"Mulembe" is a greeting in Lugisu, my language. It is a language spoken by a people who live on the western slopes of Mt. Elgon in eastern Uganda. When literally translated it means "peace." The person being greeted would also respond with the same, "Mulembe." This greeting serves the purpose of declaring no intention of harm. Therefore, I welcome everyone to this blog with, "Mulembe!"

May 27, 2011

A Brief History of Bugisu

Bugisu* is the homeland of the Bagisu people.  It is in Mbale District in the east of Uganda, bordering Kenya.  Its main town is called Mbale.

"The sub-region is historically divided into North (Sironko), South (Bubulo and Bududa) and Central (Bungokho). These divisions also had political ramifications. For long, the north complained of marginalisation by mainly the south in job allocations.

"While the north largely produced coffee, the managers of Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) were largely from the south. It’s said the south then used to laugh at the north as coffee producers who only preferred business to education.

"History at Play
Secondly, the divisions in Bugisu had ancestral roots in the legendary Masaba, father of Bamasaba (Bagisu) who is said to have had three sons; Mwambu, Mubuya and Wanale.

"Mwambu, the first born, settled in Sironko, Mubuya, the second born, settled in south Bubulo and Bududa area while Wanale, the last born, settled in Bungokho. Some of Mubuya’s descendants migrated and settled in Sironko in areas bordering Teso and Sebei and came to be known as Babuya.

"But Mubuya’s other descendants who stayed in the south, some crossing to Kenya where they took on the tag of Bakusu, slowly took over leadership in the entire Bugisu. This never went down well with their brothers in the north.

"Their dominance was accelerated in colonial times when many Bagisu from the south were appointed chiefs. These included Stanley Wanambwa, a former District Commissioner in colonial times; the late Bwayo, who headed the Bugisu administration in Malukhu; the late Wamboka from Bududa, a former treasurer of Bugisu; the late Wandawa, Namasake and Wandubere, a former Saza chief who ruled both north and central." - from the Monitor

Mbale, once known as the cleanest town, overlooks Wanale a small mountain southwest of Mt. Elgon.

* - Bagisu are the Gisu people, Bugisu is their homeland, and Lugisu is their language.  The Bagisu are also known as the Bamasaba, their homeland as Bumasaba and their languge as Lumasaba.


angela bukenya said...

Easy read thank you.

Margret Mugaba said...

This is beautiful research mummy, where did you get all this