What are Kasubi tombs and what to expect on a visit to Kasubi Tombs
– Kasubi Tombs site in Uganda – the Buganda Kingdom is a masterpiece of human creativity both in its conception and its execution. The Kasubi Tombs site bears eloquent witness to the living cultural traditions of the Baganda thus a great pleasure to this largest of the medieval kingdoms in present-day Uganda, which became an important and powerful state during the 19th century.
The Buganda Kingdom was established in the late 14th century along the shore of Lake Victoria, it evolved around its founding Kabaka (king) Kintu, who came to the region from northeast Africa. Kintu, who arrived as the leader of multiple clans, conquered the area, defeating the last indigenous ruler, Bemba Musota, to establish his new state. Kintu, however, ordered the new clans to intermarry with the indigenous people creating the Buganda ethnic group.
The spatial organization of the Kasubi Tombs site represents the best extant example of a Baganda palace/architectural ensemble. Built-in the finest traditions of Ganda architecture and palace design, it reflects technical achievements developed over many centuries. A safari here is a must for any traveler following the reveal by the BBC WATCHDOG news earlier October 2021 as Africa’s No. 1 (Number one) iconic architectural building wow!!
The built and natural elements of the Kasubi Tombs site are charged with historical, traditional, and spiritual values. It is a major spiritual center for the Baganda and is the most active religious place in the kingdom.
The boundary of the land on which the tombs are located is clearly marked with the traditional bark cloth tree and coincides with the 1882 traditional boundary. The live markers have been useful in keeping away land encroachers for housing construction and other developments, thus maintaining the original land size. The architectural palace design that comprises the placement of the buildings, and tombs/ graveyards of members of the royal family around the Muzibu-Azaala- Mpanga reflecting the traditional palace structure is still being maintained in its original ensemble.
The authenticity of the Tombs of the Kings of Buganda at Kasubi is reflected in the continuity of the traditional and cultural practices that are associated with the site. The original burial system of the Kabakas of Buganda is still being maintained.
The placement of Muzibu-Azaala- Mpanga in the middle of other buildings around the large central courtyard (Olugya), with a forecourt containing the drum house and entry gatehouse, is a typical ensemble of the Buganda Kingdom palace. The practice of using grass thatched roof resting on structural rings of palm tree fronds are still being maintained as well as the internal elements and finishing materials such as the long wooden poles wrapped in bark cloth decoration. Although the authenticity of the site has been weakened by the loss to the fire of the main tomb structure, the building’s traditional architectural craftsmanship and the required skills are still available to allow it to be recreated. This factor, coupled with the extensive documentation of the building, will allow an authentic renewal of this key attribute.