By Titus Kakembo
If you have not been to Kalangala in the last ten years, solicit the services of a guide, the next time you are destined there. After four hours of sucking in deep breath of fresh air and finishing space on my camera card to shoot birds in flight, canoe powered manually with oars and the horizons the ferry engine went off.
Did I hear or imagine hearing a parrot tweet “Karibu” or was it said by the smiling hoteliers waving papers with names of their guests. Bodaboda riders smile from ear to ear to win over travelers.
You guessed right, where there are no maps, road names and buses they serve as the A to Z through paths, roads with canopies of tree leaves above and monkeys pulling faces.
Rich with oral fiction stories like that of a warrior who used to battle the Bunyoro kingdom on his wings in the sky. Plotted with pinches of love, suspense and betrayal, by the time the main character Kibuka Omumbale is shot with an arrow some listeners shed tears or ask questions.
“Like in the Bible, if it was not the strength of a woman, we would still be in the garden of Eden,” reasoned Mubiru. “In this story Kibuka fell in love with a beautiful Munyakole girl with hips as wide as the Ankole cow’s horns. One day he told her the secret of his war tac tics.”
The beautiful woman reportedly divulged the secret to her tribesmen. The next time the two kingdoms were at war, all the arrows were shot at the clouds where Kibuka used to take cover and rain shots at his enemies. Like fate would have it, Kibuka died, defending Buganda kingdom. His remains (sex organs) are at the Uganda Museum for safe custody.
The first Muganda Kintu, brought death, upon his tribesmen when Nambi forgot to carry millet for the chicken. Remember that Primary three history? On returning to collect the cereals, her brother Walumbe (bringer of death) stalked her and continues to claim the lives of the children. He did not want to part with his sister. That’s how death came into existence according to this kiganda story. Do you believe that?
“That is why a brother is such a big issue,” said an elder Maurice Bafirawala. “At kwanjula they are treated like royals or you risk their wrath.”
Crossing the lake by ferry is sh15000 from Luzira or Nakiwogo. There are two trips per day. Snacks are served on board. To keep oneself busy, a novel, ipod or scrabble game for more than one traveler would do.
Stay warned, there are more men than women in Kalangala. If you into discotheques, cinema and life in the fast lane-this is not the place for you. But corporate are in love with it for end of year retreats, team building and honey moon.