“We organise last funeral rites as a way of bringing together family members and distant clanmates, tracing our lineages and strengthening family and blood ties."
PIC: Katikkiro Mayiga (right) with the Nabagereka, Sylvia Nagginda during the memorial service of former katikiro and minister in the central government, Johoash Mayanja Nkangi in Kampala. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)
KAMPALA - The Katikiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, has urged people to respect culture, saying it builds strong family descents and unites society for development.
He was particularly critical of people who rubbish Buganda's strong cultural norms like the last funeral rites by associating them with shrines and worshipping of lubaale (small gods).
He cited the bark cloth, which he said is commonly used in performing traditional ceremonies but it was not proper to associate it with satanic beliefs.
"We organize last funeral rites as a way of bringing together family members and distant clan mates, tracing our lineages and strengthening family and blood ties, which is one of the means of forging unity in Buganda kingdom," he explained.
Mayiga was Saturday speaking at the memorial service of former Katikiro and minister in the central government, Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi at the Minister's Village in Ntinda in Kampala.
A former politician who represented Kalungu West in the Constituent Assembly, Mayanja Nkangi was father of veteran Reggae artist, Winston Shaka Mayanja of the Jazz Safari, who attended the function with his mother, Ruth Mayanja and other siblings.
The function, which was attended by few people, was graced by the Nabagereka, Sylvia Naginda, Buganda royals and officials from Mengo.
It started with service led by the bishop of Kampala, the Right. Rev. Hanington Mutebi who installed Nkangi's elder son, Marcus Luswata as heir.
Luswata had however rejected the bark cloth and preferred to be installed without one, which took efforts by the bishop and other clan members to explain its role and assuring him that it was not satanic.
"Last funeral rites are so important in Buganda, it is the time when people who used to associate with the deceased give testimony of his good deeds and works, give family members a chance to know each other, build bonds and trace blood relationships," Mayiga explained.
According to Mayiga, Buganda's unity, which he said was one of its pillars, is built on such cultural practices, which he said were not a waste of time.
"We ought to avoid looking down on our culture, you should be able to tell the difference between a bark cloth used in such ceremonies and religious practices in a shrine," he explained.
Mayiga said that people in the Western World live a lonely old age and they are often kept in special homes where they rarely interact with their relatives, which is the opposite in Africa.
"Here, you cannot promote unity and development without building family ties and ancestries," he said.
Mayiga said that Nkangi was such a prominent figure in Buganda because he occupied the highest office for commoners, under two kings, Sir Edward Mutesa II and incumbent, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
He consoled the heir to stay firm and take on the mantle to even aim at performing better than his father.
He also asked to him to show reverence for his father by traveling to his burial site in Kanyogoga, Kalungu district and perform the last rituals on his grave and plant a tree in the place, as per Buganda's norm of promoting the environment.
The function was attended by the mutima clan leader, Nicholas Kasekende, who thanked the Kabaka for his support when Nkangi died and all the assistance the Mengo government had extended to the family since they lost such an important member.
Family members pledged to construct Kabungo Primary School in Kalungu where Nkangi studied in the early 1960s and turn it into a modern facility in memory of him.
Nkangi's last appointment was chairperson of the Uganda Land Commission, where he served for many years. He was also minister for finance and economic development, among other portfolios. He died on March 6, 2017 and was buried in Kalungu.
People were however surprised that despite having been a prominent politician since the early 1950s, no politician attended the function, including those from his own party, the Conservative Party, for which he one of the founders.