Welcome back to the second segment of our Tales of Africans & Marriage the two inseparable twins. Just like I promise in our previous episode on this particular subject, let’s explore the marriage among the Baganda.
It’s a public secret that’s known to many that have visited Africa or stayed on this continent that marriage to Africans is something that’s highly treasured and the Baganda are no exception to this well-known rule as it’s known that they hold dear the sanctity of the institution of marriage. To this regard, the Baganda parents and the greater society at the large had a mammoth task of preparing their children right from a tender age for their marriage life in order to ensure that they had a successful marriage since it was a point of shame if any of the married partners failed to live up to the society’s expectations when it came to marriage.
In anticipation for marriage, all Baganda girls were expected to virgins before marriage and in case a girl conceived before marriage she caused a lot of shame and scorn on her family as it was considered an abomination to conceive while not legally married. The act of conceiving before marriage was called “okusobeza ku lugya” loosely translated this means “wronging at the family grounds or while still staying with your parents”. The girl who conceived before marriage was severely beaten first as her punishment for wronging the family grounds and also as an act to deter her young sisters from committing the same mistake as she has committed because the sisters now got to know that they would also be heavily punished just like their sister has been in case they ever made the same mistake
Before marriage, both boys and girls had to undergo sex education from their aunts for girls and boys from their uncles. The lessons were given to children when they reached the adolescent stage. For the girls, they underwent what we refer to as “visiting the bush”. During these visits to the bush, the girls were taught how to keep their bodies clean, manage menstrual cycles and taught how to appease their husbands sexually. Boys were also taught to provide for and lead their families, how to handle their wives and also fulfil their sexual desires.
There was nothing like courtship among the Baganda of long ago as fathers had the principal role of scouting for suitable marriage partners for their children and in case they had found a suitable partner for their child, marriage proposals were advanced by the child’s father to the family of the would-be bride or groom. For the would-be bride, she had no choice of not allowing the partner her father had chosen for her so it was quite common for young girls to be married to men old enough to be their fathers. When the families had agreed that their children were to marry each other, bride price was agreed upon and this mainly consisted of animals like goats and cows, jars of local brew, and what is called “omutwalo” for the girl’s father, “gomesi” for the bride’s mother and aunts, “kanzu” for the bride’s father, bride’s big brother who is called “omuko”. The bride price was paid during an introduction ceremony called “kwanjula”. Kwanjula is a big feast which is organized at the bride’s family by her parents in order to see her off into her marriage life. During this feast, many people especially relatives of the were invited and there is a lot of eating and drinking involved as the bride’s family see off their daughter into marriage, it’s also done to congratulate the bride and her entire family for rising her properly until she has married.
Before the kwanjula ceremony, the bride to be aunt had to ensure that the bride to be was still a virgin. This was done on the wedding eve night, the bridegroom and bride had to consummate their love for the first time and this was done to determine the bride’s virginity. It was expected that the bride to be had to bleed as her virginity membrane was broken during the intercourse so the aunt would check for blood marks on the beddings and if she found them she would declare that the girl was a virgin. This caused for more celebration as the family jubilates surviving being shamed for having a girl who had lost her virginity before marriage and the bride’s aunt would get an extra goat as a token of appreciation for keeping niece a virgin till marriage.
After the Kwanjula the road to marriage isn’t yet done as there is the wedding to be conducted. The wedding is called embaga in the local Luganda dialect and this crowns the marriage ceremonies. This is conducted at the groom’s family grounds and its conducted to welcome the bride to the grooms family. On the wedding eve night, a ceremony called kasiki (easily relatable to the bachelor’s party) is conducted and during the kasiki all invited guests do merrymaking as they drink a lot of beer and dance the night off in order to welcome the new bride in the family. the wedding is conducted the following day with the bride and groom saying their marriage vows before God and man as well amidst all their parents, friends and other relatives. In order for a Kwanjula ceremony to take place, the groom and his family is expected to have a number of things presents and in our next episode here we will explore the some of these items that have to be availed by the groom in order to have a successful Kwanjula ceremony
In order to have an encounter with the Baganda to have more about their marriage, you can take advantage of our Kampala city tour which is a 1 day Kampala city tour. This 1 day Kampala day trip gives you a unique opportunity to visit a wide range of Baganda cultural institutions such as the Buganda parliament commonly known as Bulange Mengo, the Kabaka’s Palace which also called Lubiri Mengo, the Kasubi Tombs which are the burial tombs of 4 Buganda kings.
On top of this Kampala day excursion, you can always make a Uganda safari to several of other Uganda safari tour destinations such as Murchison falls national park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Queen Elizabeth National park for an encounter with savanna wild mammals such as the African big five’s as well as a wide range of other mammals. Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park gives you an opportunity to enjoy a stunning Uganda gorilla trip experience as these parks are home to the amazing gorillas.
For an encounter with any of these attractions in Uganda? Feel free to check out our website which ultimately gives you a preview of some of our safaris in Uganda packages that have been designed to lead you on an adventure to various parts of the country giving you unlimited access to the best of Africa safari attractions in Uganda. Our Uganda gorilla safaris packages that have been featured here are designed to give you an encounter with the magical gorillas as the major attraction while Uganda wildlife safari packages cater for those that are interested in epic Uganda savanna wildlife as well as our fascinating and quite interesting culture birds and gorillas if you need them to be included.
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