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The kindom is located in the South Western Uganda, East of Lake Edward. It was ruled by a monarch known as The Mugabe or Omugabe of Ankole. The kingdom was formally abolished in 1967 by the government of President Apollo Militon Obote, and is still not officially restored. The people of Ankole are called Banyankole (Singular: Munyankole) in Runyankole language, a Bantu language. The Banyankore are a Bantu group. They inhabit the present districts of Mbarara, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kiruhura, Ibanda and Isingiro in western Uganda. People from the present counties of Rujumbura and Rubabo in Rukungiri District share the same culture. From time immemorial, Ankole has been also praised as Kaaro- Karungi (The beautiful hamlet) (The word Ankole was introduced by British colonial administrators to describe the new kingdom which had lost Mahogora, Kabura, Buraga, Kibumbiro & Kitagwenda and gained Igara, Buhweju, Bunyaruguru and some parts of Mpororo Origins Banyankole are Bantu speakers. Legends hold that the first king of Ankole was Ruhanga (the creator), who is believed to have come from heaven to rule the earth. Ruhanga is believed to have come with his three sons Kairu, Kakama and Kahima. There is a story about how Ruhanga gave a test to determine which of his sons would become the heir. The test is said to have been that of keeping milk –filled pots on their laps through out the night. At the end of it all, the youngest son, Kakama, is said to have passed the test followed by Kahima and last came the eldest son, Kairu. Judging from the performance in the test, Ruhanga is said to have decreed that Kairu and Kahima would=d serve their brother Kakama. Thereafter he went back to heaven, leaving Kakama or Ruhanga, as he was also called, to rule the land. This legend portrays social stratification in Ankole society. It was an ideological construct to explain the social relations of the Banyankole and other Bantu in the great Lakes region Social stratification. The Banyankole society stratified into Bahima (pastoralists) and the Bairu (agriculturalists). A caste-like system of the Bahima over the Bairu existed. The society was a dual pyramid with pastoral and agricultural legs. Within the two groups or castes ( I call them castes not classes because within the Bahima and Bairu, there were those who had some thing in common), the clans cut across both the Bairu and the Bahima.The two groups recognized a common ancestry. There was a general belief that what made a mwiru (singular Bairu) what he is was a hoe and what made a Muhima (singular Bahima) what he is was a cattle. This kind of belief was not very accurate because merely acquiring cows would not immediately transform one from a Mwiru into a Muhima nor would the loss of cows transform a Muhima into a Mwiru. A Muhima who owned few cattle would be called a Murasi. A Mwiru who owned cattle was called a Mwambari. The two groups lived together and they depended on each other. The Bairu exchanged cattle products with Bahima and the Bahima equally received agricultural goods fro the Bairu. This was because the Bairu needed milk, meat, hides and other cattle products form the Bahima, while the Bahima would also need agricultural products from the Bairu, equally local beer. Political set-up
kabembura. The expedition brought a lot of plunder among which were cattle and Irebe’s sacred circlet. there would be an elaborate ceremony to install the new King. Below him there was a prime minister known as Enganzi. Thereafter. A fire was always kept burning for Bagyendanwa and this fire could only be extinguished in the event of the death of the King. which was thereafter used by the Bagabe of Nkore in making rain. some people of the Baingo clan would also be killed in order to accompany the King in the afterworld. Rutare. son of Njunaki. there occurred another war between the Banyankole and the Nkondami (soldiers) of Kabaundami of Buhweju. To communicate the message that the King had died. The invasion was by the Banyarawanda under the King Kigyeri III Ndabarasa. This drum was only beaten at the installation of a new King. The abode of Ruhanga was said to be in heaven. Below them. the King of Bwera. The position of the king was hereditary.The Banyankole had a centralized system of government. an expedition was sent against Irebe. Ruhanga was believed to be the maker and giver of . The Royal Regalia The royal regalia of Ankole consisted of a spear and drums. Some of the servants in the royal court would also commit suicide. the kingdom of Nkore was a war with the neighboring states and sometimes she sent raiding expeditions to Karagwe and Buhweju. The King had to belong to the Bahinda royal clan who claimed descendant from Ruhanga. During the reign of Ntare IV. rather one would say that Omugabe ataahize. Nyakashija. The army was divided into battalions known as emitwe (singular omutwe). During the reign of King Machwa after the death of Ntare IV. The corpse of the king was also known as omuguta to distinguish it from that of an ordinary person which was known as omurambo. Wars The Kingdom had a standing army. At the top of the political ladder. The main instrument of power was the royal drum called Bagyendanwa. there were chiefs who took charge of local affairs at the parish and sub-parish levels. the last Muchwezi ruler. Often. It is said that in the earlier times.Whenever a King died. Notable among the Banyoro invasions of Nkore were those of Omukama Olimi I during the reign of Ntare I Nyabugaro and that of Omukama I Walimi in the 17th century during the reign of Ntare IV Kitabanyoro. kooma and Njeru ya Buremba which was obtained from the kingdom of Buzimba Religion The Banyankole’s idea of Supreme Being was Ruhanga (creator). The Kingdom of Bunyoro sometimes raided Nkore and took away a lot of cattle. It had its special hut and it was considered taboo to shut the hut. Each battalion was under a province known as Mukuru w’ ekyanga some times referred to as Omukungu. one would not say the t Omugabe afire which is the appropriate Runyankole term. some of his wives would commit suicide or they would be forced to do so. just above the clouds. Then there were provincial chiefs known as Abakuru b’ebyanga. there were often succession disputes to determine who would succeed to the throne. The drum had its own cows and some other attendant drums namely. there was a king called omugabe. This drum was believed to have been made by Wamala. eigura. Another invasion of Nkore took place during the reign of Kahaya I Nyamwanga. It was specially buried by the Bayangwe clan styling themselves for the occasion as the Abahitsi. Whenever a king died.
the idea of Ruhanga was expressed in the cult of Emandwa. a gourd full of beer and some small bits of meat were put in the shrine to the Mandwa.health. however. Each family had a shrine where the family gods were supposed to dwell. It was. death or even bareness in the land and among the people. At a lower level. drought.all things. believed that the evil persons could use black magic to interfere with the good wishes of Ruhanga and cause ill. These were gods particularly to different families and clans and they were easily approachable in the event of need. the family members would perform rituals called okubandwa as a way of supplicating the gods to avert sickness or misfortune . Whenever beer was brewed or a goat slaughtered. In the event of sickness or misfortune.