Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kasubi Official Royal Burial Site

Kasubi 1
Kasubi bordered by Kawaala towards the north, Makerere to the east, Naakulabye to the southeast, with Lusaze towards its southwest area Lubya to the west and Namungoona towards the northwest makes the location of approximately 5,5 km by road and northwest of Kampala’s central business district. Earlier to 1856, Kasubi Hill was called Nabulagala and thereafter, Kabaka Muteesa I Mukaabya faced misfortune at Banda Hill and built his first palace there.

He then relocated to Nabulagala naming the hill Kasubi after the ancestral village of his mother and located in Kyaggwe County which presently is known as Mukono District. Presently the Buganda traditionalists consider the place interchangeable as Kasubi or Nabulagala or Kasubi-Nabulagala. After the death of Kabaka Muteesa I, he was buried at Kasubi and was the first Kabaka to be buried there and ever since Kasubi became the official royal burial site of the Buganda monarchy.

The Kasubi Royal Tombs have now been recognised as a World Heritage Site which is of very high significance in the Buganda culture. The Tombs of Buganda Kings covers a site of 26.8 hectares of Kasubi hillside within the Kampala city and is a major spiritual centre for the Baganda which has been reservedfor traditional as well as cultural practices.

Active Religious Site 

The Kasubi Tombs seems to be the most active religious site in the kingdom for all rituals which are performed frequently and this place has been used for burial grounds for the earlier four kings – Kabakas, qualified as a religious centre for the royal family. This is the place where important rituals related to Buganda culture is practiced by the Kabaka and his representatives.

Moreover, the place also represents a site where communication links is maintained with the spiritual world. The existence of best example of Baganda palace or burial site is seen from the border of the site which has been marked with the traditional bark cloth trees, which lead through the gatehouse, through the main courtyard, culminating in the large thatched building which houses the tombs of the four kings. On the hilltop one will find the main tomb building which has been referred locally as the `Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga’ that represents a masterpiece of this ensemble which existed since the 13th century.

Kasubi 3
Main Tomb Building – Example of Architectural Achievements

The former palace of the Kabakas of Baganda which was built in 1882 is the latest building which was converted into the royal burial ground in 1884 and four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga. The main tomb building, a circular and surmounted by a dome is the main example of architectural achievement which was raised utilising vegetal materials comprising of wooden poles, reeds, spear grass and wattle and its unusual scale together with outstanding details are a proof to the creative genius of the Baganda as masterpiece of form and craftsmanship.

Besides, it is an exceptional surviving example of an architectural piece which had been developed by the Buganda Kingdom from the 13th century. The natural elements of the tomb site are charged with historical traditional and spiritual values which are a major spiritual centre and the most active religious place in the kingdom for the Baganda. The site’s main significance is in its values of beliefs, continuity, spirituality as well as the identity of the Baganda people, serving as an important historical as well as cultural symbol for Uganda and East Africa.

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