The Lugave (Pangolin) Clan


Ow'Akasolya (Clan Head): Ndugwa

Akabbiro (Minor Totem): Maleere (a type of mushroom)

Obutaka (Clan Seat): Katende, Mawokota

Omubala (Clan Motto):The Clan has three mottos

(1) Lwa Ndugwa, lwa Katende.
(2) Sseruku lulengejja, simanyi lulingwira?
(3) Saagala balangajja, bw'ompa akawala ako ng'ebbanja liwedde.

There are seventeen main Clan Elders (Ab'amasiga) under Ndugwa:

1. Kakulukuku of Nnono, Busujju
2. Kyabasinga Nyombi of Nakirama, Busiro
3. Nswaswa Wasswa of Nkirama, Busiro
4. Ssenkusu Kato of Wassozi, Busiro
5. Ssebwana of Gganda, Busiro
6. Kiwanda Natiigo of Magala, Ssingo
7. Kasoma Nakatanza of Migadde, Kyaddondo
8. Kagolo Ssebugulu of Kanyike, Mawokota
9. Ssettuba of Ddundu, Busiro
10. Ssebiiso Myamba, of Ndugu, Kyaggwe
11. Ttondo Namugwanga of Bubwa, Kyaggwe
12. Ssekiwala of Kkangavve, Bulemezi
13. Kaweekwa of Ggangu, Kyaddondo
14. Jjooga of Nsonga, Kyaggwe
15. Kigenyi of Lwaje, Buvuma
16. Ntambi of Ggaba, Kyaddondo
17. Ggere of Malanga, Ssese

Clan's early History

At the founding of the Buganda Kingdom as we know it today, the head of the Lugave clan was called Mukiibi Ssebuko Ssaalongo. The Lugave clan is one of the five clans that were indigenous to Buganda before the coming of Kintu. Members of those five clans are referred to as the originals (Bannansangwa). The other original clans were the Ffumbe, Ngeye, Njaza and Nnyonyi Nnyange.

According to the oral history of the Baganda, Mukiibi and his followers played a key role in the establishment of the Buganda Kingdom. Prior to Kintu's coming into Buganda, the constituent clans were more or less autonomous although at times the head of a particular clan might succeed is establishing hegemony over the other clans. Immediately prior to Kintu's coming, the Ffumbe clan is said to have had hegemony over the other clans. However, Buganda had been invaded and conquered by Bemba, who is thought to have come from the Kiziba area to the southwest of Buganda. Bemba proved to be a cruel and ruthless ruler and he was very unpopular among his subjects. Mukiibi, head of the Lugave clan, rebelled against Bemba who in turn sacked Mukiibi's lands and properties, forcing him and his followers to flee into exile in the nearby Ssese Islands.

While in Ssese, Mukiibi heard of Kintu's approaching force which was preparing to do battle with Bemba. Mukiibi quickly allied himself and his followers with the invading force. Kintu in turn was glad to receive allies who would help augment his force. The two are said to have met in Jjinja, Busoga; and traveled together to Mangira in Kyaggwe where the forces that would attack Bemba were marshaled. When the battle was finally joined, Mukiibi was one of the top commanders of the invading force. Mukiibi's men proved particularly arduous in battle, and two of them Kigave and Nfudu, succeeded in capturing and killing Bemba. They beheaded him, and subsequently informed Kintu of their feat which heralded the success of the invasion. Kintu became King, marking the start of the Buganda Kingdom and the establishment of the royal dynasty that has continued to rule Buganda since then.

Because of his gratitude for the role Mukiibi and his followers had played in his ascent to the throne, Kintu granted Mukiibi the privilege of choosing for himself and his children choice pieces of land anywhere in the Kingdom on which to settle. He also allowed Mukiibi the unusual privilege of planting fig trees (mituba) for his children in the places they chose to settle. (Planting a fig tree is a symbolic recognition of the granting of ownership to the land). This is one of the reasons that members of the Lugave clan are widely scattered throughout Buganda. Mukiibi himself settled at Kapeeka in Busiro. The crowning mark of Kintu's gratitude was the choice of Kakulukuku, one of Mukiibi's sons to be the very first Prime Minister (Katikkiro) in the Kingdom. This is the highest office to which a non-royal can rise in the Buganda hierarchy.

With the throne secured for Kintu, Mukiibi settled into the routine of ordinary life. He used to be an avid hunter and on one such hunting expedition, he found himself at a place called Ssekiwunga near Katende in Mawokota. He was enthralled by the natural beauty of the area and he decided to settle there, telling his companions that on his death, this was the place he wanted to be buried. "Wano we ndigwa" (this is where I will finally rest) became a frequent saying of his and he was subsequently nicknamed "Ndigwa" as a result. The name Ndigwa was later altered in speech to become Ndugwa which is now the official title of the head of the Lugave clan. The main shrine of the Lugave clan has remained at Katende, Mawokota up to this day. The main clan motto recalls this, the final resting place of the clan's founding father. From Mukiibi's time, the office of Ndugwa has been held by the following individuals:

Mukiibi Ssebuko Ssaalongo, Ssemogerere Mulangwa, Sserunjogi, Jjooga, Kavuma, Tebuuseeke, Katamba, Muleera Jjooga, Kavuma Kinenennyumba, Ssemogerere, Mayanja, Kirinya, Ddanze, Sserutenga Natiigo, Tukke, Ssemogerere Kibiina, Kaakika Kyabasinga, Zakaliya Gadanga, Sadiki Kinene, Sawulo Ssembuzi, Luttamaguzi, Kaakikkambegera, Mayanja, Alexander Katamba Mpagi, Aseri Mutanda,Yowana Ssemakula, Alexander Katamba Mudde, Grace Ssemakula Musoke.

Some Highlights of Clan's Role in Buganda History.

Kintu was succeeded as King by his son Ccwa. Tradition has it that Ccwa disappeared leaving no child to succeed to the throne, Kalemeera his son having died earlier. The clan elders chose Ssebwana of the Lugave clan to lead the Kingdom while they were deciding what to do about the succession. Ssebwana was not of the royal lineage and therefore was not considered a King. However, he exercised the powers of King during this interregnum, one of the very rare occasions that this has happened in Buganda's history.

Ssemogerere Mulangwa, Ssebwana's elder brother who also became Ndugwa, was one of the people to accompany Kalemeera into Bunyoro. On returning to Buganda, Ssemogerere and his companions reported that Kalemeera had fathered a boy child while in Bunyoro. Since this child was of royal blood, Ssebwana and the other clan elders resolved to send for him to come and take his grandfather's throne. Ssemogerere led the group that went into Bunyoro to find and bring back the prince. The prince came to be known as Kimera. When Kimera arrived in Buganda, Ssebwana exiled himself in the Ssese Islands at a place called Malanga. Ssebwana and his successors remain important elders in the Lugave clan. History is not clear on why Ssebwana had to go into exile.

On his way into Buganda to claim the throne, Kimera passed through the lands of Kiwanda Natiigo at Magala in Ssingo which then bordered Bunyoro. Natiigo was also an elder of the Lugave clan. Since Kimera had grown up in Bunyoro, he knew very little Luganda. When Natiigo questioned the strangers that were passing through his plantation so wantonly if they were "balanga" (old Luganda for prince), Kimera first had to find out from his companions what "balanga" meant. On learning its meaning, Kimera replied that indeed they were "balanga". This word was later altered in speech to become "balangira" which is used in modern Luganda. From that time, this term was applied to all princes of the realm. On learning that he was indeed dealing with royalty, Natiigo was very hospitable to the strangers, and he welcomed them profusely. When Kimera subsequently ascended the throne, he gratefully remembered Natiigo's hospitality and awarded him the land around Magala to be his ancestral home. Natiigo is also referred to as the leader who was "first to respond" to the King's needs (omukulu eyasooka okwanukula).

Kasoma of Migadde in Kyaddondo was another famous member of the Lugave clan. He is remembered for having fought a furious battle with the Munyoro known as Nakatanza who then occupied parts of Bulemeezi. Kasoma was victorious in the battle, and he adopted the name of his defeated nemesis and he became known as Kasoma Nakatanza. Kasoma and his successors (who take the title Kasoma Nakatanza) head one of the branches of the Lugave clan as shown above. Kasoma Nakatanza also had the ritual duties of opening the door to the King's enclosure after the ceremony of "ceasing mourning" for a King's dead father or child. If the ceremony of ceasing mourning was for a deceased King, Nakatanza was responsible for guarding the site where the ceremony took place. At the ascent of a new King to the throne, Nakatanza had some special duties including care of the cloth (lubugo) on which the throne rests during the enthronement. Nakatanza was also given the ritual duties of getting one of the new King's fetishes called "Nantaba" from the King's maternal grandparents and he would also provide a young woman from his clan to take continual care of the fetish.

Kasujju is another very prominent member of the Lugave clan. He rose to prominence during the reign of King Mutebi I. As a young boy, he displayed extraordinary wisdom and discernment in deciding a difficult case that had confounded the King and his advisors. The King forthwith appointed him judge over all the princes in any disputes that might arise between them. Kasujju was further given authority to guard all the young princes to make sure that none of them had designs on the King so as to capture the throne for themselves. The princes were kept in a common compound, mischievously referred to as a prison. The King also made Kasujju ruler of Busujju county and this became a hereditary office within the clan. Because of his authority over all the princes, the Kasujju was treated as a father figure to whoever became King and it was taboo for a King to order the death of a Kasujju. Indeed when the Kasujju greets the King, he does not have to kneel like other commoners.

Historically, the Kasujju together with the Katikkiro and the Mugema, head of the Nkima clan, were the primary officials responsible for selecting a prince to succeed to the throne in the event of a King's death. Although a King could express preference for a successor, these officials were not bound by the late King's wishes and they would select a prince they considered the most capable ruler after consulting between themselves and other prominent chiefs. If these chiefs could not reach a consensus, then a battle of succession between the princes would most likely ensue. But because of the destructive effects of such battles, the chiefs tried hard to agree on a successor and hence avoid the fighting. These three officials also play the most prominent role at the enthronement of a new King. The Kasujju presents the chosen prince to the Katikkiro, who in turn presents him to the people as the new King. Both the Mugema and the Kasujju carry out ritual robing of the new King.

All the drums in the King's palace were tuned at Nakatanza's court. The royal ensemble consisted of a total of 113 drums. Kawuula of the Lugave clan was the King's chief drummer. In particular, the Lugave clan had the responsibility of playing the "Entenga" set of drums, which were first created during the reign of King Kyabaggu, by four brothers who were members of the Lugave clan.

Women from the Lugave clan have been mothers to two Kings namely: Kiyimba, son of Nabukalu Nabbuto I and Tebandeke, son of Nabukalu Nabbuto II. In more recent times, members of the Lugave clan have had the following accomplishments:

- Rev. Henry Luttamaguzi Kitaakule was the first Muganda to be baptized into the Christian Religion in 1882. He also made the first translation of the Bible into Luganda.
- Sheikh Abdalla Mukasa Ssekimwanyi of Magala was the first Muganda to make the Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca in 1920.
- Joseph Ssemwogerere the current Katikkiro of Buganda is a member of the Lugave clan.

Compiled by Mukasa E. Ssemakula

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