The Nte (Cow) Clan

The Cow Totem The Crested Crane
Main Totem
Minor Totem
Compiled by Thomas Katongole Lwebuga

Ow'Akasolya (Clan Head): Katongole

Akabbiro (Minor Totem): Ng'aali; (Crested Crane)

Obutaka (Clan Seat): Mulema on the western Shores of Lake Nnalubaale (Victoria), Buddu County in present day Rakai district.

Omubala (Clan Motto):
"Ekyuma nkiridde n'omukimba ngulidde."
"I got part of the metal on top of being paid." When the people come to the iron smith (omuweesi) with their metal they would specify what they wanted made. The smith would put the metal in the fire, in the process when the metal is red-hot, he would cut off a piece and leave it in the ashes. With the remaining piece, he would make the customer's desire. In the end he would keep the hidden piece for himself and also get paid a fee (omukimba).

The Nte Clan has many sub-clans, but there are six that are more common and well known.

(1) Ente Eteriiko Mukira oba Enkunku (The tailless Cow ) This is a Sacred Cow born without a tail called "Enkunku" that is a rare born cow once in a while in a herd. This is the largest of the sub-clans.

The Nte clan members do not eat meat of any other animals born without a tail, "enkunku". The clan members do not even eat plantains and bananas off trees that bear fruit without the flower bud "empumumpu".

The Baganda exchange gifts a lot with neighbors and far away family and friends. This is especially common during times of harvest, even during famine and also for special occasions. Sharing of delicacies like "enswa" (white ants), "enseenene" (a rare grasshopper), "obutiko obubaala" (mushrooms) with close friends was very common. The clan members do not eat contents of packages (amatu) that are prepared and tied without an end knot (akaayi akasoloobye). This signifies the missing tail on the package.

(2) Ente ya Lubombwe
(3) Ente ya Kaasa (Cow with a white spot on the head).
(4) Busito (These do not drink milk from a cow that becomes in-calf again less than nine days after it gives birth).
(5) Ente Eya Kayinda (This is a cow that has a black back ridge running from the head to the tail).
(6) Ente Erina Ekinuulo Ekiddugala Ekiganja Ekimu ate Ekirala nga Kyeru (A cow with one part of its hoof black the other half white).

All the people within these sub-clans are all headed by Katongole, as the head of the overall Nte Clan. But each sub-clan has its own Bataka ba Masiga that report to Katongole. Each sub-clan keeps and observes its own rituals, values and customs. Katongole says that he left Bunyoro during the reign of Omukama Winyi I. (Winyi I is the fourth Omukama from the present dynasty of the Ababito emperors of Kitara)

Nte clan members are referred to as the Abagabo of Mulema. This name (Abagabo) comes from a long held practice of spiritual renewal and fasting that is done by clan members at the time of the full moon for three nights. The spiritual renewal spans three days before and three nights after the full moon. The practice also involves offering sacrifice to the demi-gods (Lubaale) of the Nte clan. The most prominent among them is "Wangi".

(As told by my grandfather: Yozefu Kityamuweesi Baziwe Katongole)

"History has it that at the time of the full moon, which the Baganda call "omwezi ogw'eggabogabo," the Abagabo of Mulema did not eat the evening meal. This is why the clan members are referred to as the Abagabo.

Crafty Industriousness Signified by the Clan Motto: "Ekyuma nkiridde n'omukimba ngulidde." I have taken part of the metal and I also got paid. From this, the clan names Mukimba and Nnamikimba wereintroduced into the clan as a reminder of the business acumen and diligence for payments and industriousness of the Bagabo. The Clan Motto is sounded on the clan high drums on special occasions such as the Gabogabo celebration, a royal visitation, last funeral rites and at the naming of the heir to a deceased.

The headship of the clan is hereditary, and the heir is chosen from among the direct descendants of Katongole.

The major Clan Elders
(Abataka Ab' amasiga) that report directly to Katongole
1 Lukyamuzi Mulema Buddu
2 Lwegaba Mulema Buddu
3 Kajojo Kikukumbi Buddu
4 Ddungu Kazinga Buddu
5 Kagayo Bukwale Buddu
6 Mbiriire Kasago Buddu
7 Lwera Nabugabo Buddu
8 Lwera Kyamabaale Buddu
9 Kalibata Kagaba Ssingo
10 Namuyira Bugabo Buddu
11 Nakaddu Lusiba Ssingo
12 Namutale Nsiisi Ssingo
13 Nakaddu Nabikasa Buddu
14 Bugala Kyamiiru Buddu
15 Lubowa Mugombe Buddu
16 Kiwaanyizi Mulengeka Buddu
17 Mugenyi Ndoddo Ggomba
18 Muganji Mubende Buweekula
19 Ssebyayi Kitama Buweekula
20 Njuki Kasago Buddu
21 Luwondera Kiyumba Buddu
22 Kituzi Nankwale Ssingo
23 Mutagubya Nkenge Buddu

History of the origin of the Nte Clan:

From stories told by my grandfather, the late Joseph Kityamuweesi Baziwe Katongole and other elders. Legend has it that Katongole (the head of the Nte Clan as it is known in Buganda today) and his brother Lukyamuzi were royal princes in the Bunyoro/Kitara kingdom. Their brother was the Omukama (king) at the time. It is said that Katongole fell in love with the Omukama's favourite wife and it was not long before she was pregnant. When the Omukama found out, he was furious. He ordered that his brother Katongole and his immediate family be killed and whoever of the princes and princesses that side with him.

Katongole and his brother Lukyamuzi who had helped their older brother take the throne in the princely wars by making sophisticated spears and arrows that were superior to those of the other groups were at this time out looking for Matale (stones out of which metal was extracted). On their way back home they were informed of the Omukama's anger and the order for Katongole's killing. Katongole and Lukyamuzi were very close so Lukyamuzi took sides with Katongole so he also become subject to the Omukama's harsh judgment. They sneaked in and got their families and left Bunyoro in a hurry.

The two brothers and their families decided to head towards Buganda where a young kingdom and an ambitious Kabaka was trying to surpass Bunyoro's might, through wars of land conquest. The two brothers were readily welcomed and given land by the Kabaka and right away appointed them makers of spears and other metallic equipment necessary to fight the royal wars. The plot and price on their head in Bunyoro remained, so they had to move frequently and often times lived in hiding.

The Kabaka welcomed them and gave them land to settle first in Ssingo. But Katongole was still anxious because of rumors that someday, the Omukama may send men to find Katongole and his family and kill them. So Katongole decided to head further south and deeper into Buganda. They entered Teero forest and stayed in this forest for sometime. On leaving Teero, the Kabaka offered Katongole and his family land by the river near Teero on the shores of Lake Nalubaale (Victoria).

From here they headed further into Buddu partly looking for Amatale (rocks out of which iron was extracted). They settled at Bijja now Biikira from where they could go towards the shores of Nalubaale often to find Amatale. They found an abundance of these in Mulema a place near the shores of lake Victoria (Nalubaale). Katongole was growing old by this time so it was getting harder and harder to carry the rocks for long distances back to Bijja. His sons asked him to settle at Mulema and he agreed, leaving Mutagubya and Nakana around Bijja. Mutagubya ended up at Nkenge where today there is a seat of a Mutaba of the Nte clan.

Katongole was buried in Mulema, and there is a legend that at Katongole's resting place, on the front of his grave there grew a big baobab tree that still stands to this day. This tree was used in many of the Bagabo ceremonies like that of full moon celebrations. It is also rumored that Katongole's spear and "ensinjo" (tool used to cut hot metal) are buried at the base of this tree. But as of present day, nobody seems very sure of the exact spot of Katongole's grave.

History of the origin of the Nte Clan
from Nsimbi's Amannya Amaganda n'Ennono Zaago:

The head of the Nte clan is Katongole who is a Mugabo. Katongole says that he came from Bunyoro and he says that these were the circumstances that led to his leaving of Bunyoro:

Once a upon a time, Katongole gave a girl in marriage to the King of Bunyoro. After a while the girl was pregnant. When she gave birth, the baby was an albino. On seeing the baby, the Omukama was terrified. The medicine men advised the Omukama that "in order for you to stay alive and overcome this misfortune, you have to kill the new born baby, its mother and your in-law, Katongole." When Katongole heard about the advise of the medicine men to the Omukama, he urged all his children, "gather all our belongings for we shall run away as soon as we can to a far away land so as to save our lives."

These are some of the important places that Katongole and his children stayed at when they were running away from Bunyoro: Kawuula, Kiyima in Ssingo, Kisozi in Ggomba. At Kisozi, some of Katongole's children separated from him and headed to Buganda in Mawokota. From Kisozi, Katongole and the rest of his children who stayed with him headed to Buddu. In Buddu Katongole first settled in Teero forest near Ssango on the shores of Lake Victoria. Katongole entered this forest as a hide away place, fearing that the Omukama may send his men to find him and kill him. After a while with no sign of any people looking for him, he left Teero and went and settled near river Kabiga and his children also settled in places near to this river.

From Kabiga, Katongole went further south to Bijja (now called Biikira after the Virgin Mary). From Bijja the following of Katongole's sons left for Mulema: Nakana, Lukyamuzi, and Lwegaba. Katongole's sons were iron smiths so at Mulema they found plenty of trees for making charcoal and plenty of what also useful in their trade. When they went back to Bijja, they asked their father to move with them to Mulema where they would continue smithing iron. Katongole refused to leave Bijja because at this time being an old man, he did not want moving around anymore. When Katongole refused to leave, his sons left him and went and settled at Mulema.

Katongole died at Bijja of sleeping sickness after his sons had been at Mulema for a short while. Nakaana was chosen by his father Katongole as his heir and thus he became the first of the line of hereditary heads of the clan. After Nakaana being installed as heir, he went back to Mulema. Form that time until today, the seat of the head of the clan, Katongole has been at Mulema. The Clan has deep roots in Buddu where most of its clansmen and the Mituba and Bataka b' Amasiga are concentrated.

Royal Duties

The Nte clan are the official Royal iron workers for the Kabaka. They make the royal hoe used in the last funeral rights of a deceased king. Even in Bunyoro, the Nte Clan was the Omukama's royal iron smiths.

Some of the Names of the Nte Clan:

Many of the names given to the clan members reflect their job and occupation as iron smiths.

Kakooza, Kaweesi, Kityamuweesi Miwanda, Muwulya, Mugenyi, Ssemanda. Wangi (lubaale wabe Ente), Ssempijja, Maganda/Ssemaganda, Ssekyanzi, Nakaana, Lukyamuzi, Lwasampijja (oba ayinza okuyitibwa Lwasamayinja), Lwegaba, Ddungu, Kigulenkumbi, Nakaddu, Kayaabula, bwebale, Lwebuga, Ssennyondo, Kaweewo, Luwerekera, Kasumba, Mutagubya, Mulema, Sserugo, Zzalugo (okuva nti, ez' olugo olumu teziyomba), Ssebuuma, Mukimba

Nabakooza, Nakaweesi, Nabaweesi Namiwanda, Namuwulya, Namugenyi, Namanda, Nawangi, Nampijja, Namaganda, Nakyanzi, Nabuuma, Nakayima (lyali linnya lya mmandwa ya Ndawula eyabeeranga ku Mubende), Nalugo, Nabasumba, Nabbona, Nante, Natoolo, Terinakabi, Nannyondo, Namulema, Namukimba.

Renowned clan members in the History of Buganda

Irene Namaganda, Namasole (queen mother) of Sir Edward Muteesa II
Ken Lukyamuzi, Vice chairman of the Conservative Party, member of parliament for Rubaga.

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