S.2 History-Ankole kingdom.

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The way of life of the people of Ankole during the 19th century.

Ankole was originally called “” meaning beautiful land. It was founded by son of . He moved into Ankole with the Bahinda clan after the disappearance of the and established the Ankole kingdom.The first settlement was which became the nucleus of the kingdom. They claim to have descended from the Chwezi. The kingdom remained small until the century when chiefs began expansion and captured and Kashari from Buhweju.
The kingdom was headed by who had powers and his decisions were always final. The omugabe was at times helped by the “” who was a chief and represented the Omugabe at occasions. The kingdom was divided into divisions (districts) under chiefs called “” appointed by the Omugabe. The were also leaders of military units called “”. The Bakungu kept and order, raised military levies and also had to send beer and millet to the . The Bakungu kept a small army which was used to their people and their animals from outsiders. The army was equipped with , , and . The Omugabe was the and settled disputes among his subjects. He also kept a number of at his palace and these were from the class. In the palace, there was a royal drum called “” which was a symbol of and unity. It was believed to have come from Omuchwezi . There was also a royal which was never allowed to go out until the of the reigning Omugabe. Succession to the throne was : from father to son.
The kingdom had major practices and these were carried out according to . The (upper class) were and supplied milk, meat and hides. The (lower class) were and supplied many yams and grains like millet which was their food. The two classes complimented each other for example milk, ghee, meat; hides were exchanged for millet and yams. The Ankole people practiced some , and . The would make wooden pots, stools, dishes similar to what their fore fathers did. The made knives and cob lades. They dug their own from deposits. They traded with neighbors for example , with cattle products and iron products mainly using the barter system. However, the kingdom was mainly .
Socially, the kingdom was divided into two classes. They were the Bahima ( class) who were and ( class) who were . The rulers of the kingdom came from the class. They had many clans, each with a and naming was done according to these .
They believed in a supreme God “” but they never offered any prayers to him. The other gods they had including Kagoro, Mugara, Kazooba, Wamala and Musisi. Offerings were made to them. All classes had family shrines where they would worship their spirits from. They believed that the spirits would do anything if they were not . They therefore brought milk, beer and grain to their shrines for the spirits to take.
Marriage within clans was . They observed taboos to help them keep law and order in society.