Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Ankole culture - Cultura Safaris in Uganda

There are two things that comes into a Ugandan's mind when you mention the name "Ankole",one is grazing cattle and the other is tiling land.These two activities are identical with the Banyankole people.
Ankole tribe belongs to the Bantu ethnic group and People from Ankole are known as Banyankole.
The Ankole kingdom is found in southwestern Uganda in the east of Lake Edward.

The leader of the Ankole is known as Omugabe of Ankole and he is given maximum respect by his people.
In 1967,the kingdom was abolished by the government of President Milton Obote and up to date,it has not been officially restored.

The Bahima ( cattle herders)
According to the Ankole history,these Ankole cows were originally reared by demi-gods known as the Bachwezi. These

The long-horned Ankole cattle
 gods were said to live in the underground-dark caves.They moved  for very long distances in search for people with compassion and warmth until when they settled in the caves.
It was one time that one of the princes that had gone to fetch water got struck by an elegant handsome man whom she fell in love with and later got married.
After some time,the couple decided to come back on earth and the elders gave them gifts including the long-horned cows.They settled in the southwest of Uganda,and when the local people saw these cows,they decided to call them the Ankole cows.

People who normally keep these cows are called the Bahima and they strongly depend on them for survival.They get milk and meat from the cows that is consumed and sometimes sold.
The cows are milked wit bare hands and after milking,the cows are taken to the field for grazing.

Today the Bahima also use these cows to pay bride price during the marriage ceremony.

The Cultivators
Among the Ankole tribe,there is a group of people called the cultivators.These basically dig in order to get food.This activity is mainly carried out by women as men take park in income generating activities.

In the morning when you go to Ankole land,you can meet women carrying hoes on their backs making their way to the garden.Digging is mainly done in the early morning hours before the sun's heat increases.

The men are rare to find carrying out this activity with their wives in Ankole.Instead they carry out trade from urban centers in order to raise money for their families.The women are left to provide food for the family through digging.

Customs among the Banyankole people
A marriage ceremony of Banyankole people
When it comes to marriage,a typical Buhima who is non-schooling marries at an age of 17 years.The father of the boy chooses a girl for his son and then engage in negotiations with the bride'd family.
There are several ceremonies carried out once the bride's parents agree and later dowry is paid.In the early days,the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other and in some cases don't know each other until the marriage day.

Among the Ankole people,they mainly use cows as dowry and this is why some men decide to be polygamous so as to be considered as rich men.

The typical traditional design of a Munyankole hut is very simple with African style of construction.These huts mainly have 2 spacious rooms,1 used as a bedroom and the other used for other businesses.

The Banyankore speak a language known as Runyankore.One special feature about the language is that it has no letter "I" in its alphabet but its repalecd by "r".

Making a cultural visit to this "land of milk"is one of those things that you  can't miss.

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