THE MYSTERIES, CULTURES, AND MYTHS OF MASABA LAND
Masaba land comprises several eastern districts i.e. Sironko, Mbale, Manafwa, Namisindwa, and Bududa District. All these districts are referred to as Elgon Region.
Masaba land comprises several eastern districts i.e. Sironko, Mbale, Manafwa, Namisindwa, and Bududa District. All these districts are referred to as Elgon Region. But due to several factors like search for green pastures, peaceful neighborhoods, many natives from masaba land have been dispersed all over the nation. Finding them almost in each corner and districts in Uganda.
We refer to them as “Bamasaba” not because it’s their official name but it’s what they refer to themselves rather. By books they’re all called “Bagisu”, despite their cultural differences and variations in language, they’re all descendants of Mwambu (The first man) and Seera (The first woman) who are believed to have settled around Mountain Wanale, a foot of Mount Elgon, located in the East of Mbale District ranging from Sironko through Mbale to Bududa District.
These differences and adaptions from other tribes brought about a number of changes. The language in different areas changed. And some new words have been invented since then. The natives in Sironko are referred to as “Badadiri”. In Mbale it’s “Babangokho”. In Manafwa they’re “Basukuya”.
Talking of differences and variations, a native from Sironko and one from Manafwa and one from Bududa, have several variations in terms of pronunciation and a way of life. Take a for example “Beans”, in Sironko, it’s called “Waniambi”, in Manafwa “Kamakanda” and Bududa and Mbale, it’s “Nabutama”. And Maize too, In Sironko, Badadiri call it “Kasooli”, in Manafwa, Basukuya call it “Nasimye” And Bududa and Mbale, it’s “Nabukubo”.
Despite all that, there’s an in despicable culture that joins them all. And that’s nothing other than “IMBALU” (Manhood initiation) which is in most cases accompanied by practices like “Kadodi” (Drumming and dancing as a way of informing the community about the initiation) and the main event “Khusheta” or “Khusheba” (circumcision). IMBALU only happens every even year like 2024, 2026 and the odd years like 2021, 2023, 2025 are known to be of bad luck and are referred to as years of women.
Every even year, there’s a massive event that’s held in Mbale in a village called “Mutoto” or “Mudodo”. This event is held in August, which mark the beginning of the IMBALU SEASON. This event gathers many clans from each part and side of the Elgon Region. Over 200 boys are brought to be initiated into manhood on this land and the function is led by the cultural leader referred to as “Umukuka” (The head of Bamasaba Clans)
Several Companies, Associations and Organizations have come up with a number of annual events to reserve the culture that has been declared “exposed to extinction”. Elgon Festival, Elgon Museum, Elgon Media, Kadodi Carnival and many others are the advantageous happenings that now hold events in the name of keeping the Bamasaba culture alive. These bodies and brands have gone ahead by organizing events, carnivals and festivals in different parts of the nation to showcase the Bamasaba culture to other tribes and cultures. Some have decided to include other tribes and their cultures into these festivals which has not only been a great deal in creating awareness of these cultures, but also entertainment that has seen them earn a foreign currency to the nation.
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