Uganda, widely known as the Pearl of Africa, is the home to the endangered mountain gorillas. This country is also gifted by the nature and 10 national parks and dozens of wildlife reserves. It has friendly people, beautiful cultural sites and natural endowments good for visitors’ memorable adventure. In this beautiful country, you will find contrasts at every turn. From the moment you land at Entebbe with its magnificent equatorial location on the shore of Lake Victoria, it is clear Uganda is not an ordinary destination.
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Apart from the above, Uganda is also home to 56 tribes with nearly 30 different languages. English is the official language of Uganda. Ugandans are among the most hospitable and generous people in Africa and globally. Their tradition lives on in the hearts of the people, and their traditional costumes, language and practices are clearly identifiable in the life of Uganda today.
Lake Kyoga serves as a rough boundary between north and the south of the country. It boundary goes across economical, historical, linguistic, cultural, religious and tribe differences.
Driving from south to the north you notice the nature has changed from fresh green to dusty and dry, from developed part of the country to parts where people struggle to get basics for living.
North of the country was devastated for many years by civil war, young generations growing up in camps without any knowledge of the cultural background.
Gender Roles and Statuses
Traditionally, women were taught to respect wishes of their fathers, brothers, husbands, and all other men to demonstrate their subordination to men in public life. Women in rural areas of Buganda are expected to kneel when speaking to a man. This tradition has been preserved till today. Kneeling is also common in educational institutions. At primary school all children kneel in front of the authority, from the secondary level men are exempted.
Family prosperity in rural areas involves the acquisition of wives, which is accomplished through the exchange of bridewealth. It is set at five cows and a similar number of goats. The payment of bridewealth is connected to the fact that men “rule” women. A man may grant his senior wife “male” status, allowing her to behave as an equal toward men and as a superior toward his other wives. However, polygynous marriages have left many wives without legal rights.
Among tribes living in Uganda, there are some left on the brink of society. Karamojaland, forgotten land along the Kenya border, is one of them. The Ik is an endangered ethnic group in Africa. Today Ik people living next to Kalimajong and Turkana people in the north eastern Uganda Mountains. They kept cattle and they were regularly raided by its neighbors. Due to constant raids, Ik left cattle keeping with the idea of staying in peace with the surrounding communities.
They stay in some twenty small villages along the escarpment between Timu forest in the north and Kidepo valley national park. The main activity of the Ik people were hunting and gathering fruits not until 1960s when their land was declared a national park. They went to the mountains and started cultivation, hunting and beekeeping.
This cultural heritage is very rich and waiting to be explored so spending a day with the Ik people together with its magnificent scenery of Morungole Mountain Kaabong district is simply dazzling. The Ik people pay 5 to 10 bee hives as bride price instead of cattle. Depending on the number of beehives a man can marry as many wives as he wants. A respectable man owns as many as 50 beehives. The first wife is the most respected among other wives and inheritance is done after divorce.
Travelling to the eastern part of the country should be added to the Uganda trip itinerary of every adventurous person who desires to experience real Africa with its traditions kept from generations to generations. Meeting people living in Karamoja, ask them questions about their lifestyle with all the breathtaking sceneries of mountains around will be experience going deep into your memories. Check our offer HERE!