Uganda’s Diverse Culture

Uganda is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. It was named the most diverse country on earth by a study from Harvard University. If you want to experience the ‘real’ Uganda then you will have to include cultural safaris on your itineraries or at least a visit to the local community either for over night stay or a few hours to explore their life, join in music and dance or simply enjoy the food. A visit to a community will give you an experience that you can never get reading or watching on TV. You can further ask for opportunities to attend some ceremonies and these can be sought out where possible.

Tribes of Uganda

Uganda has over 50 tribes from 3 major groups namely Nilotics, Bantu, and Sudanic groups with about 40 languages. The languages spoken are less than the tribes because some tribes share languages e.g Banyankore and Bahororo. Some of these tribes have kingdoms especially the Bantu tribes and others do not have, they mainly operated under chiefdom’s. Currently the Kingdoms do not have political power but are majorly ceremonial.  The current ‘active’ ceremonial kingdoms include Buganda, Ankore Busoga, Bunyoro and Tooro Kingdoms which have a reigning King except for Ankore Kingdom.

There are 56 different tribes in Uganda as listed below,

  1. Acholi,
  2. Alur,
  3. Baamba,
  4. Babukusu,
  5. Babwisi,
  6. Bafumbira,
  7. Baganda,
  8. Bagisu,
  9. Bagungu
  10. Bagwe,
  11. Bagwere,
  12. Bahehe
  13. Bahororo,
  14. Bakenyi
  15. Bakiga,
  16. Bakonzo,
  17. Banyabindi,
  18. Banyankore,
  19. Banyara,
  20. Banyarwanda,
  21. Banyole,
  22. Banyoro,
  23. Baruuli,
  24. Basamia
  25. Basoga,
  26. Basongora,
  27. Batagwenda,
  28. Batoro,
  29. Batuku,
  30. Batwa,
  31. Chope,
  32. Dodoth,
  33. Ethur,
  34. Ik (Teuso),
  35. Iteso,
  36. Jie,
  37. Jonam
  38. Jopadhola,
  39. Kakwa,
  40. Karimojong,
  41. Kebu,
  42. Kuku
  43. Kuman,
  44. Langi,
  45. Lendu,
  46. Lugbara,
  47. Madi,
  48. Mening
  49. Mvuba,
  50. Napore,
  51. Nubi,
  52. Nyangia,
  53. Pokot,
  54. Sabiny
  55. So (Tepeth),
  56. Vonoma,

The different tribes each has unique culture and customs, music, dance and folktales. In some cases they have unique foods or a unique way of preparing the meals. Each of these has a unique language and in some cases some tribes in share a few words but they may not necessarily have the same meaning.Over time foods have been mixed up due to globalization and movement of people but there will always be a unique element to the food. Either the occasion to which it is served, a few unique ingredients or way of serving. The different tribes also have unique rights of passage, marriage and funeral rituals.