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DARIUS SEMEI KAKUNGULU EXPERIENCE Part 3

SEMEI KAKUNGULU COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Some Baganda chauvinists believe and think Kakungulu was a great philanthropist who took religion and education in that area. They sometimes go as far as saying he took civilization in the area. In a distance of 2-3 miles away is a primary and secondary school that was put in memory of Kakungulu. Steve says these are community initiatives to keep the name of the great statesman far high. I passed by the school to see if I can meet anyone who had an idea of what their school name was and whether they could have had an idea to see the man whose banner shines on each corner of their school, they replied me with a big no. From the head teacher to the gateman, they had all studied him in history just like me. At the school you can enjoy drama and plays about Kakungulu if you came at the right time.

SUNRISES AND STUNNING VIEWS AT SEMEI KAKUNGULU COUNTRY LODGE
Besides being a country home and natures’ hidden paradise, it’s a unique experience of its own. Camping in the middle of the bush with birds singing for you has never been enchanting more than that. To be honest it was my first time to pitch my own tent and I lost a finger nail while pinning screws to hold it. But its worth an experience you should never miss on top of Gangama hill. I cannot forget when heavy rain came at night and my cameraman kept joking Semei Kakungulu has come to visit us. Am not a fun of such jokes but well it scared the hell out of me and have since loved camping even the more. For a photogenic like my friend Mark Metternich, I guess it’s a perfect place for natural photography environments. Sunrises are things to hold onto. When you are seated right in the gardens early morning with all sounds of nature making melodies, you will still see across MT Elgon highest point saying hello handsome.

On the other hand close to Kakungulu’s old home you can view the whole of Mbale town and the whole of Wanale ridge peeping like a beautiful Bamasaba cow.

MWANGA AND KABALEGA INCECERATION PLACE
In March 1899 Kakungulu joined Major Avatt in the operations that captured Kabalega and Mwanga in Lango. Kakungulu himself was responsible for capturing them as they tried escape from the village of Oyam in current Dokolo County. Kabalega had been so wounded that his arm had to be amputated. Kabalega’s three sons were with him. That was Jasi who died of bullet wounds, Andereya Duhaga who later became the Omukama of Bunyoro. Before Kakungulu and Mwanga were handed over to Major Avatt they were incarcerated on this this stone and later went into Exile. Mwanga died in Exile and Kabalega died in Uganda after Omukama requested for his release.

Am not doubting that you can have a full package filled with learning and adventure at Gangama hill in Mbale. I highly recommend you take a trip and you will come back with your own story.

Please note that all views expressed in this blog are my own and from my experience. They not the views of my sponsors or my partners.
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DARIUS’ SEMEI KAKUNGULU HERITAGE EXPERIENCE. Part 2

In my previous episode https://bit.ly/2RerFfu I narrated how I had stepped my foot on Gangama hill. It’s on this hill that Mwanga and Kabalega were incarcerated, it’s on this hill that Semei Lwakirenzi Kakungulu finally settled, it’s on this hill that he died and was buried. In this episode I take you straight to what to see on this hill in the Semei Kakungulu Heritage Experience with Kakunguru Safaris a local company that has taken time to develop the itinerary.

TOUR SEMEI KAKUNGULU GRAVE.

Semei Kakungulu grave at Gangama Hill in Mbale.

Kakungulu died on 24th November 1928of Tetanus. Kakungulu is buried in a short distance from the main Abayudaya synagogue behind the unpretentious home which he lived during his last years of his life. He was buried inside a house. I asked Steve my guide why he was buried inside a house. “He built this house before he died and instructed his relatives to be buried there” Says Steve the soft spoken man with a lot of simplicity. We were allowed in by the care taker of Kakungulu’s grave and old house Mr. Hamis Nambale who looks like he is in his old 60s. As you enter, the immediate site is a front stone on the grave with words……..

“SEMEI LWAKIRENZI KAKUNGULU A victorious General, Saza Chief in Buganda, Administrator of Eastern province 1899 – 1905, President of Busoga 1906 -1913. Died 24th 11 1928”

His grave is surrounded by his tools of work that include spears that he used to take on his battle fronts. Each spear or tool there has its own meaning according to Steve.

SEMEI KAKUNGULU ANCIENT HOUSE

Darius – Show Host and Steve – Kakungulu Safaris standing infront of Semei Kakungulu House

VISIT ABAYUDAYA COMMUNITY

Under pressure from the British who wished to limit his holdings, in 1917 moved his residence a short distance further from Mbale town into a short distance in the foothills of MT elgon to a place called Gangama. It was there that he started a separatist sect initially called Ekibiina Kya Abayudaya abesiga Katonda (the community of Jews who trust in omnipotent God) which is made up of mostly Kakungulu’s Baganda following as told to us by Steve. When I visited the site, I could easily tell the difference with rest of the community.

In 1922, at Gangama, Kakungulu published a 90-page book of rules and prayers as a guide book for his Jewish community. “The book set fourth Jewish laws and practices as Kakungulu found them in the old testament as well” Says Rabbi Garshom Wambede who is the current Mbale Jewish community leader or teacher. I found out that despite this interest in Jewish practices, there does not appear to have any contact between Kakungulu and the Jewish practices before 1925.

According to Steve, many European engineers and mechanics who were employed by the British had a chance of meeting the Christian-Jewish community in Mbale in what appears to be chance encounters and then out of this Kakungulu was told about Orthodox Judaism. As a result his other Cristian values and customs were dropped and he adopted Judaism including practices of baptism.

From these encounters the community learned of citing Hebrew prayers, observing Sabbath on Saturday, slaughter meet in Kosher manner and also speak some Hebrew.

After Kakungulu death local sources say, the Abayudaya community was divided into those wishing to retain a toehold within Christianity and those wanting to break it completely. The Bayudaya remained a mixture of both Christianity and Judaism, with faith in Christ remaining in Kakungulu’s faith and beliefs.

Some of the young Abayudaya community members performing local dance for Darius

SEMEI KAKUNGULU UNFINISHED PALACE

Just few meters Steve leads me through a maize plantation walking through a small footpath with visible stones across on the same hill. “This man was ambitious, both in wars and establishing his dynasty” Says Steve as he looks at me firmly on the face. I nodded in agreement. I tasked Steve if he knew some of Semei daughters or sisters surviving and he told me there is one sister who stays near former president of Uganda Amin’s ware house in Lunguja, Rubaga Division, Kampala but they seem to have lost touch. If one of his children were still alive probably he would have finished this palace and ascend on the throne of Bamasaba, Steve re-affirmed me.

SEMEI KAKUNGULU COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

A kid traverses through Semei Kakungulu road that goes to the community school.

Some Baganda chauvinists believe and think Kakungulu was a great philanthropist who took religion and education in that area. They sometimes go as far as saying he took civilization in the area…………………. To be continued in the next episode

 

Please note that all views expressed in this blog are my own and from my experience. They not the views of my sponsors or my partners.

Feel free to share this and follow us on social media for more insights of Darius travel experience.