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It very 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.


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 (East Africa).
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 permanently.

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, USA)

Nakwagala Nkulaba
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 love".

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 my temper.
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.

Enguli ekwato.
Alcohol gets people high.
Enguli mbi nyo.
Alcohol is very bad.
Enguli Etwanya.
Alcohol disturbs.
Enguli Etaganya.
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.
Omungongo guluma
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 friends.)
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.)

Mawanda Segwanga
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.
Walina okwagala.
You had much love.
Walina ekisa.
You were very kind.
I will always love you.
I will always send you greetings.

Ndagire is making a collection of Stories, Legends and Lullabies that will be available soon, thank you for your patience

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