Basoga

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Busoga is a cultural institution that promotes popular participation ‎and unity among the people of Busoga, through cultural and developmental programs ‎for the improved livelihood of the people of Busoga. It strives for a united people of ‎Busoga, who enjoy economic, social and cultural prosperity. It also continues to ‎enhance, revamp and pave the way for an efficient institutional and management ‎system for the Kyabazinga kingship.

Busoga, literally translated to Land of the Soga, is the kingdom of the 11 ‎‎principalities of the Basoga/Soga (singular Musoga) people. The term Busoga also loosely ‎refers to the area that is generally indigenous to the Basoga. Busoga Kingdom is composed of seven ‎politically organised districts: Kamuli, Iganga, Bugiri, ‎‎Mayuge, Jinja, and the newly created districts of Kaliro and Busiki. The Busoga area is bounded on the ‎north by the swampy Lake Kyoga, on the west ‎by the Victoria Nile, on the south by Lake Victoria, and on the east by the ‎‎Mpologoma River, Busoga also includes some islands in ‎‎Lake Victoria, such as Buvuma Island.‎

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History of Busoga Kingdom
‎Written history begins for Busoga in the year 1862. On 28 July 1862, John Hanning Speke, an explorer for the Royal Geographical Society, arrived at Ripon Falls, near the site of the modern town of Jinja, where the Victoria Nile spills out of Lake Victoria and begins its descent to Egypt. Since Speke’s ‎route inland from the East African coast had taken him around the southern end of ‎the lake Victoria, he approached Busoga from the west through Buganda. Having ‎reached his goal – the source of the Nile, he turned northward and followed the ‎river downstream without further exploring Busoga. He records, however, being told ‎that “Usoga” (the Swahili form of the name “Busoga”) was an “island”, ‎which indicates that the term meant to surrounding peoples essentially what it means today. The present day Busoga Kingdom was, and still is, bounded on the north ‎by the swampy Lake Kyoga, on the west by the Victoria Nile, on the south by Lake Victoria, and on the east by the Mpologoma River.

‎‎In the 19th century, one of the principal routes along which Europeans travelled from ‎the coast to Buganda passed through the southern part of Busoga. From John Speke and James Grant, Sir Gerald Portal, F.D Lugard, J.R. Macdonald, and Bishop Tucket all noted that Busoga was plentifully supplied ‎with food and was densely settled as a result. However, between 1898–99 and 1900-‎‎01, the first indications of sleeping sickness were reported.‎

In 1906, orders were issued to evacuate the region. Despite the attempts to clear the ‎area, the epidemic continued in force until 1910. As a result, most of the densely ‎populated parts of Busoga, the home land of over 200,000 persons in the 19th ‎Century, was totally cleared of the population in the ten years. Lubas palace at ‎Bukaleba, also the coveted European fruit mission, collapsed and relocated to ‎other parts of Busoga. Southern Busoga constituted of about one third of the land ‎area of Busoga, and, in 1910, southern Busoga was vacant. In the 1920s and 1930s, ‎some of the evacuees who survived the epidemic began to return to their original ‎land. However, in 1940 a new outbreak of sleeping sickness resurfaced in the ‎area, and it was only in 1956 that resettlement, promoted by the government began ‎again, but things were not going to be the same again. Few Basoga returned to ‎their traditional lands.‎

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History of Busoga Kingdom
‎Written history begins for Busoga in the year 1862. On 28 July 1862, John Hanning Speke, an explorer for the Royal Geographical Society, arrived at Ripon Falls, near the site of the modern town of Jinja, where the Victoria Nile spills out of Lake Victoria and begins its descent to Egypt. Since Speke’s ‎route inland from the East African coast had taken him around the southern end of ‎the lake Victoria, he approached Busoga from the west through Buganda. Having ‎reached his goal – the source of the Nile, he turned northward and followed the ‎river downstream without further exploring Busoga. He records, however, being told ‎that “Usoga” (the Swahili form of the name “Busoga”) was an “island”, ‎which indicates that the term meant to surrounding peoples essentially what it means today. The present day Busoga Kingdom was, and still is, bounded on the north ‎by the swampy Lake Kyoga, on the west by the Victoria Nile, on the south by Lake Victoria, and on the east by the Mpologoma River.

‎‎In the 19th century, one of the principal routes along which Europeans travelled from ‎the coast to Buganda passed through the southern part of Busoga. From John Speke and James Grant, Sir Gerald Portal, F.D Lugard, J.R. Macdonald, and Bishop Tucket all noted that Busoga was plentifully supplied ‎with food and was densely settled as a result. However, between 1898–99 and 1900-‎‎01, the first indications of sleeping sickness were reported.‎

In 1906, orders were issued to evacuate the region. Despite the attempts to clear the ‎area, the epidemic continued in force until 1910. As a result, most of the densely ‎populated parts of Busoga, the home land of over 200,000 persons in the 19th ‎Century, was totally cleared of the population in the ten years. Lubas palace at ‎Bukaleba, also the coveted European fruit mission, collapsed and relocated to ‎other parts of Busoga. Southern Busoga constituted of about one third of the land ‎area of Busoga, and, in 1910, southern Busoga was vacant. In the 1920s and 1930s, ‎some of the evacuees who survived the epidemic began to return to their original ‎land. However, in 1940 a new outbreak of sleeping sickness resurfaced in the ‎area, and it was only in 1956 that resettlement, promoted by the government began ‎again, but things were not going to be the same again. Few Basoga returned to ‎their traditional lands.‎

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Attractions and historical sites

  • Kagulu Hill
    The was the first settlement area for Basoga of Bunyoro origin led by Prince Mukama. The hill, although not yet familiar to many people outside Busoga, Kagulu hill has ‎a breathtaking scenery that gives a clear view of almost the entire Busoga. Kagulu ‎hill is unique in the attractions it offers. It is the only hill in Uganda that has been ‎adapted for tourist climbing, with constructed steps to make it easy for visitors to ‎access the top.‎
  • ‎Budhumbula shrine/palace
    The site ‎comprises a shrine and the residence of the former Kyabazinga of Busoga, Sir William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope, who died in 1976. The shrine, covered ‎by beautiful marbles consist of graves of other various members of the royal family, ‎such his father and mother, Yosia Nadiope and Nasikombi respectively.‎
  • The source of the Nile
    The source of the Nile, the second longest river in the world, marked by the ‎discovery of one of the first European explorers, John Speke, is an internationally ‎unique attraction. The tranquility and splendour of both Lake Victoria and River Nile embody great memories of any visitor.‎
  • ‎Bujjagali Falls
    This among others, such as the Bujagali ancestral site for the Basoga ancestral ‎spirits at Bujagali falls, includes the numerous rapids along the Nile, virgin nature ‎across the region, and the culture of the people and the great Lake Victoria by no ‎doubt gives Busoga Kingdom its distinct place in tourism.‎
  • Lake Victoria
    Southern Busoga is lined with the waters of Lake Victoria. The coastline starts ‎from Jinja, Uganda and goes eastwards, to the border with Kenya.‎