People and Culture

People and Culture:
Uganda is a study in cultural diversity. To talk about one Ugandan culture is therefore wrong. Uganda has diverse cultural groups speaking over thirty different languages. The people can be classified into the following broad categories, the Bantu, the Nilotics, the Madi-Okoru or the Sudanic speaking and the Pygmoid people.

The Bantu:
The Bantu who constitute more than 50% of Uganda’s total population occupy the southern part of the country. The Bantu were the earliest group to come to Uganda. They comprise the Baganda, Banyoro, Basoga, Bagishu, Banyankore, Bakiga, Batooro, Bakonjo, Bamba, Batwa, Bagishu, Basamia-Bagwe, Bakenyi, Baruli and the Banyole. They are found in the east, central, western and southern parts of the country.

Nilo Hamites/Atekerin:
The second group is the category of people called the Atekerin group. The group is sometimes known as the Nilo-Hamites, Para Nilotes or the Lango. They live in the north, east and northeastern parts of the country. The group constitutes the Langi, Iteso, Kumam, Kakwa and the Karimojong.

This group traces its origins to Ethiopia where they are said to have been one people. Migration pressures made them settle in different parts of Uganda, which led to marked differences between them. For instance the Langi lost their Ateker language and took up Luo spoken by their Acholi neighbours. The Sebei constitute the Highland Nilotes.

The Luo:
The Luo constitute the other nilotic group. This group originated from southern Sudan. They live in West Nile, the northern and eastern parts of the country. The Acholi, Alur, Jonam and the Jophadola are part of this group. The Basamia who have sometimes been linked with the Kenya Luo are basically Bantu.

The Sudanic People:
The Sudanic speakers of West Nile form another group. The Lugbara, Madi, Okebu, Bari and Metu are counted among this group. They are sometimes referred to as the Madi-Moru group. Their origin can be traced to Sudan. Their language and culture are completely detached from their places of origin. This group is dominated by the Lugbara. This is because Lugbara was used by the colonial administration as the medium of instruction.

The Pygmoid People:
These are closest surviving relatives of the stone Age Man. They Constitute the Batwa and the Bambuti who live in western Uganda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo.