In this three-part opinion I look at the Busoga through the times and how two giants, Semei Kakungulu and Daudi Kintu Mutekanga contributed to its growth and development.
Any history of Busoga, which excludes the simultaneous analysis of the contributions of two men whose times coincided, Semei Kakungulu and Daudi Kintu Mutekanga, is unlikely to be useful and a distortion of the truth. Unfortunately, most history of Busoga has been written by people who were immigrants to Busoga, and whose interest was, or has been, to put their group at the centre of Busoga’s historical dynamics. Kakungulu concentrated on opening Busoga up to British colonial rule. Mutekanga concentrated on human development and social change through education and production. Therefore, the most evident concealment of the truth about the history of Busoga by history writers has been propagated by excluding Daudi Kintu Mutekanga whose ancestral home was in Kananage, Kamuli Busoga from written history. While they mention the colonial role of Semei Kakungulu they feel more comfortable leaving Daudi Kintu Mutekanga from the History of Busoga.
When history writers write they write as if Busoga suddenly emerged some three hundred years ago and formed into an organized state only with the coming of the white man. which ends up presenting an unnatural history of the land. Apparently, Busoga is the natural home of Lake Victoria. And the source of the world’s longest river – the Nile, which is even mentioned in the Bible (Genesis, 41:1; Exodus, 1:22; 7:20; Isaiah, 23:10; Amos, 8:8} is in Jinja, Busoga. Environmentally-speaking where there is abundant water and confluence of rivers a human civilization develops.
How can we talk of ancient civilizations of Egypt at the other end of River Nile, China, Babylon and India, for example, and we ignore the real possibility of an ancient civilization of Busoga, more ancient than all the other frequently mentioned ancient civilizations of Man, Homo sapiens?
Being shaped like a basin, Busoga has been a receptacle of many migrations of people from elsewhere. It was also a receptacle of migratory big game (Lion, cheater, buffalo, Zebra and elephant, until the 1930s, when the exploitative Caucasians destroyed her gam. Today there is nothing left. Yet before people and Game co-existed.
When history is written by foreigners it is likely to be distorted to serve their interests and exclude the owners of a land or a country as if they are intruders or aberrations of the reality. That has been the case with Busoga whose history has been written by immigrants, from especially Bukedi’s Bugwere, Gogonya area, who are now either Bulamogi or Bakono. We must not accept the conspiracy that Busoga started three years ago and that there were no indigenous Basoga, just because immigrants want to put themselves at the centre of the area’s history. That would be like saying Egypt had no indigenous black Nubians with an ancient history, characterized by huge pyramids, which were the tombs of their Kings, when Arabs arrived and intermarried with the indigenes. There were indigenous Basoga. Some were mainland-based, and others were island based, with the islands scarred on Lake Victoria. Indeed, some Clans of Busoga had some of their members migrate to the mainland from the Busoga part of Buvuma Island. My own Clan, Mulawa Clan, is a good example, with unique names un common on the mainland and in Buganda. Anthropologists should research more, and archaeologists should delve into the fossil record more to unearth the true anthropological and archaeological record of Busoga.
We now know Busoga is very rich in Gold, and is said to excel in this mineral in the whole of the Central African region. However, we don’t know whether the strategy of the current rulers to Bantustanize into small, unviable units called districts is related to the abundance of gold and other minerals, or just to power acquisition, extension and retention by the Centre through divide and rule. However, it is unlikely these days that Centre can do anything without prompting or connection with foreign powers. If this is it, then Bantustanised, resources-rich Busoga is in serious trouble.
This article is about two men who lived and worked in Busoga during the early times of colonization of the area by the white man: Semei Kakungulu and Daudi Kintu Mutekanga. Both had multi-tasking skills, which they used for different reasons to change Busoga and prepare it for an uncertain future. In the next edition we will look at Semei Kakungulu (1869- 24 November 1922).
The writer (Prof. Oweyegha Afunaduula) is a retired university lecturer and environmentalist