Meet The Bakonzo People The Custodians Of The Rwenzori Mountains From Time Immemorial.
Every time you get to hear of a Uganda safari to Kasese, what trickles your imagination is the great Mountains of the Moon and yes, its alright for you to have a Uganda hiking safari experience on top of your to-do list in Mountain Rwenzori National park. However, besides mountain hiking during your safari Uganda to this park, there are so many other Uganda safari attractions that can you see and Uganda safari activities that you can do while on a Uganda trip to Rwenzori National Park.
In the next series of articles, I would like to share with some of these Uganda safari attractions in Rwenzori besides the mountain itself. Let’s begin with the Bakonzo people.
Origin of the Bakonzo
Majorly, there are two theories that can explain the existence of the Bakonzo. One theory suggests that, the Bakonzo migrated from mt Elgon led by Kintu who is believed to the first Muganda with the rest of Baganda people and moved west wards but unlike the Baganda tribe of people who decided to settle on the shores of Lake Victoria, the Bakonzo continued migrating further westwards and finally settled on the lower slopes of mt Rwenzori because the place had the same climatic conditions just like mt Elgon where they had come from. Their migration is believed to have occurred between 1000AD -1300AD. The other theory that explains their existence suggests that the Bakonzo have never migrated from any other place as they have lived only in this region because it is believed that the first Bakonzo emerged from the caves of mt Rwenzori and settled on its slopes then intermarried each other to give birth to the entire Bakonzo community.
Circumcision and Marriage among the Bakonzo
Bakonzo carry out circumcision of the boy child as sign to mark transition from childhood to adulthood, initially, the circumcision practice was carried out after long intervals of between 15-18 years and this meant that even boys as young as 5 years had to be circumcised because the next phase of circumcision would arrive when they are already mature hence they needed to be circumcised in order to get married as girls would only be married to circumcised boys. In recent times, circumcision can be done by anybody, anytime and anywhere unlike long ago where there were rituals to followed. Long ago, circumcision among the Bakonzo, circumcision had to be done by the Bamba as it was a taboo for a Mukonzo to circumcise a fellow Mukonzo.
Just like many other African societies, when it came to courtship and marriage among the Bakonzo, the parents of the children had to do the scouting for a good suitor for their child. When a child was born, other families with young children that would want to have their child marry a child from this family brought gifts to the family with a newborn child as a way of showing their interest in the newborn child, the parents of the newborn child would carefully examine the gifts brought to them from other families to determine a family that would potentially take their child when time came for marriage. This, therefore, meant that there was no courtship done by the young couple before marriage was conducted. Courtship could be done by men who had the potential to marry a second wife as they had to look for the second wife all by themselves. This was all possible since polygamy was allowed in the Bakonzo culture.
Virginity was highly treasured and girls that conceived before marriage were killed. During marriage, the boy’s family had to pay the bridal price and this consisted of mainly goats and animal skin and a digging stick. The digging stick symbolized the girl’s labour force that has been lost by the bride’s family, while the animal skin was to replace the one she had used as she was growing up and in case of a divorce, all the bridewealth paid by the boy’s family had to be returned, and this made it difficult for divorces to happen as the bride’s family would not want to return the bridewealth they had attained from their girl child’s marriage.
After getting married the young couple was expected to have children and unlike the other African tribes, the Bakonzo have a unique naming culture in which each child is named basing on his or her birth position and sex as well. Next time we get to meet we will explore the Bakonzo naming culture.
How to get to Rwenzori National Park
Getting to Mountain Rwenzori National Park can be done by both air and road transport. Anyone who intends to fly to Mountain Rwenzori National Park Uganda will fly from Entebbe international airport and land at Kasese airstrip while a road cruise to Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda takes you on a 6-hour journey or covering about 400km using the Kampala- Fort portal – Kasese road. On your Uganda safari to Mountain Rwenzori National Park, spend an overnight stay in any of the accommodations in Mountain Rwenzori National Park such as Equator Snow Lodge, Mihunga Safari Lodge, Sandton Hotel Kasese, Springs International Hotel Kasese, Ruboni Community Camp, Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite, Tours Holiday Inn, Uhura 50 Hotel and Snow View Hotel.
In case you’re interested in a visit to Rwenzori national park, please? 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 feature 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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