Being a Westerner; A Munyankole from Ankole

I have been so excited about this blog to an extent that I have had the block for 2 weeks straight. I have a lot to share about Uganda but I wasn't sure where to start! It finally dawns on me in the middle of the night that the best place to start is within. Here goes...

I was born in Bushenyi town, the most beautiful district in Uganda (seeing is believing) to a middle income couple. I came in second and a few year later we moved to Mbarara town in search for better opportunities. Mbarara town was significantly bigger than Bushenyi town and it was rated the second busiest town in Uganda after Kampala city. So I grew up in Mbarara and the family grew bigger.

Both Bushenyi and Mbarara are within the Ankole Kingdom and the people who originate from this area are called Banyankole. This makes me a Munyankole from Ankole and our native language is Runyakole.

What is the Ankole culture like?

Ankole kingdom was divided into two stratified castes; the Bahima who were the ruling power and also pastorals and the Bairu who were the peasants/agriculturalists. A typical Muhima home had to have dozens of cows, feed on milk and process ghee while a typical Mwiru home had to have a garden commonly growing Matooke, sweet potatoes and beans and occasionally a beehive. This is why Ankole Kingdom is also known as the land of milk and honey.

This might be the "Ankole pride" speaking but I couldn't have chosen a better culture for myself if I tried. If you have been to Uganda, you must have heard about the Ankole pride everyone hates so much.

The Ankole Kingdom also referred to as "Nkore" is one of the oldest dynasties in Uganda said to have been created in the 15th Century.

The districts in Ankole kingdom are predominantly green because the land is very fertile. Most of the food consumed is organic because most people have their own farms and gardening is a sort of hobby. Some of the biggest food farms in Uganda are located here exporting food mainly to Kampala city where it is sold at almost five times the original price.

Ankole girls are popular all over East Africa and beyond for being very beautiful girls with hour glass bodies and it is a common dream among men to marry Ankole "western" girls.

Ankole traditional dance group

Ankole's popular tourist destination

Lake Mburo National park, 30km away from Mbarara town is the most popular tourist destination for wildlife and nature lovers. It is popular for Zebras, warthog, hippopotamuses and the African leopard which is spotted during a night game drive. There are a few lodges of different budgets within this park. Worth checking out are Eagle's Nest Lodge for a low budget option, Rwakobo Rock Lodge for a medium budget and Mihingo Lodge for a high budget option.

A trip to Lake Mburo National park is not complete without a spin off at Igongo cultural center for Ankole local cuisine buffet. To complement your meal, the restaurant provides free entertainment of Ankole music and cultural dances. Be sure to try the coffee that is locally grown, dried and roasted within Ankole farms served at the restaurant. The cultural center also has a museum show casing, preserving and story telling some of Ankole's history, culture and traditions.

African leopard spotted in Mburo National park during a night game drive

Have you had any experiences with Ankole culture worth sharing? Make sure to do so in the comment section. I would also like to know what makes you proud or ashamed to be a Munyankole.

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