Kabaka is a title for the king of the Buganda kingdom in Uganda. Uganda has about 6 famous kingdoms and the Buganda kingdom is one of them that have dominated with powerful kings from pre-colonialism periods to date yet preserving their traditions and practices as well as great respect for the Kabaka. The Buganda kingdom is situated in the central region of Uganda. The great Lake Victoria which is the biggest lake in the country and the biggest fresh water lake in Africa is located in the Buganda kingdom. In the 1840s, the Buganda went with convoys of canoes fighting to establish a majestic supremacy over the lake and areas around it.
According to their traditions, the Buganda kingdom is ruled by two kings; the spiritual king and the material king. Also known as a supernatural king, the spiritual father of Buganda kingdom is represented by the Royal Drums traditionally known to them as “Mujaguzo”. Just like any other king, Mujaguzo also has his own palace, palace guards, officials and servants. When a new prince or princess is born in the kingdom, drummers from a specific clan are selected to sound these Royal Drums. This is how they communicate to the subjects of Buganda that a new member has been welcomed in the royal family.
Before the officials declare the human prince as new Kabaka, he must first perform special cultural rites on these Royal drums. Sounding the Royal drums can also be an official communication that the kingdom has lost the ruling king. However, in Buganda, the Kabaka does not die but gets lost in the forest. The forest where the Kabaka gets lost is found in the royal tombs at Kasubi tombs and Wamala tombs. The Kasubi tombs are found in Kampala and are one of the areas we recommend our visitors who wish to have a cultural experience around Kampala. It has several buildings but the main hut is where the forest is found and had mausoleums of four former kingdoms of Buganda before it was destroyed by fire on March 17,2010. When you visit the tombs, you get a chance to see the entrance to the forest but you won’t be permitted to look beyond it because it is a taboo.
Princes in Buganda kingdom are treated equally if not yet enthroned as new king after the death of the Kabaka. It is however accepted for a special council of the kingdom to analyze the behaviors and qualities of the princes when the reigning king is still alive and present their recommendation to him so that he can select the one who will take over the throne when he dies. This is followed by a secret ceremony where the head of the special council offers a special bark cloth to the prince that was selected. This bark cloth will be laid on the body of the fallen king by this prince when they (all the princes and princesses) are called upon to see the body of their father. The name of this prince, the successor to the throne (king-to-be) remains a secret till this day when he will personally communicate by the act of laying the back cloth on the king who has died.
In Buganda, the firstborn prince is called Kiweewa. He is not considered among the successors of the throne to avoid attempts of assassination but he has roles assigned to him and he will have influence in matters of the royal family and kingdom.
Kabakas (kings of Buganda) that are known to have ruled Buganda kingdom from around the 14th century to date are 36 in number. Some of the popular ones in the history of Uganda are Ssuuna II who is said to have grown a traditional herb called “omulago” leading to the name Mulago that was given to one of the & hills of Kampala and Kabaka Mwanga II who killed the Uganda Martyrs. Currently, the king of Buganda is Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II who has been reigning since 1993.
Kabaka’s Palace Kampala Uganda
The Kabaka’s Palace/ Lubiri Mengo is one of the tourist attractions that can be included on the Kampala city tour. This is the official residence of the Kabaka and the palace has been in existence ever since the reign of Kabaka Mwanga II who was the success of his father Kabaka Muteesa II in the year 1884.
The Kabaka’s palace also known as the Twekobe was constructed in the 1922 and this is during the Reign of kabaka/king Duadi Chwa who was the successor of King Daniel Mwanga II in the year 1887 who was exiled in the Seychelles Island. Kabaka Daniel Mwanga II left the kingdom behind without a king therefore as King Duadi Chwa was making 18 years, he was helped by Sir Apollo Kagwa, Mugwanya Stanchions and Zakaria Kisingiri’s to crown him as a rule of the kingdom of Buganda.
The Kabaka’s Palace has got four main entrance or gates but each gate has its own importance or purpose. The first Gate is referred to as Wankaci and this the main gate of the king/Kabaka of kingdom of Buganda, the queen and the prime minister who is known as the Katikiro of the Buganda kingdom. The other gate close to Wankaci and this is the gate where the king is supposed to marry a beautiful lady and he expects to find her at the Kalala gate. The third gate called Nalongo gate and this is where the king/ Kabaka receives the gifts that are brought to him. The fourth gate is called Ssabagabo gate and the kabaka uses this gate for his personal issues and here he uses his normal car secretly and one will tell that the King is moving out.
The roads that connect to the Kabaka’s palace are in mengo with only two rounds about. The Bulange road is directly overlooking the main roundabout of the main gate Wankaci and the Lukiiko. The pass which is in the middle of the roundabout is known as Nakawetwa and the route is only used by the kabaka. The Kabaka was helped by his subjects to the dig the route to the Lukiiko building which is known as Bulange and there about 56 trees that were planted on the sides of the palace and each type of tree represents a given clan in the Buganda kingdom and there about 154 trees which are found in the Kabaka’s palace, each tree has got a meaning.
The kabaka’s palace is located on one of the seven hills of the Buganda which is called mengo hill one of the 7 hills of Kampala. Hill has got a lot of attractive features such as the fire entrance point that is kept burning throughout the day and night, the torture chamber where the late Idi Amin tortured about thousands of people up to death.
At the main entrance of the kabaka’s palace has a fire point which is supposed to be keeping burning both day and night and the person who is responsible for lighting must come from the Nyonyi Nakisinge which is a bird. The kabaka’s palace is one of the key attractions that you can explore while on a Kampala city tour and enjoy pleasure visit to the Kabaka’s palace, you will get chance to see the Admin torture chamber found within the palace.
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