important to learn every time there is a chance. Ndagire Sarah is
privileged to have learnt from friends and elders and is very proud
to pass on their knowledge to you. Do not hesitate to contact her
for any questions and always be sure to visit her home again.
Below is a list of dances Ndagire performs. These dances are taken
from the culture of Uganda, Rwanda, other regions from Africa and
the entire world.
BAAKISIIMBA, NANKASA, MUWOGOLA
||This is a Traditional folk dance, which originated
in the palace of Buganda Kingdom, situated in the central region
of Uganda (East Africa). This Kingdom is bordered by lake Victoria
in the south which lake is the home of “Nalubaale”,
the wife to “Lubaale” one of the gods of the Baganda
people. This Kingdom is found in the central region of Uganda
Once upon a time, the King in this Kingdom attended a cultural
gathering and the most important brew (beer), he enjoyed most
was "TONTO”/”OMWENGE" (the locally made
alcohol in Buganda kingdom). The name “TONTO” is
taken from the Luganda word “TONTOMERA” which in
English means “DO NOT KNOCK ME DOWN”. “TONTO”
is a local beer made from banana plantations.
The banana is the staple food for the Baganda people. When the
King took too much of this beer, he became happy and went praising
those people who planted the bananas. (In Buganda it’s a taboo
to say the King is drunk, you can only say the King is very happy).
In his praise, he used the following slogans" Abaakisiimba”,
meaning, (Those who planted the bananas), Bebaakiwoomya, meaning,
"(They made it delicious)". Then the musicians in the
Kingdom created abaakisiimba rythm, imitating the words of the king
who was so happy. Today the dance is played throught the kingdom
and the drums always sing that rhythm. The King was so relaxed and
he did not realize his balance anymore. While the men were imitating
his words on the drums, the ladies were just enjoying his relaxed
movements. The most relaxed part of his body was the west so the
ladies also started imitating his movements and eventually the movements
turned into a dance. That is why while the dance is performed, the
west is the most relaxed part of the body. There are three (3) major
movements, the first one is Baakisiinba, the second is Nankasa and
the third is Muwogola. The dance is being performed throughout the
Kingdom by all generations.
This is the Royal folk Dance of Buganda Kingdom, which developed
in the King's palace in Buganda Kingdom. Once upon a time King Mulondo
of Buganda died and unfortunately he did not leave any Heir (prince)
to succeed him. Fortunately he left a fleet of pregnant wives who
were expecting to deliver. So medicine men and traditional doctors
were urgently searched to find out who of these wives had a baby
boy (Prince to be) in her womb since it’s a taboo (non acceptable)
for the Kingdom to have a queen. Namulondo (one of the wives who
had a baby boy) was discovered and was meant to sit on the throne
on the assumption that it was not her ruling, but the baby boy in
her womb. When this young king was born, he was meant to rule the
Kingdom as he was lying on the throne. Kings in Buganda are not
supposed to cry as this would bring curses and bad-lack in the Kingdom.
Therefore the uncles and aunties of this young King created Amaggunju
Dance to dance around this young King to keep him permanently smiling.
Originally it was strictly performed by people from the Mushroom
(Obutiko) clan and only in the palace. The men put uncle bells on
their legs and the sound that comes out kept this young king smiling
TAMENAIBUGA, IRONGO, NALUFUKA
Tamenaibuga is a dance from Busoga region in Uganda, which demonstrates
a sign of friendship, and Unity. Once upon a time there were two
great friends in Busoga. Their friendship was very intimate even
to sharing all the things they acquired in life. One day they went
for a drink (beer). In Busoga Kingodom, gourds are used drink beer.
When they took one, too many of this drink, they developed an argument,
which led into a quarrel and eventually a fight. The Gourd, which
they had used to take beer, got broken. The broken gourd made matters
worse and ended up separating these two great friends. The communities
realized that it was very bad for friends to quarrel as this would
break the friendship (unity). A dance was developed to unite the
people of Busoga Kindgom which is situated in the east of Kampala.
This is a royal dance from Acholi, in the northern part of Uganda.
It is an elderly dance. It is performed to entertain the King (Lwot
) in Acholi. It is both performed by males and females and it is
culturally a circular dance. The circles of the dances literally
act as a fence of a palace since bwola is a royal dance performed
in palaces. So many Acholi elderly talks and events take place in
this dance and it is performed for long hours.
This is a ceremonial dance still from Acholi region. It is performed
during ceremonies like Marriage. It is mainly a courtship dance.
On a particular , when the youth are ready for marriage, they organize
a big ceremony where all the candidates have to meet. Lots of drinks
and eats are served as a sign of friendship in the Acholi people.
Eventually the event starts and all you see is dancing. Only the
best dancers can get partners for marriage so there is a lot of
competition in dancing. A lot of skill is shown and in Acholi, if
you a poor dancer then you will die a permanent bachelor. At the
end of the dance, the best dancer takes her partner and a party
is made for them.
this is a youthful dance from Acholi region. Young girls to imitate
birds, which fly in air, usually perform it. Usually these girls
are of adolescent age. They dance to attract the boys, and this
dance is normally performed on bright days when the sun is out.
this is a ceremonial dance from Bunyoro-Toro Kingdoms. It is also
a courtship dance performed by the youth when it’s time for
them to choose partners for marriage. There was a problem in the
Kingdoms when over 10 men wanted to marry on beautiful and good-looking
girl. What happens is that a very big ceremony is organized and
all the male candidates have to come and dance. The female must
choose the best male dancer. In this culture it is believed that
the best dancers also show the best marriage life. It is also to
see who among the men is strongest, families in Africa do not want
to give their beautiful girls to weak men when there is a drought
or family, one should have a husband who will really struggle to
see that he looks for water and food. So in this dancer, one who
gets tired first looses first and that who dances till the end wins
the game. There was a problem when some girls wanted to get married
to particular men and these were the men who got tired first, pity!
The girls have no choice for this, their parents decide for them
who to marry
This is a courtship dance from Ateso region. It shares the same
characteristics with Larakaraka and from Acholi and Runyege dance.
The different is that in this dance, the music used is soft and
played on melodic instruments especially with Thumb pianos and flute.
This is a royal dance from Kigezi region among the Bakiga people.
Kigezi is one of those regions in Africa that share similar characteristics
of weather conditions with European countries. Actually it is referred
to as the Switzerland of Africa. So it is common to find very cold
weather conditions in Kigezi. During these cold conditions, Ekizino
acts as the most appropriate warm up dance for the Bakiga people
as one of the purposes for it’s creation. That’s why
the Bakiga people are very strong. Since Kigezi is a hilly area,
there is a lot of farming and the Men have to wake up so early to
go out in the fields, since it’s so cold, they have jump a
bit to get warm before starting work. They do the same after work;
in this dance you will a lot of jumping and stamping. It’s
even believed that they used to stamp the ground until they see
signs of water from the ground.
This is a contemporary dance in West Nile region in Northern Uganda
performed among the Lugbara People. It is a direct transformation
of the dance movements of Lugbara dancing to contemporary tending
towards Zaire (Congo) styles of dancing. This influence happened
because they share the boarders with Congo and communicate in language.
It is usually used in entertainment
This is a ceremonial dance from Samya-Bugwe region. The Samya population
in Uganda is one of the least ones so their culture is not really
that effective. This dance of performed during all ceremonies in
the Samya Culture.
This dance comes from the Ankole region. It is an elderly dance
for both men and women. It is occasionally performed to demonstrate
the love of the Ankole people with their cattle. These cattle have
very long horns so making the all dance aerial. The singing in this
dance is similar to the sounds of the cow. You even hear the sounds
of the milk flowing from the berry of the cow, in this dance. The
Ankole flute is in the dance and it’s the same flute used
to graze the cattle in the Ankole culture. The stamping movements
of the men in this dance are similar to the walking movements of
a cow and the hands of the ladies just demonstrate the long beautiful
horns on the cow.
This is a processional dance from West Nile, which gets its name
from Agwaras (the local African trumpets). The men play the horns
and dance while the ladies dance throughout.
This is a ceremonial/initiation dance among the Bagisu people in
Eastern Uganda. They believe any male youth to be a man, he must
be circumcised and all the ceremony is demonstrated in this dance.
Before initiation one has got to dance for 21 days and it is believed
that he will possess of the spiritual powers with no fear and give
in him self to become a man. Even when you are over 70year and have
not gone through this initiation, in the culture you will never
be referred to a “man” and will never be respect, actually
you will be cursed until the spirits force you to go for it.
TRADITIONAL FOLK SONGS AND ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS FROM UGANDA
(The songs were translated to English with the help of Martin Klabunde,
This song originates of the Kingdom of Buganda and is about love.
A man tells how beautiful, loving and caring his wife is. He tells
about the beautiful necklaces and clothes she wears, and about her
eyes, like those of a princess, he says, "Nothing is more than
Nakwagala nkulaba, nga manyi tulinkyawa.
I loved you because I knew you, thinking you would love me too.
Abantu aboluganda, ekisinga kwagalana.
The most important aspect of friendship is love.
Olabika nga atamide, tukwata kunanyinimu nenkulaga obusungu.
You look to be drunk, don't touch my lover or else I may show you
Naganza munange ansuza nkulungutana.
I fell in love with her and she gives me sleepless nights.
Bwendowoza gwenjagala bwendya kumere simala, olwomukwano mungi.
When I think of my lover while eating I don't want to stop so that
I may continue this feeling.
Bwakulaga kunsingo yona yajula ebikomo.
When she shows her neck, it is filled with necklacesses.
Bwakulaga kumanyo gona gajula akazigo.
When she shows her teeth, they are perfectly spaced.
Nkwagala nyo nze ogenda kunzisa omwoyo.
I love you so much, I give you my soul.
Abagalana ababiri okubawala olwawo.
It takes a long time to separate two lovers
is a particular kind of crude alcohol made from corn. Enguli is
often used at rituals and ceremonies attended by elders, but many
times young people begin drinking it and have many problems due
to their inability to manage its potency. This song warns people
about the negative effects of drinking upon the individual and society.
Alcohol gets people high.
Enguli mbi nyo.
Alcohol is very bad.
Alcohol makes you stumble.
Ogenda noginywa nga osanyka.
You take it when you are happy.
Nomala okunywa nga otagala.
After, you are stumbling.
Bavubuka muve kunguli..
The youth should leave alcohol.
Amazima nkolentya… (sustain 1st time)
What can I do for you …
Amazima nkolentya okungera.
What can I do for you to know the truth.
Repeat various lines of Chorus
Yakubya Sewajje embooko.
Sewajje was beaten.
Nemutobuza nga atagala.
It caused him to stagger more.
Ekubo lyebudinda lisibe.
The gate to Budinda is closed.
Ekisibya abayinda enguli.
And the reason is alcohol.
Akaaleka akamaze abayinda keeko.
The gourd that everyone drinks from is that one.
My back is paining.
Emirembe ne naku (sung on left hand variation)
Sabasajja” is the name for royal respect given to the Kabaka
(king) of Buganda. Here the people of Buganda sing and dance in
harmony, chanting praises to their king. They tell how good he is
and all the positive things he does for them and their families.
“Wangala ayi Sabasajja!” Long live our king! The somg
is about one man's greetings to the King. The King is very busy
so the man must send his greeting thru someone else, the kings servants.
He sings his greetings to the King.
Tumwagala nyo, twamulaba dda.
We love him so much, we saw him a long time ago.
Tumwagala nyo, mumundabirenga.
We love him so much, send him my greetings.
Tumwagala nyo, twesimye nyo.
We love him so much, we are very lucky.
Alina bingi byalowoza, mumundabirenga.
He has a lot to think about, send him my greetings.
Alina bingi byalowoza, twamulaba dda.
He has a lot to think about and we saw him a long time ago.
Alina akasozi ebamunanika twakalaba dda.
He has a hill in Bamunanika and we saw it too.
Kaliko emere nyinji nyo twagilaba dda.
On it there is a lot of food and we saw it too.
Jaali e'Mengo mumundabirenga.
He is there at Mengo so send him our greetings.
Anakwata mpola alina wabeera.
He will work slowly and rest since he has a place to sleep.
Anakwata mpola alina watuse.
He will go slowly in his work, so far he is doing well.
Send him my greetings.
”Lucejjera” refers to locusts that invaded Buganda.
The locusts came from the north, near the Sahara Desert. The invasion
lasted only hours, but devastated the foliage. Lucejjera was written
immediately after the invasion and serves to communicate to the
spirits to rid Buganda of the locusts forever.
Chorus sung after every 2,3 or 4 lines:
Lucejjera nga osambye empale… mudebeedo.
Lucejjera, you have such big trousers.
Lucejjera nga oyambadde… mudebeedo.
Lucejjera, you are smart.
Zino nzige buzige si lucejjera.
These are more than locusts.
Ziizo zimukabenge zimenye ebigo.
They have broken into all the nursery beds.
Zimubabenge ziwonye okufa.
They have survived death.
Tunaziyigirawa zi lucejjera?
From where shall we hunt the locusts?
Tunazinonyezewa zi lucejjera?
Where shall we find the locusts?
Abatabazi abazira abawona okufa…
The great warriors who survived death…
Bebatabaani abamenya ebigo.
Are the ones who destroyed the nursery beds.
Mbuno basula ekoolo basula egoli.
They (the warriors) lived in Koolo and Goli.
Mbuno mulime enguudo.
They (the warriors) told us to make many roads.
Mbuno mulime emwanyi.
They (the warriors) told us to grow a lot of coffee.
Kikwabanga and Sematimba were two brothers who were very rich as
well as great warriors. They had a reputation for being very greedy
and selfish. They never helped their fellow people and kept everything
they owned for themselves. At one time they had to go and fight
in a civil war. Before leaving they kept cattle, goats and chickens
in stock so that they would have food when they returned from winning
the war. Unfortunately, they were killed and did not return. This
story teaches us to give to others, especially at times when we
will not need what we have. The song was originally sung by man
in a poor community.
Chorus “Kikwabanga” sung after every line.
Obwana bwenkoko bukulira musanja katonda nabukuuma. X2
Chicks grow up in their nests whereby God just keeps them alive.
(They could die anytime.)
Abasiba embuzi musibira bwere aa… Sematimba. X2
You, who tie your goats, do it for no reason.
(It is useless, for they can be stolen or die at anytime.)
Alija emisana alisanga mudiiro nga nze lungolodde. X2
At some point in time you will find me lying in my room, dead.
(This man is expecting nothing more than death. It is custom to
lie the corps in his living room before burial.)
Owedabelirwa alinsanga mulusuku nze nga bamaze dda.
If you are late you will find me buried in my banana plantation.
Nze lwendiva kuno ndigenda wamama eyo jenazaalwa. X2
When I leave here I will go to my mothers home, where I was born.
(What is most important is seeing his living relatives and close
Lwendiva kuno ndigenda wa Kaggo, oyo bwezatusanga. X2
Or I will go to Kaggo, my great friend, who I have a history with.
Ojidde onkyawe ndibeera bwomu nze aa… Sematimba. X2
If you hate me I will stay alone -- like Sematimba.
(He is asking his friend to always stay with him, as friends.)
Abantu bakuno mutambuza naku aa… Sematimba. X2
The people here walk with poverty -- like Sematimba.
(Refering to the fact that now Sematimba is poor in death.)
Historically, Baganda prices have a reputation for staying in the
palace and not being seen very often by the people. However, there
was a prince named “Mawanda”. Mawanda is known as the
kindest prince in the history of Buganda culture. He was often seen
among the people of Buganda and visited them regularly. Mawanda
had a reputation for loving children and could often be found among
them. Because of his kindness he became the most popular prince
in the history of Buganda. After his death, the entire kingdom mourned.
Everyone in the kingdom said, “We shal never have a friend
like you.”, “We shall still love you, forever.”
Mawanda Segwanga Mawanda Segwanga
Njagala nkwagale nkasinze abalala.
I would like to love you beyond others.
Njagala nkwagale ne mwanyoko andabe.
I want to love you and I want your sisters to know.
Njagala nkwagale nkusinze omwenge omunywele mu ndeku.
I want to love you more than the alcohol drunk from a calabash.
Teriba mukulu alisinga gwe.
There will be no leader better than you.
Mawanda Segwanga ojira obaawo.
Long live Mawanda Segwanga.
Ssebo omulangira ojira obaawo.
Long live the Prince.
You had much love.
You were very kind.
I will always love you.
I will always send you greetings.
STORY TELLING AND POETRY
Ndagire is making a collection of Stories, Legends and Lullabies
that will be available soon, thank you for your patience