A CRYING SHAME!
Last weekend I decided to hit the road SafeBoda style to check out the Kasubi tombs .I’ve always wanted to visit this place onaccount of how much I enjoy the always epic and entertaining Buganda culture.
The Kasubi tombs is the burial site for four of Buganda’s Kabakas (Kings) and other members of the royal family. Thesekings include;
Muteesa I (1835-1884), Mwanga II (1867-1903), Daudi Chwa (1896-1939) and Sir Edward Muteesa I (1924-1969).Descendants of these kings are buried elsewhere on the site. In 2001, it became a UNESCO World heritage site.
In 2010, some of the major buildings were almost completely destroyed by a fire. The site was then added to the list of World heritage sites in danger. My expectations of what I was going to see were pretty low on account of reviews on trip advisor but I figured it had been 8 years since the fire. Surely there was some progress restoring what was lost. Boy was I wrong!
Along with my friend Dramme, we got to the place at about 4pm.a man at the entrance tried to dissuade me from going in saying renovations were still taking place and there was nothing for me to see, I asked him to let me be the judge of that since I’d come a long way to see them. He asked this other guy to get me something to cover up as my trusty comfortable sweats were not fit for Kings, He came back with a leesu which I wrappedaround my waist and off we went through the small side gate.
Our guide for the day was a one Byaruhanga, a Munyankole man. I must say, I found it a tad bit strange they didn’t have any Baganda Guides handy as they would surely be most knowledgeable of the place and would also add an air of authenticity but then again I thought it was pretty cool and inclusive of them to have other tribes involved. Turns out Byaruhanga isn’t a guide but security for the place, they had no guides on site. Byaruhanga was relatively knowledgeable having been stationed here since the fire. What he didn’t know, he was quick to remind us he wasn’t a guide and not of this village. Either way he was a pretty cool guy.
Going through the side gate, one is greeted by a desolate courtyard with tufts of grass here and there. The Royal Gates on the left side are pretty cool and are only used by the Kabaka.Ahead is a gate house (Bujjabukula) that was used by the Royal Guards. In it are some black poles from when the Hut was first constructed back in 1882, I liked this bit a lot! The hut leads to a small courtyard and the Drum house (Ndoga-Okuba) which houses the royal drums, traditionally females aren’t allowed inside. This is the only section that’s worth a look, from here on out its just sad!
Further is the main courtyard with the main central building covered in hideous blue tarpoline, this building is forever under renovation Byaruhanga tells us. Surrounding the courtyard aresmall modern day buildings that are the Wives houses for the deceased Kabakas ‘widows who tend to the family graves. It is also home to members of the royal family. Looking about there is absolutely nothing regal about this place. We met the caretaker, a very old man who walks completely bent over from old age, watching him walk away, I couldn’t help imagine all the amazing things he’s witnessed in his day, imagine the stories he could tell!.......And that folks was it! The whole ‘tour’ took about 13 minutes and left me a particularly special type of sad. Onecan tell this was once a majestic site. To think this is a world heritage site is shocking to say the least. It’s been 8 years since the inferno and there is absolutely nothing, no evidence of some type of progress to restore what is such an important aspect of Buganda culture. Looking at it, I didn’t think its getting finished any time soon.
I left rather downcast and unfulfilled so it was off to Yakobos for some uplifting cheer me up quick pork.
If you’re thinking of exploring the tombs, in all honesty, don’t! There’s nothing but utter disappointment waiting for you. Maybe this place will get done sometime in this lifetime. I’dlove to see it restored to its full glory. Whoever is in charge of the sites’ website and internet presence should just tell people like it is and declare this place closed until further notice.
PS; The pork was dry AF! What a day!