Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi Tombs is a historical site in Uganda and a burial ground located in Kampala, where over four Kabakas were buried and the royal family members of Buganda lay.

Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi Tombs is a spiritual political site for the Ganda people, a very important traditional architecture. Kasubi Tombs is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The major building of Kasubi tombs was destroyed by fire in March 2010 and the cause of the fire outbreak is still under investigation. The tombs since then are recorded under the list of the World Heritage sites in Danger.

Buganda Kingdom vowed to rebuild the tombs of their royal families, the reconstruction of the tombs started in 2014 and it was funded by the government of Japan.

Kasubi Tombs is a world Heritage that is built on the land of 27 hectares on the Kasubi hill in the city of Kampala which is approximately 6 kilometers from the northwest part of the city center. The close land near the site is open agricultural land that is farmed using traditional farming methods. One part of the Kasubi tombs consists of a royal palace which was built in 1882 by Muteesa 1, the 35th Kabaka of Buganda, in order to replace a palace which was built by his father Ssuuna II in early 18th.

The palace which was built by Suuna, and later on turned into a royal burial ground in 1884. The site is one of the 31 royal tombs across the Buganda Kingdom ever since when the Kingdom was founded in the 13th century.

As a traditional of Buganda, the body of the King was buried in one palace, and there was a separate shrine for the jawbones of the King, and this was believed that the bones contained his soul.

The tombs contain four of Kabaka’s remains including

  • Muteesa of 1835-1884
  • Mwanga 11 1867-1903 who died in exile in the Seychelles Island 
  • Daudi Chwa 11 1896-1939
  • Sir Edward Muteesa 11 1924-1969  who died in exile in London.

The descendants of the four Kabaka’s are not buried on the same site. In 1882 there was a ceremonial site which was established on Kasubi hill, as well as the Ssekabaka’s tombs. The borders of the site are marred with barkcloth trees and this has protected it from the rise of the residential development.

The ceremonial area is located northwest of the Kasubi tombs, at a gatehouse called Bujjabukula which leads to a small courtyard and the drum house called Ndoga Obukaba. This house keeps the royal drums of the Buganda Kingdom. The courtyard is called Olugya which is located on the hilltop which is surrounded by the reed fence.

Kasubi tombs were constructed from wooden poles, reeds, wattle and daub with thick thatched dome, with straws that rest on 53 rings of palms. The building materials were used in renovation in 1938 by Kabaka Mutesa 11 of Buganda such as the bricks, and steel structures.

Kasubi Tombs are housed in the forest called Kibira which is enclosed in the barkcloth. The floor is covered by lemongrass and palm mats. There are other houses built around including the wives’ houses. These are the widows’ houses, who care for the family graves.

Inside Kasubi Tombs
Inside Kasubi Tombs

The houses are traditionally rebuilt with metals and bricks, and this is also home to the royal family members, including the Nalinya who is a spiritual guardian, Lubuga and the administrative assistant called the Katikiro. The tombs are decorated with barkcloth by the Ngo clan and the grass thatched houses and the techniques by the Ngeye clan.

Kasubi Tombs has always been maintained and managed by the Buganda Kingdom, which is the largest Kingdom of Uganda, however, it was abolished by Milton Obote who was the prime minister of Buganda in the year of 1966 however it was reinstated by the President Museveni of Uganda in 1993.

Kasubi tombs can be visited during a Kampala City tour at any time of the day or added to any tour package as you visit Uganda. During your Uganda Tour in Kampala, you can stay at nice Hotels in Kampala which are very spacious and give the feel of a Great City. Accommodation in Uganda is very conducive and you can choose for self according to your budget since most are categorized in terms of Budget, mid-range, and luxury lodges and hotels.

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