The Baganda believe that they are descendants of Kintu and Nnambi, the first people on earth. This Kintu is not to be confused with Kintu, the king (Kabaka) who united the clans of the Baganda and established one central administration based on clans. By coincidence Kabaka Kintu’s wife was Nnambi Nnantutululu of the Ngeye Clan. The name Nnambi might have been the name or title given to the wife of a king or chief in the centuries gone by. The story of Kintu and Nnambi looks similar to that of the biblical Adam and Eve or that of the koranic Adam and Kawa.
The Baganda normally call “ekintu” (a thing) something which has no definite name, or which they cannot describe properly, or which has a strange or frightening or extraordinary appearance. Apparently, the first man on earth did not have a particular name and could have had an indescribable or strange or frightening or extraordinary appearance; so he was just called, or described, as kintu. The word muntu, used by the Baganda to describe a person, might have had its beginning from the description of the first man (kintu, single; bintu, plural; muntu, single; bantu, plural).
It might have been the habit of the Baganda in the distant past to name a person who performed extraordinary deeds Kintu. This is what seems to have happened in the case of Kato, known to posterity as Kintu, who defeated and killed the great tyrant (the dragon) Bemba Musota and became king (Kabaka) and united the clans of Buganda under one kingdom.
2. The origin of the Njovu Clan
There are a number of myths and legends regarding the origin of the Clan. One version has it that the Njovu Clan originated in heaven and was initiated by Gguluddene Musookebwa (God Himself) at the beginning or creation of the world. Another version states that the Clan was not initiated by humans like other clans. According to this version, the Njovu Clan is one of the twenty six clans that were created by God at the beginning of time. Believers in this story go ahead and state that God Himself belongs to the Njovu Clan.
To give credence to their claim, these clan members point to the fact it is only their clan that has Katonda (Creator), which name the foreign faiths adopted for God. They further point to another fact that it is in the Njovu Clan that one finds the temples and shrines of all Buganda’s principal natural divinities (emisambwa), the chief natural spirits that were created by God to intercede between Him and man and have direct access to Him (Katonda).
Two of the common legends from traditions are detailed below.
The story of the Baby Elephant
It is said that the Clan originated from a man called Kibaya. People had nicknamed Musunku (Wild grass) because his body was covered with much hair which made him resemble a type of hairy, wild grass called Musunku in Luganda. Legend has it that the wife of Kibaya was a sporadic mother. She initially produced two children. The first child was a boy and he was named Ssegujja. The second child, after many years, was a girl, and she was named Nnagujja. Again after very many years, Kibaya’s wife became pregnant once more, and this time she gave birth to an elephant child instead of a normal human baby. It is said that Kibaya’s relatives advised him to get rid of this strange creature because they said it was a bad omen for the family. Kibaya in accordance with admonition from his relations, decided to get rid of the elephant-child.
In the meantime, Kibaya’s children, Ssegujja and Nnagujja, learned of their father’s plot to throw away their “brother”, the elephant-child. They flatly refused to go along with their father’s plan because they greatly loved their “brother”, the elephant-child. Before Kibaya could carry out his plan, his children escaped from his home with the baby elephant. But before leaving home, the two children collected a lot of milk which they took with them to feed their “brother”, the baby elephant. After travelling a long distance with their “brother”, they hid the baby elephant somewhere and approached one kind man who instantly married the beautiful Nnagujja and gave them sanctuary.
While at this kind man’s home, Ssegujja and Nnagujja used to stealthily go and feed the baby elephant where they had hidden it. But very soon, Ssegujja and Nnagujja ran out milk and, sadly, the baby elephant died. They had the baby elephant skinned. After skinning the elephant, Ssegujja and Nnagujja smoked the meat until it was dry. They did this in order to preserve the meat as a memento of their “brother”. It is said that the name Mukalo, which in Luganda means smoked or dried meat, had its origin here. It later became the official name of the head of the Elephant Clan (Njovu).
The name Ssemmambo, which is a very popular clan name, also had its origin here. The name, loosely translated, means “a multitude of pegs”, referring to the very many pegs which were used to stretch the elephant’s skin and get it dried. Pegs in Luganda is “mmambo”, while “multitude” or “very many” in this sense is represented by the word root “sse”, which indicates the superlative nature of a thing.
It is because Ssegujja and Nnagujja did not eat the meat of the baby elephant, which they considered to be their “brother” that it became their totem, something forbidden.
The legend of Kibawo
According to the oral traditions of the Njovu Clan, God brought Kintu and his wife Nnambi to the world and commanded them to bear children and populate the earth. It is said that Kintu and Nnambi descended from heaven at Walusi, a prominent highland with extraordinary features in the Bulemeezi region (present day Katikamu County, Luweero District) of Buganda.
When they had settled in the world, Kintu and Nnambi got a son and they named him Kibawo. The name, loosely translated means: it happens. Apparently, when God instructed Kintu and Nnambi to bear children it happened; and Kintu and Nnambi therefore believed that whatever God commands, happens as He wishes it. Hence the name they gave to their offspring. Kibawo’s other name was Ssewamala.
There is some similarity between this account and the biblical story of creation with regard to God’s wishing of things to happen, and things happen as He wishes, e.g. “God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.” Kibawo got three children: Kalagala (son); Ssegujja (son); and Nnagujja (daughter). Kibawo is considered to have been the first Mukalo.
Apparently, people in those days were giants who could fly from place to place. On one of his flights, Ssewamala Kibawo saw a beautiful and fertile plain in the region we now know as Busujju (Busujju County of present-day Mityana District). He established a home there and gave it to his son Kalagala. He named the place Ntonnyeze, meaning a place where he had “dripped” part of himself (his children). Ntonnyeze in Luganda comes the Luganda word okutonyeza which means to drip, as, for example, by lit candle.
Gradually, Ntonnyeze was populated by members of the Clan and it and Walusi assumed special importance in the annals of the Clan.
Numerous famous writers on the history and clans of the Baganda, such as Sir Apolo Kaggwa, K.C.M.G., have given brief accounts of the Njovu Clan. They based their books on empirical data collected from the oral history and traditions of the clans. Perhaps the most informative of them all is M. B. Nsimbi M.B.E. this is what he says about the Njovu Clan in his book, Amannya Amaganda N’ennono Zaago (Page 248):
“The grandfather of this clan (the Njovu Clan) is Ssessanga. Ssessanga came with Kabaka Kintu and served as the custodian of that king’s spears and shield. After Kintu had established his capital at Nnono, he gave his man Ssessanga a place called Ntonnyeze in Busujju. It was at Ntonnyeze that Ssessanga had his son Mukalo. When Ssessanga died, his son Mukalo succeeded him. It was Kabaka Ccwa who transferred Mukalo from Ntonnyeze and gave him his own estate at Kambugu. From that time onwards, Mukalo’s estate is at Kambugu. Mukalo is the head of the Clan”.
Nsimbi goes on: “The following are Mukalo’s sons who report directly to him:
1. Kikomeko at Luubu in Mawokota County;
2. Ggulu at Busaabala in Kyaddondo County;
3. Kakembo at Bulinguge, Kyaddondo County (he now resides at Zzirannumbu, Kyaddondo County);
4. Ntambi at Lubya in Kyaddondo County;
5. Ssebanyiiga at Kyaazi (Kojja) in Kyaggwe County;
6. Ssentomero at Zzinga (Bukunja) in Kyaggwe County; and
7. Ssemakadde at Mpuku in Kyaggwe County”.
3. Early Settlements of the Clan
It is not known where Kibaya and his children, Ssegujja and Nnagujja, lived; they most probably in the Walusi area. But it is said that Ssewamala Kibawo, known as the first Mukalo, lived and was buried at Kirongoosa, Walusi. Ssewamala Kibawo was the father of Kalagala, the second Mukalo. His other children were Ssegujja and Nnagujja. This brings in the possibility that actually Kibaya was a corruption of the name Kibawo; and that the children of Kibaya, namely, Ssegujja and Nnagujja in the story of the elephant child were Kibawo’s children, Ssegujja and Nnagujja.
Today, Kirongoosa, Walusi remains in the hands of the Njovu Clan, and clansmen from the Kayaaye patrician line look after the place.
Ntonnyeze became the second important settlement of clan members after Walusi. According to traditional accounts, Kalagala, the second Mukalo, lived and was buried at Ntonnyeze. Kalagala’s descendants also lived and were buried there, making the place obutaka.
However, M. B. Nsimbi says: “When he established his capital at Nnono (near Magonga), Kabaka Kintu gave Ssessanga a place called Ntonyeze near Nnono in Busujju County to be his estate”.
This is in sharp contrast to traditional accounts, which give the view that Kintu found Ntonnyeze already settled by Njovu clansmen.
This view is supported by the fact that at least six Mukalos before Ssessanga lived and were buried at Ntonnyeze in succession before Kintu’s era; and these are:
1. Kalagala Mukalo
2. Ssentulubalo Mukalo
3. Ssezzooba Mukalo
4. Ssemayanzi Mukalo
5. Mabejjo Mukalo
6. Kibawo II Mukalo
Ssessanga was the seventh Mukalo to be buried at Ntonnyeze. Ntonnyeze continued to be the burial ground of Mukalos. Other Mukalos buried there after Ssessanga include: Muyonjo Bukulu Mukalo; Kinviirewo Mukalo; and Mukwanguzi Mukalo
The traditional accounts state that Ssessanga was one of the seven Buganda clan leaders who met Kintu at Mangiira in Kyaggwe on his return from Ethiopia through Mt. Masaaba (Mt. Elgon). Kintu was in the company of those clan leaders who had rebelled against dictatorial rule and who wanted to overthrow Bemba Musota, Kintu’s brother, and make Kintu king instead.
The delegation of seven clan leaders who had not moved with Kintu outside the country was led by Walusimbi, head of the Ffumbe Clan. The group’s purpose was to pledge allegiance to Kintu and combine forces with Kintu and the dissident clan leaders from exile to fight against the tyrannical Bemba Musota who had caused untold suffering to the people.
The combined group of clans agreed to share duties among the leaders; and Ssessanga got the duty of being custodian of Kintu’ spears and shield in the war that ensued. When the war was over, Ssessanga took Kintu on a visit to Ntonnyeze. It was while Kintu was at Ntonnyeze that he confirmed Ssessanga and his relatives as owners of the estate of Ntonnyeze. He also admired the hills surrounding Ntonnyeze and decided to establish his capital at a place he named Nnono in the area of Magonga in memory of an insignificant little island called Nnono which lies between Kkoome and Ddamba in Lake Nnalubaale (Lake Victoria) from where he and his group of rebels set off on the final journey that gave them victory over Bemba Musota.
The next settlement was at Kambugu in Busiro County. M. B. Nsimbi says: “While he was at Ntonyeze, Ssessanga begot his son Mukalo who succeeded him after his death. It was Kabaka Chwa 1 Nnabakka, the successor of Kintu on the throne, who transferred Mukalo from Ntonyeze to Kambugu in Busiro County. Henceforth, Mukalo’s official estate is at Kambugu.”
Mukalo was already a title in use for the head of the Clan by the times of Ssessanga. Ssessanga himself was the seventh in a line of Mukalos. He therefore could not have named his son Mukalo. His son was Muyonjo Bukulu, and he only earned the title of Mukalo on succeeding his father.
It is not exactly known why the Kabaka transferred Ssessanga to Kambugu. Speculation has it that Mukalo had a huge treasure of elephant tusks, which he had no use for and therefore exchanged the elephant tusks for a piece of land of his own. Others say, Mukalo had constant wrangles with his relatives and this forced him to request the Kabaka to give him another place where he could live in peace. It is significant that his relatives stayed put at Ntonnyeze and did not move with him to Kambugu.
The following Mukalos lie buried at Kambugu, the latest official Clan estate:
1. Ssewaaya Ssekibi Mukalo
2. Nnalukoola Mukalo
3. Firikisi Ssekandi Mukalo
4. Paulo Boogere Kayonde Mukalo
5. Peter Kikomeko Mukalo
Later Development and Settlement of Patrician Lineages and Branches Patrician Lineages
Ssessanga’s relatives who remained at Ntonnyeze are the ancestors of the aristocratic or patrician lineages (Ennyiriri z’Akasolya) as we know them today. Some of these lineages remained at Ntonnyeze while others found settlements in other areas of Buganda. These lineages are as follows:
Patrician Lineage Seat
1. Kinviirewo Kambugu, Busiro County, Wakiso District
2. Kayaaye Ntonnyeze, Busujju County, Mityana District
3. Katunda Ntonnyeze, Busujju County, Mityana District
4. Mulyanga Bulenga, Busiro County, Wakiso District
5. Kannantebya Kiteezi, Kyaddondo County, Wakiso District
6. Kasiiwuukira Kitagobwa, Kyaddondo County, Wakiso District
7. Bijugo Kitegombwa, Kyaddondo County, Wakiso District
8. Katagaliko Kalemba, Bugerere County, Kayunga district.
Muyonjo Bukulu Mukalo, son of Ssessanga, begot eight sons while at Kambugu. These sons are the ancestors of the eight branches of the Clan, which are as follows:
1. Kikomeko Luubu, Mawokota, Mpigi District
2. Ggulu Busaabala, Kyaddondo, Wakiso District
3. Kakembo Zzirannumbu, Kyaddondo, Wakiso District
4. Ntambi Lubya, Kyaddondo, Wakiso District
5. Ssebanyiiga Kyaazi (Kojja), Kyaggwe County, Mukono District
6. Ssentomero Zzinga, Kyaggwe County, Mukono District
7. Ssemakadde Mpuku, Kyaggwe County, Mukono District
8. Ssemmambo Buligi, Butambala, Mpigi District.
Ssemmambo, the eighth son of Mukalo, was apparently young when his father was assassinated during the overthrow of Kabaka Kagulu. He ran to his elder brother Kikomeko at Luubu. There, he hid from public view by spending most of his time with fishermen who fished far away from the shores. He was considered to be Kikomeko’s son. Not to cause controversy, his brother, Kikomeko treated him as his own son. When Ssemmambo moved away to establish his own home at Buligi, Kikomeko made him head of one of his sub-branches, and this situation continued so for almost three centuries until quite recently when it was affirmed that indeed Ssemmambo was a son of Mukalo and not a brother of Kikomeko and was made head of a separate branch under Mukalo.
When Ssemmambo settled in Buligi, he gradually familiarized himself with his surroundings. He added to his birth name the names Ssebuwufu and Ssewandigi which have special significance to the traditions of Buligi.
Lake Nnalubaale (Lake Victoria)
All but two of Mukalo’s eight sons established settlements near the shores of Lake Nnalubaale (Lake Victoria). It is not yet established why these six sons of the head of the clan chose to settle near the lake shores. The exceptions to this were: Ntambi of Lubya and Ssemmambo of Buligi, who, too, are not too far from the lake.
Some say that the lake belongs to the Clan; and assert that is named after Nnalubaale, a name that is common among female clan members.
It is quite possible that Kabaka Kagulu Tebutweereke might have been trying to seek sanctuary from his clansmen of Njovu Clan who lived near the lake when he was assassinated by his half-sister Princess Nnassolo Ndege at Bukule, Kojja, near Lake Victoria. The princess ordered Kagulu’s body to be drowned in the lake.
From small beginnings, branches spread and bred sub-branches, and sub-branches bred family lineages, and families bred households which developed into clusters.
4. The Great Persecution of the Clan
The Clan suffered persecution after the overthrow of Kabaka Kagulu Tebutweereke. This king belonged to the Clan through his mother Nnagujja who was from the Mulyanga patrician Line of the Clan.
Kagulu was a tyrannical and extremely cruel king who caused untold suffering to commoners and royals alike. The commoners and royals joined forces and rebelled and overthrew his regime.
The kings that followed Kagulu on the throne, in particular Kikulwe and Mawanda carried out a purge against clan members because, in their opinion, the Clan had produced a very bad king who was loathed by all.
Ntambi of Lubya, Kagulu’s maternal uncle and Prime Minister (Katikkiro), was assassinated soon after Kagulu’s overthrow and eventual death. Mukalo, the head of the Clan, was also killed. Many Clan leaders and powerful personalities, especially those who had gained prominence during Kagulu’s reign, were murdered during the purge. Common members of the clan were not spared either.
Ssensalire of Kawoko and Kikomeko of Luubu were the only Clan potentates who escaped this purge. Ssensalire was spared because of his traditional role as chief keeper of the royal herds. Kikomeko was saved by his traditional role as the receiver, through his lake entry point of Buvumbo, of the oracles of Lubaale Mukasa (a key deity in Buganda) from Ssese Islands whenever the Kabaka wanted to consult them. In addition, wise men advised Kabaka Mawanda not to kill Kikomeko, because if he did so, Kikomeko would open the gates of the lake and the whole of Buganda would be submerged in water. Mukalo’ relatives, who had stayed at the original Clan estate at Ntonyeze, remained almost unscathed by the purge.
During this witch-hunt, and following the murder of Mukalo, the Clan head, and prominent Clan leaders, the Clan went into disarray except those families that had remained, far away the royal court, at Ntonyeze. Some survivors hid in other clans rather than face death.
However, the Clan was largely saved from total extinction through an earlier secret pact made by Mukalo, the head of the Njovu Clan and Walusimbi, the head of the Ffumbe Clan. This pact involved an alliance between the two clans to let Kagulu ascend to the throne.
When Kagulu was chosen to become Kabaka, it was realised by his maternal uncles that, as a member of the Njovu Clan, he could not jump over a piece of ivory, a rite that had to be fulfilled by every new Kabaka. They reasoned that since his mother was of the Elephant Clan, ivory was symbolically his mother.
Mukalo and Walusimbi were blood-brothers (abanywanyi b’omukago). So, they agreed to make an alliance of their clans so that Kagulu would be regarded as a member of the Ffumbe Clan and would thus be able to fulfil the required rite and become Kabaka. That is what was done and Kagulu became Kabaka. But when Kagulu afterwards proved to be a bad king, it was recalled that he actually belonged to the Njovu clan and therefore his Clan had to suffer for his misdeeds.
M. B. Nsimbi says: “This purge did much to strengthen the bond between the Njovu Clan and Ffumbe Clan”. In actual fact, hundreds of Njovu Clan members settled in the Ffumbe Clan and never left it even when things cooled down. Even to-day, because of this historical connection, the two clans share some names.
Recovery of the Clan
Nnanteza and the Clan’s rising fortunes
The single most important event leading to the recovery and re-acceptance of the Clan into Buganda national affairs is the marriage of a clan girl to King Kyabaggu and her giving birth to two princes who later became brave and famous kings of Buganda in succession: Jjunju and Ssemakookiro. Her name was Nnanteza. Nnanteza was the darling wife of Kabaka Kyabaggu, the father of Kabaka Jjunju and Kabaka Ssemakokiro. Kyabaggu’s palace was at Kibiri-Masajja, a few kilometres from Kampala on the road to Busaabala, at the time he married Nnanteza. Their first child, a boy, died in infancy.
Nnanteza was the daughter of Ggulu of Busaabala, leader of one of the 8 clan’s branches. She had the rare honour of being queen-mother (Nnamasole) twice when both her sons were Kabaka, one after the other.
There was much admiration and praise for the extremely blessed Nnanteza who was mother to the two brave and famous kings, Jjunju and Ssemakookiro. In great praise of Nnanteza, the Baganda coined a saying: “Ekitembe tekisa ebiri wabula ekya Nnanteza”. Here Nnanteza’s exceptionally fortunate womb is likened to a wild forest banana tree that is never known to produce two banana fruits at the same time.
The Clan’s status once again came to the fore during the two long and epoch-making reigns of Nnanteza’s two sons, Jjunju and Ssemakokiro. Mukalo’s presence as clan leader was once again required at the royal court.
New Mukalo from Ntonnyeze
Most probably at Nnanteza’s untiring efforts, Kabaka Kyabaggu called upon Kikomeko to occupy his late father’s seat at the royal court; but Kikomeko was apparently still traumatised by what had taken place during the purge and did not want to replace his father at the royal court. Moreover, Kikomeko’s uncles were still alive at Ntonyeze; and it might not have been right for him to assume the leadership of the Clan while they existed. Kikomeko, who was quite a power himself at Luubu, might have felt safer at his own palace rather risk getting murdered at the royal court where killings of his clansmen had become commonplace.
On the Kabaka’s insistence about filling Mukalo’s seat, Wavvuvumira, late Muyonjo Mukalo’s brother, who lived at Ntonyeze, came forward to act in Mukalo’s place. However, Wavvuvumira, who was an old man, soon found this duty tedious as he had to walk quite a long distance from Ntonyeze to the royal palace at Kibiri-Masajja. He therefore requested, on account of old age, to be relieved of the obligation of appearing at the royal court himself. He further prayed that his nephew, Kinviirewo, the son of his brother Kayaaye, should be allowed to occupy his seat and represent the Clan. These requests were granted. Thus, Kinviirewo, after being culturally installed, became Mukalo and established the present “royal” Line from which Mukalo is elected.
After some time, Kinviirewo, the new Mukalo, moved to Kambugu and re-occupied the Clan’s estate, which encompassed the villages of Kambugu, Lwemwedde, Kalega, Nnamutenga, Kifumbe, Ggamba, Busaawa, Wabiyinja, and Tumbaali.
Wavvuvumira and Kayaaye and other Clan elders stayed remained at Ntonyeze, the Clan’s original estate. As we have seen above, Kinviirewo together with his successor Mukwanguzi were buried not at Kambugu but at Ntonnyeze.
5. Past Clan Leaders (Mukalo) and their Children
There are accounts from oral history and traditions in regarding personages who have served as of the Clan and their children, as well as their burial places. Some of these accounts appear in print.
The table below gives the line of Clan Heads of the past with their Children
No. Mukalo Children
1. Ssewamala Kibawo Mukalo Boys: Kalagala and Ssegujja (b); girl: Nnagujja.
2. Kalagala Mukalo Ssentulubalo (b); Kalagala (b); Nnalubaale (g)
3. Ssentulubalo Mukalo Boys: Ssezzooba; Ssemukoteka; and Ssebyayi. Girls: Bakifa and Zzimbannene
4. Ssezzooba Mukalo Boys: Ssemayanzi; Nnakasakiranga; Mukwanguzi; Kalume; and Balibaawo. Girls: Nnamirembe; Nnassozi.
5. Ssemayanzi Mukalo Boys: Mabejjo; Kinviirewo. Girl: Nnaamala.
6. Mabejjo Mukalo Boys: Kibawo; Muyonjo
7. Kibaawo II Mukalo Boys: Ssessanga Ggulu; Muyonjo.
8. Ssessanga Ggulu Mukalo Boys: Muyonjo Bukulu; Kayaaye; Wavvuvumira. Girl: Nnabinene.
9. Muyonjo Bukulu Mukalo Boys: Kiro Kikomeko; Ggulu; Kakembo; Ntambi; Ssebanyiiga; Ssentomero; Ssemakadde; Ssemmambo.
10. Kinviirewo Mukalo Boys: Mukwanguzi Kalume; Kayonde; Ssentulubalo; Ssemakadde. Girl: Nnalubaale.
11. Mukwanguzi Kalume Mukalo Boys: Ssemayanzi Ssekibi; Waggumbulizi; Kakobya. Girls: Nnabiwuulu; Nnassozi.
12. Ssemayanzi Ssekibi Mukalo Boys: Ssewaaya; Ssentulubalo; Mukasa Kabanga; Lukooto.
13. Ssewaaya Mukalo Boys: Nnalukoola; Waggumbulizi; Maanyigeeka; Ssembajja; Bbwaddene; Kakembo Amuli; Kasiira; Kasolo; Sserubula; Sserubidde; Sserwanga; Ng’andazakamwa; Kisaabo; Mutaseka; Miyagi; Kimaze; and Gatubuuke. Girls: Nnampewo; Nnamirembe; Njabire; Kimbuze; Kkyennalaba; Ssimaanyibwe.
14. Nnalukoola Mukalo Boys: Ssekandi Firikisi; Kyaasiima Ssezzooba; Mayegeka; Musoke Paulo; and Ntwane Mugumba. Girls: Nnakandi Peterarina; Balifa Ziriyana.
15. Ssekandi Firikisi Mukalo Boys: Musisi Saulo; Paulo Boogere Kayonde; Alooni Kibuuka.
16. Kayonde Boogere Paulo Mukalo Boys: Peter Kikomeko. Girls: Yozefina Nnamirembe; Nnassanga Kevina.
17. Kikomeko Peter Mukalo Boys: Ssessanga David Sylvester; Ssekandi Francis; Kakembo Hannington; girl: Nnakandi Rosemary.
6. Kings of Buganda produced by the Clan
The Clan has so far produced 4 kings, one of whom was notorious while the others were quite notable. These kings are: Kagulu Tebutweereke; Jjunju; Ssemakokiro; and Mukaabya Walugembe Muteesa I.
Kabaka Kagulu Tebutweereke
Kagulu Tebutweereke was the product of Kabaka Ndawula and Nnagujja, the daughter of Mulyanga, one of the heads of the Clan’s patrician lines. Kagulu was a cruel despot who, together with his maternal uncle Ntambi of Lubya as his Katikkiro, caused a lot of suffering to the people. He was overthrown and assassinated in a rebellion masterminded by his half-sister Princess Nnassolo Ndege and his half brothers and rivals for the throne Princes Kikulwe, Mawanda and Ssegamwenge.
Although the princess ordered Kagulu’s body to be drowned in Lake Victoria, there is evidence that Kagulu’s clansmen of Njovu Clan and his children kept his body and buried it secretly somewhere in Kyaggwe County until the persecution of the Clan by kings that followed Kagulu had ebbed. His jawbone, preserved by his grandson Kayemba, also known as Mayemba (son and successor of Prince Kyoobe Ssematimba, son of Kagulu), is to be found in a tomb at Bbuga, Kyaddondo County, Wakiso District.
Kagulu’s descendants are organised in the following 6 sub-branches (mituba) of the royal family:
Princely Sub-branch Seat
Kyoobe Ssematimba Bbuga, Busiro County, Wakiso District
Kattaba Kkololo, Kyaddondo, Kampala District
Kiwanga Kamwookya, Kyaddondo, Kampala District
Ssekkolya Kiwaala, Kyaggwe County, Mukono District
Lweteega Kiwaala, Kyaggwe County, Mukono District
Kalaki Bukeerere, Kyaggwe County, Mukono District
Jjunju was the son of Kabaka Kyabaggu and Nnanteza. One of the most distinguished king-warriors of Buganda, Jjunju conquered Buddu from Bunyoro, a highly coveted large region because of its fertility and wealth. This conquest and acquisition opened the gates of opportunity for Buganda to extend her influence and establish trade links with the rich areas of Busagara (Ankole) and Kkooki in southern Uganda; and Buhaya (Kiziba), Karagwe, Buzinja and Mwanza in western Tanganyika. He lies buried in a mausoleum at Luwunga in Busiro County, Wakiso District.
Ssemakookiro was the younger brother of Jjunju through Kabaka Kyabaggu and Nnanteza. After training an army in Mabira where his elder Jjunju had exiled him on account of his ambition for the throne, Ssemakookiro overthrew his brother Jjunju and took over the throne.
He introduced a constitutional innovation that made it almost mandatory for the new king to have his brothers, cousins and uncles to be executed on his enthronement. This innovation was put in place to ensure that the new king would not face the threat of war from his kith and kin. He himself had come to the throne after fighting and killing his own brother Jjunju.
He consolidated the assimilation and administrative kingandanisation of Buddu, conquered by his brother Jjunju. He was a hard working king who, through example, taught his subjects how to become rich. He strengthened political alliances and trade links with Kiziba, Karagwe and Mwanza through sale of ivory, foodstuffs, salt and backcloth in exchange for spears, hand-made goods, ornaments, animals and clothes. Items like woven clothing and household utensils were first introduced in Buganda through these areas during his reign. He lies buried in a mausoleum at Kisimbiri near Wakiso.
Kabaka Mukaabya Walugembe
Mukaabya Walugembe, known to posterity as Muteesa 1, was the product of Kabaka Ssuuna Kalema Ssemunywa and Lady Nnakazi Muganzirwazza daughter of Ggalabuzi of the Kikomeko branch of the Clan.
The source of River Nile, for centuries a mystery to Europeans, was “discovered” by Speke and Grant during his reign.
Muteesa wrote to Queen Victoria of Great Britain and requested for teachers to come to Buganda and enlighten his people so that they could achieve progress and move forward from backwardness. Church missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, were the first to take up the opportunity.
Though Islam had existed in Buganda since the days of Kabaka Ssuna when Arab traders first came to Buganda in 1848, Christian faiths, both Catholic and Protestant, tried to establish their footholds in Buganda during his reign. The fierce competition at his court among the various religious factions took root during his reign; and this was to result in the religious wars after his death.
He built the Kasubi Royal Tombs, a UNESCO heritage site, so far the only one of its kind in Uganda. He is also the founder of Kampala, now the capital of Uganda.
For the first ever, people in Buganda were martyred for their faith. Mukaabya Walugembe is recorded as the first Kabaka to embrace a foreign religion. Though he remained uncircumcised in compliance with the tradition that a royal never sheds his blood except in war, Mukaabya Walugembe adopted Islamic practices and expected all his subjects to follow suit. He issued an edict which required everyone to fast during the month of Ramadhan and every home in the Kingdom to have a mosque. On being informed that many people, including a few of his senior chiefs, were still “pagan”, he gave an order to kill all people who were still practising traditional religion. About a thousand people were killed at Lweeza, eleven kilometres from Kampala on the way to Entebbe. Paradoxically, after ten years of practising as a Muslim, the king reconverted to traditional religion.
Mukaabya Walugembe also killed the first converts to a foreign faith. About 85 Muslims were killed at Nnamugongo on his orders. Their crime was to refuse to eat meat in the palace which had been slaughtered in a non-Islamic manner.
Buganda began to change, perhaps forever, during his reign. The Kingdom of Buganda became known in Europe and America during his reign through visits to his court by Arabs, Europeans, including “discoverers” of the likes of Speke and Grant and Henry Morton Stanley who, on going back to their countries, published tales of an unusual king and his unique kingdom in the middle of Africa (the Dark Continent).
His era ended on the dawn of the colonisation of Africa by Europeans through the partition of the continent at the Berlin Conference in 1888. Muteesa, who died in October 1884, is cited by historians as one of the most outstanding personalities of the 19th century. He was chosen as The Man of the Millennium by BBC in 2000. He was buried in Muzibu-azaala-mpanga, famously known to the world as Kasubi Royal Tombs.
Back to top^