It’s day 14 already, someone was complaining that I post so early, but am not breaking the rules in East Africa we are head of most of Africa, we are currently at +3 GMT since it’s June. Since Uganda is one of those typical African countries it’s had to pick a principal for today’s prompt. I will go with one that has always made some of my country men and women think am not Ugandan my name. So the cultural aspect am writing about is naming in the Ganda Culture(Buganda), Katasi Keronde Pick wrote something about it in her becoming, this WINTER ABC.
My Name is Musanjufu Benjamin Kavubu from the Kika Ky’Envubu, the white told us it’s translated as the Envubu Clan. But if you study well Ekika is more of House. The clan system in Buganda nation is bigger than the ordinary clan system from around Uganda, Africa and the world. Why am I talking about the clan system when am supposed to talk about the naming aspect? It’s because the names in Buganda are unique to each of the 52 two clans. They have not always been that number, they kept on growing with the expansion of the Buganda people. According to my Grandfather’s father’s journal that starts around 1870 to 1934 the Nvubu Clan has been in existence since 1200 when the original clan system started in Buganda and it was fathered by a man called Kayita during the reign of Ssekabaka Kintu who overthrew his brother Musota after he returned from his education in Ethiopia. Kabaka is what we call the leader of Buganda Kingdom, he is a leader not a ruler so Kabaka is not King in English, there is no word for it in English.
Ssekabaka Kintu started the clan system, back then territories that were conquered and they went on to bend the knew where made clans, and to foster unity one was not allowed to take a wife from his father and mothers clan, but the children would take on a name unique to the fathers clan. Apart from the Princess and princesses who took on the mothers clan since the Kabaka did not belong to any clan. Enough with the clan and to the naming.
So in the Ganda culture when you are born your grand parents examine you and then give you a name, it how it is supposed to be but the British made us start taking on our fathers names in the bid to kill the clan system. In Buganda all the 52 clans have names for ladies and gentlemen that will not be in another clan, unless there is some form of contemporary explanation.
The secret that most people don’t know apart from a few of us who have questioned the question is that if the Grand Parents suspect you don’t belong to their son, or if they know something about how you came to be, they will give you a name that has a meaning. Luganda names have stories attached to them but they don’t have meanings, if you ever find a Muganda with a name that means God, Grace, Hope, Faith, Thank you, Sun, Rain, Rainbow or any other name that cuts a cross the 52 clans then there are questions about who the father is.
The few names that have meaning or are actually words a very isolated and are known to belong to specific clans. In most cases those names come with another names that are unique to the clan. Buganda people are so sophisticated that they will tell you are not a Muganda even when you have a Kiganda name and they will never let you know publically, it’s something they train us when we go to the villages. I can give an example of the former president of Burundi, this guy that has just passed away. When he was in Uganda he was called Sula Kato. Sula means sleep over and Kato is a name given to a younger male twin in Buganda. Anyone who did the cultural mathematics knew he was not a Muganda and they were right.
In Buganda their names given to twins like any other civilization in Africa but the Buganda people went on to find other names that a family that gets twins takes on despite the clan. When you father twins you become Ssalongo and the mother Nalongo. The names for the twins the male take Waswa for the old twin and Kato for the younger one, the female one’s it’s Babilye for the older one and Nakato for the younger one. If you have twins coming after you immediately you become Kigongo for a man and lady Nakigongo. If you are after twins you became Kityo for the boy and Nakityo for the girl. Then there is Kizza if your parents happen to get another set of twins and this for both boys and girls. But still with these names one has to curry a clan name. If they don’t then they are from another tribe.
So I love my mother so much, and I want to get a daughter one day but she can’t get her name since she is not from the Nvubu clan and if my better half was a Muganda lady she could never be from the Mamba clan however beautiful she would be, every female from my mothers clan is my mother and every male is my uncle. Anyway I would never handle a Muganda lady.
Next time I will tell you how we tell someone or a family are identified, if they have a Kiganda name but they are actually not. If am older and bolder about such a sensitive issue.