Is Kasubi Tombs on the UN heritage sites’ list?
The Kasubi Tombs is the traditional burial place for the kings of Buganda, a tribal group in Uganda. Located on Kasubi hill in Kampala which is the capital of Uganda. Kasubi was formerly known as Nabulagala.Residing on over 30 hectares of space, the kasubi tombs hosts a number of traditional and agricultural activities mainly. In 2001, the Kasubi tombs were listed as a UN heritage site. The core of the hilltop of Kasubi was the palace of the Kabakas of Buganda formerly that was built in 1882 and it was by then build as the palace of Kabaka Mutesa I which was later changed to royal burial grounds for the Kings of Buganda in 1884.A house called Muzibu Azaala Mpanga within here holds the tombs for four royals. This is the master piece and the main building of this site which was constructed in a round circular dome shape. It has been in existence since the 13th Century. It is mainly made out of wood, thatch, wattle, daub and reed. The site holds so much of values of beliefs, continuity, spirituality and identity all of which are not tangible. The powerful Buganda kingdom is therefore acknowledged for having put up one of the exceptional and surviving architectural examples since the 13th Century. Not only is the site a cultural place for the Baganda in Uganda, it is a famous site that brings over 50,000 tourists per year hence highly contributing to the country’s foreign earnings.
What are the traditional and cultural values attached to Kasubi Tombs?
The Kasubi tombs is mainly divided into 3 main areas; that is to say, the main are having the tombs in the western part of the site, the area with buildings and grave yards which is behind the tombs, and in the east, a vast area that is mainly used for agriculture.
The Kasubi tombs is the site where traditional and cultural practices have been preserved and therefore take on the most active role for religious practices especially for the royal family in the kingdom with rituals being performed here on a regular basis. These are often related to the Buganda culture. It is believed that communication and links here are maintained with the spiritual world.
The Kasubi tombs site is the most known spiritual centre for the Baganda and most religious place in the kingdom. To the site lots of historical, traditional, and spiritual values are attached. The continuity of the living tradition and African culture is well depicted and represented in the structure and traditional practices of the site.
Since 2010, the boundaries of the site have been well maintained and preserved to keep them from any persons who may want to encroach on the land of the tombs. This has also greatly helped to preserve and respect the kingdom’s cultures, norms and values. All kingdom religious, ceremonial and spiritual functions are held here.
How do I get to Kasubi Tombs?
Located in the capital of Uganda Kampala, Kasubi is about 5 kilometers away from here.It will take you about 15 minutes from Kampala. This is along Kampala-Hoima road. You move past Makerere University then to Nakulabye as you come from Kampala city center. From the roundabout in Nakulabye, you take your right to Hoima road. This will take you driving for about 1 kilometer where you will move to your left moving up to the Kasubi hill. You will then turn left taking the masiro road from the top of the hill,and there you will be to the entrance of the Kasubi tombs which has a land mark of a thatched hut.
What tragedy befell the Kasubi Tombs?
The major setback for the prominent cultural site in Kasubi was experienced in March 2010 when the site was set ablaze. The cause of the fire remained anonymous until today. This destroyed the main building in which the tombs lie. This happened eight years after the site had been inscribed on the world heritage list. The King Ronald Mutebi II announced a week of mourning in the Buganda kingdom after this fateful event.
There is need for craftsmanship to re create the architectural structure of the building even when the burial system was still preserved. Another key attribute that was destroyed is the extensive documentation of the site which requires authentic renewal.