Are you a cultural enthusiast and you are interested in that unique cultural experience? Have you ever heard of the Imbalu circumcision? Perhaps you have ever heard of it or read about it and you want to witness what takes place during this rare event. Well, come 11th August 2018, Mbale will have yet another breathtaking cultural event of a lifetime popularly called the ‘Imbalu’ ceremony. If you are heading to Mount Elgon National Park-Eastern Uganda this season, it is such amazing event not to be missed in life! This year’s event will be launched by H.E. President Yoweri K. Museveni plus his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta. They will also launch the Bamasaba cross border cultural center that is still under construction at Mutoto Sub County in Mbale-eastern Uganda. This center will serve as a place where all documented Bamasaba history and tradition will be kept. The Imbalu circumcision is an amazing and unique cultural practice in which the young are initiated into manhood. This periodic cultural event comes with lots of fun and also sorrowful moment a fact that boys have to show their manhood at that time of circumcision. It is such a unique experience not to be missed while on safari in Uganda. The Mutoto cultural site is yet to be improved to help boost the tourism sector in the region a fact that this event has become a few most significant cultural experiences that attracts not only the nationals but also foreigners.
The event will be conducted at Mutoto cultural grounds in Mbale town and preparations are underway to make it a colorful event. Over 10 different cultural leaders across various cultural institutions are also expected to be part of this ceremony. In addition, a team of Bamasaba from the diaspora is also expected join and the Bamasaba cultural leader ‘Bob Mushikori who is based in Canada will be part of this lifetime event. This year’s celebrations are organized by Namisindwa district together with Inzu Yamasaba. During this event, about 6000 boys are expected to be circumcised which will launch the circumcision season. This will be in addition to more than the 10000 Bamasaba from Kenya who are to be part of this ceremony.
The Bamasaba ceremonies hold a strong cultural value among the Gishu and it is an ancient traditions that brings together the different peoples within the Bugisu region. This region covers areas of Sironko, Mbale, Manafwa, Bududa and Bulambuli district. Regardless of what age someone is, provided he has not been circumcised, the person can’t have any respect and usually, a person can be called a boy. This cultural festival usually kicks off mainly during even years and starts in August and it reaches its climax around December and attracts large numbers of people. The candidates are always moved to different communities for about seven day prior the actual circumcision and in the course of the movement, different gifts are given ranging from livestock, cash, food and many more as one way to congratulate such persons for fulfilling the tradition which indicates their brevity, courage and also motivate them endure with the pain during circumcision.
In conclusion, Imbalu is such a unique cultural experience where the young and the grown up are initiated into manhood. Come and witness this remarkable event and you will have unforgettable experience. It is conducted every even year and this year happens to be for those few lucky ones.