Who We Are
We are a Cultural Trust / Foundation registered under the laws of Uganda. REG No: 80020002140688 by the Royal House of Babiito to preserve and promote the legacy of Omukama Chwa II Kabalega (June 18, 1853 – April 6, 1923), the ruler / Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom from 1870 to 1899, and a celebrated hero; national and Africa-wide who fought gallantly to preserve the Independence of his people against colonialism.
BUNYORO Kitara Kingdom is one of the oldest Kingdoms in Africa. The Kingdom wielded the strongest military and economic power in the Great Lakes Region between the 14th and 18th centuries.
At that time the Kingdom covered much of the current Uganda, parts of Eastern Congo, Western Tanzania, Northern Kenya and small parcels of Burundi and Rwanda. But in the 1880s, the British Colonial Officers, desperate for economic resources, waged war on the Kingdom.
The purpose was to weaken the authority, influence and prestige of Omukama Yohana Cwa II Kabalega and destroy the only remaining independent and wealthy Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom. Indeed, King Kabalega, using his strong army of “Abarusura” and employing warfare tactics resisted, imperial colonisation for over 15 years even when his aggressors had superior military arsenal.
This imperial war occasioned heavy loss and suffering to the people of Bunyoro Kingdom. It is believed that by the end of this war, the population of Bunyoro was decimated from 2.9 million people to only 100,000.
The brave King Kabalega, upon betrayal by some of his compatriots, was shot, injured and arrested on April 9th, 1899 by the invading colonial forces. The colonial government being wary of the fact that the king still enjoyed much support even in his current state and this was dangerous for their interests, hence chose to deport him, along with his Buganda Collaborator Kabaka Mwanga to Kismayu in Somalia from June 1899.
Kabalega while in Somalia continued to influence events in his kingdom, and it soon became too near and the British Colonialists wanted to further impose their rule without interference.
After two years of exile (1901) in Somalia, the two kings were then deported to Seychelles, where Mwanga died two years later (1903). Omukama Kabalega lived on in exile up to 1923 when he was permitted by the British administration to return to his kingdom. On a chattered ship, he landed at Mombasa and would later move by train from Mombasa to Jinja district in Uganda where he made a stop to send communication to his kingdom of his return.
On April 5, 1923, Kabalega was visited by emissaries from Bunyoro kingdom. However, it is at this point that he would shortly after die, aged 70 years before he could reach his kingdom. The hill at which he died would later become known as “Mpumwire / Mpumude” as this was his last word, meaning “I have rested”.
The Kingdom suffered another setback when cultural institutions were abolished by the Obote Government in 1966. However, cultural institutions in Uganda have since been restored; as of 1994, and Bunyoro Kingdom has set course to full recovery.
However, with his people greatly decimated by the war fighting to defend their kingdom, and the subsequent marginalisation with repressive policies for resistance against the colonial government by both the colonial government and post-colonial governments (partly due to unfavourable policies inherited), Bunyoro region remains with a lot of developmental challenges and needs for intervention and support in rebuilding its social economic and cultural systems towards recovery and regaining of its past glory.
Through our programmes focused on civic advocacy and engagement, cultural research and development, environment protection, education and life skills development, health and sanitation, as well as community social-economic empowerment, we as Kabalega Foundation are championing this cause, in memory of the great king and hero Omukama Chwa II Kabalega.