Ugandan Culture

Uganda is situated at the geographical heart of the African continent; Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by the existence of 30-plus different indigenous language belonging to five distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handicrafts. The country’s most ancient inhabitants, confined to the hilly southwest, are the Batwa and Bambuti Pygmies, relics of the hunter-gatherer cultures that once occupied much of East Africa to leave behind a rich legacy of rock paintings, such as the Nyero Rock shelter near Kumi.

Coming to Uganda on a big game safari to see the big five or to track primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and other twelve species of primates found across the Pearl of Africa sounds just like the normal thing to do, considering the honours heaped upon the country in recent years by Lonely Planet, CNN and others who visited and found nothing wanting. But coming to Uganda to see cattle milk and feed cattle, Ugandans are no longer shy to showcase their culture and those things most valuable to them like cattle rearing, in particular the exquisite breed unique to our country, the Ankole long horns. Especially in the south and south west of the country, it is daily economic and cultural activity.

But it’s not ordinary tourists just coming to herds of cows grazing on the range land; rather travelers are adding this novel culture attraction to their adventure filled itineraries and visit this website.

The central region is dominated by the Bantu group specifically the Baganda

The Buganda monarchy presents one of the best documentations of kingship in Uganda. The head of the state is the king locally known as Kabaka. The current king of Buganda, His Highness Ronald Mutebi II was crowned the 36th Kabaka of Buganda in 1993 after his father sir Edward Mutesa II died in exile. The kingdom also constitutes a parliament (Lukiiko), comprising mainly of elderly heads of its 52 clans. Other people, who occupy important positions in the kingdom, include the Queen (Nabagereka), the Prime Minister (Katikkiro), the royal sister (Nalinya) and the Queen mother (Namasole).


Traditionally, a man could marry five wives or more provided he could cater for them. It was easier to become polygamous in Buganda than in other parts of Uganda because the bride wealth obligations were not prohibitive unlike formerly when marriage used to be conducted by parents, for instance where the father of the girl could choose a husband for her without availing her ant alternatives.

Traditional Dances

Buganda is renowned for her distinct ceremonial occasions organized for observance, commemoration, inauguration, remembrance or fulfillment of cultural rituals and norms. Some of the common (high recognized) ceremonies in Buganda include: the initiation of twins (okwalula abalongo), the introduction (okwanjula) and last funeral rite (okwabya olumbe)


Matooke (bananas of the plantain type) is a popular local dish among the Baganda. It is peeled, tied in banana leaves and put in a cooking pan with enough water to steam the leaves. Later on, the bundle is removed and squeezed to get a smooth soft and golden yellow mash. The banana leaves are used to keep it hot and steamy.

The eastern region is diverse and comprised of different tribal group

The eastern region is another diverse area comprised of a number of different tribal groups including: Bagisu, Basamia/ Bagwa, Basonga, Bagwere, Iteso, Jopadhola, and the Sebei among others. Apart from other groups, the Basonga present a distinctive kingship in eastern Uganda with their king locally known as Kyabazinga.

Marriage and family

In this region, as well as the rest of the country, dowries are highly valued and are usually in form of cattle, sheep and goats. The amount paid is negotiated among the parents of the new couple- to- be. The higher the dowry, the more valued the bird, although this does not necessary the success of the marriage.


Tamenhaibunga: this king of dance is practiced by the Basoga tribe, Tamenhaibunga literally means good friends drink together but they do not fight each other lest they break the guard (eibuga) that contain the drink. The guard is symbolically used to express the value and fragility of love and friendship. Other dances in Busoga include Nalufuka, a much faster and youthful version of Tamenhaibunga Eirongo, a slower dance performance to celebrate the birth of twins; Amayebe, which builds physical for men, Enswezi, used to communication to super naturals and Ekigwo for wrestlers.

Northern: a melting pot of a number of tribes

The northern region is also a melting pot of quite a number of tribes including: Acholi, Langi, Alur, Kakwa, and Lugbaraamong other. This region comprises of the Acholi and Langi in the north, Alur, Lugbara and Madi in west Nile region. Like most of the regions, Langi and Acholi regions predominantly depend on agriculture as their economic activity, with millet and sorghum serving as staple foods.

Marriage and family life

Traditionally, a young man depends upon his lineage head and elders birth for permission to marry and for the material goods required for bride wealth; elders of the bride’s lineage were also much involved in the discussions and negotiations surrounding the marriage.


Naleyodance is performed but the karamajong where women line up and men strike their chest using fingers as they dance. The karamajong are a pastoral community in the north eastern part of Uganda.

Western; a region flowing with matooke, milk and honey

The western region is also rich in tribal culture; it consists of Bakonjo/Bamba, Batoro, Banyoro, Banyankore, Bakiga, Bafumbira and Bachwezi among others.


The Batoro and Banyoro have a centralized system of government headed by the Omukama. Initially, Toro was part of Bunyoro, but later broke away; founder of the kingdom and currently the kingdom is headed by King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV.

Marriage and family life

Ankole in the west is the most popular tribe in terms of prestige and population. The king owned all the cattle and theoretically owned all women. Hima fathers were anxious to call attention to their daughters because the king has generous wedding gifts. Slim girls were unfit for royalty so those girls whom the king found to be of interest to marry one of his sons were forced on milk.

Traditional dances

Entogoro is danced by Banyoro and Batoro of western Uganda. The dance takes its name from the pod rattles that boys tie on their legs to make different rhythms as they dance. Ekitagururo is characterized by energetic stamping and tangling rhythms using the feet and aerial arm movements it is performed by both Banyankore and Bakiga in the south western region.