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How introduction and First Visit Ceremonies in Buganda Have Lost Dignity :: Uganda Radionetwork
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How introduction and First Visit Ceremonies in Buganda Have Lost Dignity

01 Jun 2022 14:25

Audio 6

 

Introduction and first visit ceremonies in Buganda have been devalued and turned into bashes of sorts. They have over time become mere concerts of uncontrolled merrymaking that has no room in the culture of Buganda. These functions since time immemorial have held a special sacred place in the institution of marriage in Buganda and held in adherence to customs, values and the strictness that is fading away into oblivion.

These are some of the ways the introduction and first visit functions are being desecrated today.

  These functions have been degraded by acts of indecent dances, these dances by the bride and her entourage going down low, twerking, dancing vigorously, unceremoniously to the delight of a few, and the indignation of most. Some aunties to the bride too are not afraid of joining in these uncouth dances bending down low.

  The grooms too are not shy to dance at the homes of their in-laws, a sign of disrespect as custom demands a groom to be calm, reserved and careful at the home of the parents-in-law. 

 

Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga says uncontrolled merry-making has no room in the culture of Buganda.

//Cue in: “tulaba ng’okwanjula…//

         Cue out…asituke atuul.”//

    The Katikkiro adds that wanton drama especially by the messengers known as Katumwa who spearhead the dancing makes the situation appalling. To this, he adds the act of grooms changing clothes at the father-in-law's home.

//Cue in: “ba Katumwa…//

 

Cue out…Ku buko.”//

Kigudde Wilson William, a Master of ceremonies adds that many people want to use these functions to amuse their guests at the cost of the intrinsic cultural values the function is supposed to hold. These end up doing all kinds of drama and even using coarse vulgar language to impress guests.  He cites an example of a video in the circulation of men at a kwanjula clad in gomesis to entertain the guests.

//Cue in: “n’abantu abamu…//

Cue out…bye tukoperedde.”//

He says this arises through the tendency to copy from other cultures like that of Nigeria in which people throw money notes at their brides as a key factor leading these functions to stray from their original course.

Another denigration he cites is the MCs who steal the gifts supposed to be given out at the function and thus the end result is empty envelopes being given to the in-laws, causing shame. 

//Cue in: “bannaffe abamu… //

 

Cue out…ebirabo bye.”//

Ronald Ssekiti Kitooke also an MC says that the people who hire the MCs disrespect them and do not heed their guidance. He says materialism by parents who ask for exorbitant gifts like cars is also a factor ruining traditional marriage.

This leads many people to shun marrying through proper channels and others to hire gifts to bring at the introduction such as cars for the fanfare which are picked the next day after the feasting is done.  

 

 //Cue in: “be tukolera emikolo…//

Cue out…kugigula.”//

He says the functions are also clogged with very many activities such as presentations by artistes, bringing many groups out to greet the guests, and a lot of drama which results in the functions ending late at night.

In the culture of Buganda, the kukyala is a function in which a man intending to marry a girl pays a visit to her paternal aunt to inform her of his intentions to marry the girl. The introduction - kwanjula - is when the man takes the bride price to the girl's father escorted by siblings and friends with a spokesperson. This is the traditional wedding of Buganda.  

Traditionally in Buganda, the gifts required for one to be introduced to the bride's family include Omutwalo (a gift set by the father of the bride), a cock given to the brother in law, tunics, and gomesis for the parents, and a gourd of wine. The rest are taken by the man as appreciation to the bride's parents.

    Another factor is the competition to take very many gifts to the parents. In this, the groom takes many unnecessary things to the in-laws that defy what is needed.    

These factors have sparked the ire of the Buganda kingdom to start to regulate the working and activities of the masters of ceremonies who preside over these functions so as to save them from losing value. 

  

    Because of this, the Buganda kingdom issued permits to over 600 masters of ceremonies who officiate Buganda’s traditional functions the introductions, and the first visit known as okukyala.   These masters of ceremonies have been trained in the proper way of handling and directing these ceremonies following the culture of Buganda and awarded certificates from the Buganda Royal Institute.   

 

This arose after a resolution passed by the Buganda Parliament the Lukiiko to have these masters of ceremonies regulated so that they perform their duties rightfully in an orderly way set by the kingdom. These masters of ceremonies were therefore given two books by the kingdom written by the clan heads stipulating how these functions are to be handled, the dos and don’ts. These were also been issued identity cards by the Buganda kingdom for easy identity.  

  The regulations by Mengo are to be enforced through Majestic Brands which issues Buganda certificates for the introduction whereby Masters of ceremonies with no work permit from Buganda will not be allowed to access Buganda certificates at the kingdom headquarters and distribution shops.

The MCs have formed an umbrella leadership directly under the kingdom's Ministry of culture so as to be better regulated. The leaders of the MCs have been sworn in by Buganda to abide by the culture, bound by the law. 

   Nasser Magezi who is also a Master of ceremonies says that aside from issuing permits the best thing to do is to continually convene sessions for masters of ceremonies to educate them on the proper things to do. This is because licensing leaves out those who work as MCs at these functions as a passion and not as a business. 

 //Cue in: “Abantu bano abawa…//

Cue out…kugigula,”// 

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