BULANGE. BUGANDA’S CULTURAL PARLIAMENT

Bulange, Buganda’s cultural parliament: Buganda kingdom is one of the strongest cultural institutions that date back to pre-colonial Uganda. Buganda kingdom plays a very significant role in the preservation of African traditional culture and norms, especially now in the rapidly changing world. For centuries, it has stood tall as a symbol of African beliefs preserved and practised up to this day.

The Kingdom of Buganda is led by a king called the ‘Kabaka’. The kabaka lives in the palace called the ‘Lubiri’. The Baganda (people in Buganda kingdom are called Baganda) have a centralized system of government that has been very organized and operational since the1750’s.

Bulange is the building that hosts Buganda kingdom’s parliamentary proceedings. These parliamentary proceedings are known in Luganda – the local kingdom language, as Lukiiko.

Bulange is located in Kampala on Namirembe hill just a few meters from the Lubiri on Kabaka Anjagala Road. The name Bulange was inspired by the weaving grass that used to grow on this hill many many years ago.

Earlier on, the clan leaders and the kings used to meet under trees to discuss matters that affected the kingdom, then they graduated to grass-thatched houses but at this point, the kingdom was expanding exponentially and more needed to be done.

The prime minister, Apollo Kaggwa took the first step to construct a brick parliament during the 20th Century when he contracted an Indian constructor Alidina Visram. But this still was not enough, Buganda kingdom was peaking, and required bigger and stronger premises for the Lukiiko.

In 1955, Ssekabaka Mutesa II returned from exile in Scotland but he did not come alone, he returned with drawings of a building he had seen and admired during his time in exile. These drawings were used as a benchmark to construct Bulange building as we know it now.

With full funding of the Buganda government, construction began in 1955 and was completed in 1958 at a cost of 5 million Pound Sterlings (at the time). Since its completion, Bulage has been the administrative capital for the Buganda Kingdom – where they hold these important meetings.

In 1966, Uganda as a country went through a period of political mayhem. This led to the invasion of the Lubiri (palace) and Bulange was turned into the headquarters of the Uganda army. Consequently, the president at the time, Obote II abolished all cultural institutions in the country, and for a time this was the prevailing status quo.

Later on, in 1993 with the new government, National Resistance Movement (NRM) these cultural institutions were reinstated and the Lubiri was returned to its people of Buganda.

However, this restoration came with certain conditions. Buganda kingdom is now a legitimate monarchy. The Lukiiko only deliberates on issues that affect the kingdom and not the country. They legislate cultural laws and other developmental matters but not Uganda’s politics.

The Lukiiko also is comprised of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Youth representatives, Representatives from other counties, Massaza chiefs, Kabaka’s representatives, Representatives from outside Buganda, Representatives from other communities and categories. It is a legislative assembly with highly esteemed members that come together to discuss Bugada’s political, economic, social and cultural matters and formulate its bi-laws.

Inside this magnificent symbolic structure, the symbols of the 50 clans are clearly illustrated on the walls. Up to now, it stands as a strong structure where the most important decisions that affect the kingdom are deliberated, made and passed.

As you can tell Bulange is of significant cultural importance to Buganda kingdom and Uganda as a whole. Visitors who are interested in people’s cultures and history should definitely not miss out a visit to this cultural parliament. While visiting Bulange, the details of the clans, the kingdom’s structure, history and norms will be explained in a very enlightening way – by the people who are knowledgable enough to write an entire book about the kingdom.

Bulange is located right in the middle of Kampala. This makes it easier for you to combine several nearby places and enjoy a fully packed Kampala city tour with so many interesting things to see, do, learn and experience.

A visit to Bulange is recommended for everyone with a deep interest in history and African culture. History and culture is a very interesting and insightful topic of travel. This is even more so with Uganda’s rich cultural diversity which makes cultural safaris very interesting.

Sometimes a cultural safari is combined with wildlife tours or birdwatching. Sometimes they are organized to strictly be cultural encounters.

If you are thinking of a cultural tour in Uganda (however you want it), just make use of our custom safari inquiry form. It is simple, just tell us what you would like, how you would like it and around what time. We will design for you a customised safari itinerary that is based around your personal interests and budget.

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