Bakonjo People

The Bakonzo are the ones who stay in the villages and farms around the Uganda Rwenzori front hill.

The Bakonjo Culture.

The bakonjo culture- The Bakonjo people believe that the Rwenzori Mountains belong to them. The Rwenzori Mountains are managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) but the Bakonjo people who live deep in the hills also jealously protect the mountains. In past, Rwenzori Mountains was called Rwenzururu but due to difficulty in pronouncing the word, a foreigner named it Rwenzori which is accepted in the area.

The Bakonzo people believe that the Rwenzori Mountains belong to them and they are also known as the keepers of the mountains. The Rwenzori Mountains are a symbol of a culture that describes the presence of the Bakonzo. There are two stories about the origin of the Bakonzo people.

After the coming of the Toro government, the Bakonzo steadily settled on the low lands. The Rwenzori Mountains have reliable rainfall and lakes as a source of water supply to both wildlife and man. The major activity in the area is agriculture for both livestock and crops. It is also believed that the families of the Bakonzo emerged from caves of the Rwenzori Mountains and produced the rest of the Bakonzo.

During the trips from Egypt through Ethiopia, the Egyptian king Ptolemy is said to have reported the existence of short physically strong women and men who were staying in the mountains of Rwenzori. He mentions that these people used to practice circumcise and use a small piece of bark cloth around their waists.

In addition to this, the Egyptian king Ptolemy is the one who named the Rwenzori Mountains the Mountains of the Moon, and this name is still working. Another tradition saying that the BaKonzo came from near Lake Nalubale which is commonly known as “Victoria”. Some of the works of art in Kasubi tombs, Baganda cultural heritage site in Kampala shows that they are two clans escaped from the areas of the Rwenzori mountains and formed the Konzo community.

The Bakonjo people are found in Kasese. There are also other people around the Rwenzori are the Bambuti and Bamba though Bakonjo is the most people in Rwenzori. Physically they are short and stout.

The Bakonjo and Bamba are small people, dark-skinned and short and they usually marry at an early age like girls at around 13-14 years. . These create the original population of the forests and mountainous areas. Their natural surrounding gave them a rich variation in small percussion instruments, small portable instruments, wooden horns, and simple dances.

Both Bakanjo and Bamba believe in superhuman powers, their gods are called Nyabarika and Kalisa. Kalisa has half of a body and it looks like a man with one eye, only one arm, one leg, one ear, the half of a nose. Nyabarika was the strongest spiritual power and was god for life and death and during hunting. Then late, these gods were erected. The people around were hunters and during hunting they use dogs.

The Bakonzo are the ones who stay in the villages and farms around the Uganda Rwenzori front hill. They are also an important ethnic group of over 30’000 people, and in Congo, they number more and are known as Banande.

Their houses are made with plaited bamboo filled plus clay and roofed with grass. But nowadays they use iron roofs due to the modern changes in Africa. The major cash crops grown on the foothill are Coffee and cocoa.

Whereas Cotton is grown on the plains. Due to the increasing population, nowadays the economic policies which favoring stability have taken hold, and they have pushed farms further and higher into the mountain foothills because of the increased erosion and environmental damage caused by people’s activities on the land.

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