelopes. These animals make up the general animal diversity of Queen Elizabeth National Park which is located on the western shores of Lake George.
Lake George is fed by Kazinga Channel, a 32km long natural water channel that connects Lake George and Lake Edward. Kazinga Channel is one of the best places to do safaris while Queen Elizabeth National Park. The channel is known for its boat cruise which gives visitors unique encounters with water based wildlife. Lake George is also home to the steep Ntabahara escarpment and Kikondi hills.
There are 56,151 Batagwenda (2014 census) in Uganda.
The Batagwenda are mainly found in Kitagwenda district.
The Bahororo tribe
The Bahororo are a tribe in south-western Uganda on Uganda’s border with Rwanda and Tanzania, and Kigezi highlands, south east of Lake Edward. The Bahororo are culturally linked to the Banyankole.
The Bahororo are a mixture of Bantu and Nilotic/Nilo-hamitic ethnic groups. The Bantu originated from central Africa during the 11th century Bantu migration, while the Nilotic/Nilo-hamitic Bahororo are said to have originated from Ethiopia travelling southward and entering Uganda through South Sudan. Another legend says that the Nilotic/Nilo-hamitic Bahororo originated from South Sudan and moved southward to Uganda in the mid-15th century.
It’s said that when the Nilotic/Nilo-hamitic Bahororo ancestors arrived in Uganda, they mixed with early Bantu settlers in Uganda and became part of the Chwezi Empire that existed in Uganda and central Africa in the 13th-15th centuries. When the Chwezi Empire disintegrated in the 15th century, its people, including Bahororo ancestors, spread out in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region.
The Bahororo ancestors who settled in Ankore (present-day Ankole) in Uganda became the Bahima while those that settled in Rwanda, Burundi, and Northern Tanzania became the Batutsi under the leadership of the Bashaambo clan. Eventually, different groups formed independent kingdoms. In the early 1600s, a war erupted between Busongora Kingdom that existed in South western Uganda, and the Kingdom in Rwanda. These two kingdoms shared boundaries. The war ended in the 1650s and both Busongora Kingdom and Rwanda Kingdom decided to form a new kingdom between them to act as a buffer. This new buffer kingdom was meant to avoid future conflicts between the two kingdoms (Busongora and Rwanda Kingdoms). The new buffer kingdom was called Mpororo Kingdom. It’s from this kingdom that the name “Hororo” came about. Some people from Busongora Kingdom moved to the new Mpororo Kingdom. It’s these people who became the Bahororo.
In the 1750s Mpororo Kingdom disintegrated. Some Bahororo settled on the Uganda side in Rujumbura County in Rukungiri district and in Ntungamo district while others settled in Rwanda. Those who settled in Uganda became the Bahororo tribe and when they got incorporated into Ankole Kingdom, they became part of the Banyankole thus sharing their culture. In Rukunguri (Kigezi region) they co-existed/co-exist with the Bakiga.
The Bahororo belong to Ankole and Kigezi regions and are governed in a clan system.
The Bahororo are mainly pastoral people but also do agriculture. They keep cattle especially Long horned cattle, and also farm millet, sorghum, bananas, maize, and vegetables. Their staple food is Millet, Bananas and Milk. Millet is called “Kalo”, Bananas – “Matooke”, Milk – “Amate”. From millet they make millet bread which they eat with “Eshabwe” (milk ghee), Milk, and “Enyama” (beef).
The Bahororo dress code is: Kanzu (men) and Omwenda nane Kitambi (women). Omwenda nane Kitambi is a combination of a large scarf called “Omwenda” wrapped around the shoulders, and a skirt called “Kitambi”.
The Bahororo dance is called “Ekitaaguriro” dance. The dance imitates the long horned cattle and the cattle’s movements. In the dance, women and men raise their hands high above their heads and twist them in imitation of the cattle’s horns. They do so while stumping lightly on the ground in imitation of the cattle’s movement. Ekitaaguriro dance is a celebration dance inspired by their love for the Ankole long horned cattle. This dance is the same for all Banyankole.
The Bahororo language is called “Ruhororo” and it’s similar to Runyankole spoken by Banyankole.
The Bahororo are the guardians and custodians of the current presidency of Uganda. HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, a Muhororo, is the current President of Uganda, and the 9th president of Uganda.
The Bahororo, together with the Banyankole are the guardians and custodians of Karegyeya Rocks, a collection of ancient rock boulders piled together in an anvil-like shape, with one large rock resting at the top of the pile. Other smaller rocks are spread nearby. Karegyeya Rocks are found in Ntungamo (Banyankole/Bahororo region).
The Bahororo, together with the Bakiga, are the guardians and custodians of Kisiizi Falls, a water fall that drops 27 metres from a cliff while creating a steamy environment. The falls drop into River Rushoma which flows all the way to Lake Edward. The falls are located in a forested, and hilly area giving visitors great hiking experiences. Close to the falls is Kisiizi hospital. Kisiizi Falls are located in Rukungiri (Bakiga/Bahororo region).
The Bahororo, together with the Banyankole, are the guardians and custodians of the popular Ankole long horned cattle: famous for their large, long, ivory-like horns. These cattle are an important part of the Bahororo/Banyankole culture and lives. They are a regal symbol and a source of dairy products. The American Ankole-Watusi cattle were bred from these Ankole long horned cattle. In the Bahororo/Banyankole culture, when a man accumulates 100 heads of cattle, a bell is put around the neck of one of the most prized cows to demonstrate one’s achievement. The sound of the bell not only pleases the owner of the herd, but also guides the herdsmen towards the herd if they stray.
The Bahororo, together with the Banyankole, are the guardians and custodians of Uganda’s Tripartite point with Rwanda and Tanzania. This point on Uganda’s borders with Rwanda and Tanzania is located in Ntungamo district (Banyankole/Bahororo region).
The Bahororo, together with the Bakiga, are the guardians and custodians of the southern part of Kigezi Wildlife Reserve, a 265 sq km wildlife reserve home to a number of wildlife, especially elephants. Large herds of elephants roam between the east of Rwindi plains in the DR Congo and the south of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. These elephants are often seen at Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kigezi Wildlife Reserve acts as a buffer area for Queen Elizabeth National Park’s southern part (Ishasha sector). The reserve’s vast savannah plains and forests are also home to lions (including the famous Ishasha tree climbing lions), buffaloes, antelopes, giant forest hogs, and a variety of birds. Kigezi Wildlife Reserve is located in Rukungiri (Bakiga/Bahororo region).
The Bahororo, together with the Banyankole are the guardians and custodians of Kyafora hot springs located in Ntungamo (Banyankole/Bahororo region). These hot springs are among Uganda’s newest tourism attractions.
There are 151,566 Bahororo (2014 census) in Uganda.
The Bahororo are mainly found in Ntungamo and Rukungiri districts.
The Chope tribe
The Chope, also called Paluo, and sometimes called Bachope, are a tribe in North-western Uganda along Victoria Nile, north west of Lake Kyoga.
The Chope belong to the Nilotic ethnic group. They are part of the Luo people who originated from Bar-el Gazel in South Sudan to Northern Uganda during the 16th century Luo migration. From Northern Uganda, the Chope separated from their Luo counterparts (Acholi) and moved south to present-day Kiryandongo district in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom (North western Uganda). According to legend, the Chope’s movement to Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom was as a result of a kingship vacuum that was created in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom when the kingdom’s then rulers called the Bachwezi, left mysteriously without a heir. Before the Bachwezi rulers left Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, a Chwezi prince who was a brother to the king of Bunyoro-Kitara at the time, married a Luo woman from Northern Uganda. This prince was called Omucwezi Kyomya, a brother to then king: Omukama Omucwezi Ndahura.
When the Bachwezi rulers left Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom without a heir to succeed them, the elders who were left behind in the kingdom went to northern Uganda to get the eldest son of Prince Kyomya, called Isingoma Mpuuga Rukidi (Lakidi), to crown him king of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom. Isingoma Mpuuga and his brothers were living with their Luo mother in Northern Uganda.
A Luo delegation from Northern Uganda accompanied Isingoma Mpuuga Rukidi and his three brothers to Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom to take part in his crowning ceremony. It’s said that when this delegation arrived in present-day Kiryandongo district (formerly part of Masindi) in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, they made a stop to rest. It’s this delegation that become the Chope tribe in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom.
The Chope intermarried with the Bantu in Bunyoro creating a mixture of Bantu and Nilotic people, some of whom are said to be the Bagungu tribe who live on the eastern shores of Lake Albert in Buliisa district. They adopted the culture of the Banyoro (Bantu) while retaining part of the Luo (Nilotic) culture. The Chope belong to Chope region under Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom led by an Omukama (King). The current Omukama is: Omukama Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I.
The Chope are agricultural people. They farm millet, sorghum, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. Their staple food is Millet, Cassava, and Sweet Potatoes. Millet is called “Kal”, Cassava – “Muhogo”, Sweet Potatoes – “Chara”. From millet flour, millet bread is made. These foods are eaten with “Murangwa” (Beans). Millet or Maize is used to make a drink called “Kwete”, and Cassava is used to make a drink called “Nguli”.
The Chope dress code is traditionally: backcloth (adopted from the Banyoro Bantu), and animal skin (original Nilotic dress code). The animal skin dress code is called “Cheno”.
The Chope have a number of dances which include: Bwola dance, Opere dance, Otole dance, and Runyege-Ntogoro dance. Bwola dance is a royal dance, Opere dance is a celebration dance after a good harvest and good times, Otole dance is a warrior dance. Runyege-Ntogoro dance is a courtship dance which they adopted from the Banyoro.
Just like the the Banyoro, the Chope give pet names to their children. These pet names are symbols of praise, love, honor, and respect. The same pet names are also given among the Batooro, Batuku, Basongora, Banyabindi, Batagwenda and Bunyoro tribes.
The Chope language is called “Palou”.
The Chope, and the Banyoro, are the guardians and custodians of Uganda’s most powerful hydro electric dam: Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station. Karuma hydro power station has a capacity of 600MW and it’s one of the newest hydro electric dams in Uganda. It was commissioned in 2019. The power station is located on Karuma Falls in Kiryandongo (Bunyoro/Chope region) on Victoria Nile as River Nile heads to Murchison Falls National Park.
The Chope, and the Banyoro, are also the guardians and custodians of Karuma Falls, a beautiful roaring waterfall on the white Victoria Nile. The Nile’s waters pass over of a sequence of natural rock formations resulting in ripples which give the Nile a beautiful white foam. Karuma Falls, which can be viewed from Karuma Bridge, are one of the popular tourism attractions in north-western Uganda. The bridge crosses the massive waterfall.
There are 34,327 Chope (2014 census) in Uganda. The Chope are mainly found in Kiryandongo district.
The Jonam tribe
The Jonam are a tribe in North-western Uganda on the banks of Albert Nile, north-west of Murchison Falls National Park.
The Jonam belong to the Nilotic ethnic group. They are part of the Luo people who originated from Bar-el Gazel in South Sudan to Northern Uganda during the 16th century Luo migration. Upon arriving in Uganda, the Jonam moved southward along Albert Nile and settled on its lower banks in present-day Pakwach district (formerly part of Nebbi district).
It’s from their settlement along River Nile that they got the name “Jonam”; Jo – means many/many people, and Nam – means River Nile. The Jonam belong to Jonam region which is led by a Ubimu (King). The current Ubimu is: Ubimu Phillip Olaker Rauni III.
The Jonam are agricultural and fishing people. They farm millet, sorghum, cassava, maize, and vegetables and also fish. Their staple food is Millet, and Sorghum. Millet is called “Kal”, and Sorghum is called “Bel”. From millet or sorghum flour, bread is made. This bread is eaten with “Res” (fish) or “Amur” (beans) or “Obo” (greens). The fish is obtained from Albert Nile. Millet or Maize is used to make a drink called “Kwete”, and Cassava is used to make a drink called “Nguli”.
The Jonam dress code is traditionally animal skin. Their modern dress code includes Kitenge (from DR Congo).
Jonam dances include: Konge dance, Anyuugra dance, and Ngige dance. Konge dance is a celebration dance performed by youths and children. Anyuugra and Ngige dances are celebration dances performed by elders.
The Jonam language is called “Jonam”.
The Jonam, and the Alur, are the guardians and custodians of Pakuba sector, north west of Murchison Falls National Park. Pakuba sector is home to a big variety of animals making it the most popular area for game drives at Murchison Falls National Park. Pakuba sector is home to Pakuba Airstrip; the most popular airstrip at Murchison Falls National Park. The sector is also home to Pakuba Lodge; a former safari lodge that was used by Uganda’s former president, Idi Amin, as a personal safari lodge. Pakuba sector is located inside Murchison Falls National Park in Pakwach (Jonam/Alur region).
The Jonam, and the Alur, are the guardians and custodians of Pakwach Bridge located on Albert Nile in Pakwach. Pakwach Bridge offers unique views of Albert Nile and it’s the main gateway to West Nile region if one is travelling by road. Pakwach Bridge is the 2nd biggest bridge in Uganda after the Source of the Nile Bridge/Nalubaale Bridge in eastern Uganda.
The Jonam, and the Alur, are the guardians and custodians of Wangalei, the historical place where the two Luo brothers who founded the Alur and Acholi tribes parted ways. These brothers were Nyipri (Gipri) and Nyabongo (Labongo). After their separation, Nyipri went west of Albert Nile where he founded the Alur tribe, while Nyabongo (Labongo) went east where he founded the Acholi tribe. Wangalei is an important historical location for both the Alur and Acholi tribes. It’s located at the Pakwach Bridge (Jonam/Alur region).
The Jonam, and the Alur, are the guardians and custodians of Uganda’s 2013 Solar Eclipse Monument. The monument was installed in commemoration of the 2013 solar eclipse which in Uganda, was best seen at Owiny Primary School in Pakwach on 3rd November 2013.
The 2013 eclipse was believed to have last occurred on 16th March 1466 which made it a unique occurrence worldwide. The 2013 eclipse monument at Pakwach was the first eclipse monument in Uganda and it’s one of the two solar eclipse monuments in Uganda; the second being the Biharwe Eclipse Monument in Mbarara which was built in 2014. These two eclipse monuments make Uganda the World’s Eclipse Monuments capital.
The Jonam, and the Alur, are the guardians and custodians of Wadelai-Emin Pasha’s Fort. Wadelai-Emin Pasha’s Fort is a 19th century military camp that established by British colonial envoy, Emin Pasha, to stop slave trade in the Equatorial Province. The Fort is located in Pakwach.
The Jonam, and the Alur, are the guardians and custodians of Amuru Pi hot spring located at the confluence of Lake Albert and Albert Nile in in Pakwach.
There are 106,447 Jonam (2014 census) in Uganda. The Jonam are mainly found in Pakwach district.