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Kasubi Royal Tombs Thatching Starts

The thatching has started with Prince Daudi Chwa, the Kabaka’s representative handing over a brown bull to the royal builders -the wabula-akayole- to be slaughtered and its blood poured to avert any tragedy that would occur during the construction. This has been followed the Prince giving 4 strands of thatch grass to the wabula-akayole to start thatching.
Prince Daudi Chwa carrying a kayole to hand oveer to the wabula akayole

Audio 6



The thatching of the Kasubi tombs has kicked off this morning. 

The exercise was led by Prince Daudi Cchwa on behalf of Kabaka Mutebi II and witnessed the Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga. 

Prince Daudi Chwa is a son of Prince Michael Ndawula, Kabaka Mutebi's brother, and has been delegated by the Kabaka to the rituals on His Majesty's behalf.

  

The thatching has started with Prince Daudi Chwa, the Kabaka’s representative handing over a brown bull to the royal builders, the wabula-akayole. 

Katikkiro Mayiga says this bull is to be slaughtered and its blood poured to avert any tragedy that would occur during the construction. This has been followed by the Prince's giving 4 strands of thatch grass to the wabula-akayole to start thatching. 

 

// cue in   Ssabasajja Kabaka  

// cue out 

After the Prince, Omutaka Kyesimba Kasujja the clan head of the Ngeye (white colobus monkey) clan has taken 2 strands of thatch grass and given them to the wabula-akayole to start the thatching. This is because the royal thatchers the wabula-akayole hail from the Ngeye (white colobus monkey) clan. 

// cue in     Omulangira bwamaze okukola emikolo   

// cue out

 

The thatching of this tomb comes as part of the climax of the restoration of the main house in the Kasubi tombs known as Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, where the last four Kings of Buganda were laid to rest. It  was burnt down on March 17 2010.  To date the reports on what caused the fire has not been released.  This house is under restoration but strictly following the traditions and norms of the kingdom. 

         

Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II in the early morning of 30th of September physically participated in the reconstruction of the Kasubi Royal Tombs by climbing up to the interior on a ladder and reaching the Centre of Muzibu Azaala Mpanga ceiling to install three round woven rings in the support structure of the roof.

 

On the 12th of October 2021, the tombs were listed by BBC as one of Africa's most iconic architecture. 

Fred Ndawula a tourist guide at the tombs attests to this saying the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga is exceptional because of the unique way it was built. He says the structure was built uniquely, woven like an upside down basket. 

He says construction was begun in 1880 and completed in 1882 with an internal height of 7 meters at the center and an external width of 31 meters. It was constructed using local products such as bamboo, palm fronds, different tree species such as emisambya and ennongo all of which made it durable and outstanding. 

  

// cue in     amasiro g’e kasubi gaazimbibwa mu

  // cue out 

 It was designed inside with 3 rings called ebizizi put by the Kabaka himself, the Princes and Princesses of the kingdom. These are followed by 52 rings representing the 52 clans of Buganda. He says the structure also has 52 poles supporting the roof also representing the Buganda clans; however there is no clear specification on which pole represents which clan in the tomb. 

The tomb is separated into two sections, one the forest called ekibira. It is in the ekibira where the kings rest. Mukaabya Muteesa I was buried in 1884, his son Kabaka Basamula Ekkere Mwanga II was buried at Kasubi in 1910, Daudi Chwa II in 1939 and Edward Muteesa II in 1971. 

The other part is the open place where the royal regalia of the kings such as spears lie.

  // cue in    n’obukugu obutali bwangu  

  // cue out   

He explains how these rings are made through joining bamboo, beating it with blunt objects to curve it, tying it with palm fronds and dressing it with bark cloth which is  appealing to the eyes.  

// cue in    ebizizi eby’ebika   

// cue out   

// cue in     baddira ne bakwata   

// cue out  

The final work on the tombs will be the designing of the interior by the royal designers Abagirinya once the thatching is completed, to restore the tombs to their former glory so that the kings rest in a place befitting their royal status.

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