Passion For Humanity

what's new

A HISTORY OF KIGEZI IN SOUTH-WEST UGANDA edited by Donald Denoon: The National Trust, Kampala 1972 pp 302

Edited by Admin
A HISTORY OF KIGEZI IN SOUTH-WEST UGANDA edited by Donald Denoon: The National Trust, Kampala 1972 pp 302

 I was very pleased to learn recently that this interesting book has been re-printed and is available in bookshops in Uganda. Until now, the first and only edition was very hard to find, even in used bookstores online. That it is now available to younger generations is most welcome news.


In late 1969, the Makerere University Department of History obtained funding from the Milton Obote Foundation to organize Ugandan historians with a view to documenting the history of the component communities of the country.  Donald Denoon, an academic historian at Makerere, organized a meeting of Banyakigyezi elders, academic historians and other wise men which was held at Kabaare’s White Horse Inn during the Easter Weekend of 1970.  


Following that conference, sixteen of the attendees agreed to put pen to paper and produce a multi-authored volume that would tell the history of Kigyezi. This book was the result of their efforts.


With a total of 21 chapters, the book is divided into five parts dealing with (1) origins and settlement of Kigyezi, (2) state formation, (3) alien influence on Kigyezi, (4) reception of alien rule, and (5) incorporation of Kigyezi into Uganda.


The chapters are of varied length and strength. Some, like D. Z. Rwabihigi’s account of the life and times of Chief Katuregye of the Bakongwe, are detailed historical works that give one insight into the state of affairs in Kigyezi in its early years as a British construct. Charles Kabuga’s account of the Banyama-Baboga conflict of the 1960s remains the best in print.


One great contribution of the book is an understanding of the complex relationship between Banyakigyezi and the Baganda agents of the British Protectorate. Eli Nasani Bisamunyu’s chapter on this subject is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the perception challenges that the Protectorate’s rule by proxy imposed on the relationship between the Bakiga and their Baganda rulers.


The weakness of this book is that it is not a result of rigorous historical research, documentation and analysis. Published less than two years after the Kabaare conference of 1970, it is largely a series of stories that paint a very interesting picture of Kigyezi and open a window into our misty past. My tired-looking copy, an original edition that was a gift from my father, is evidence of how enjoyable and useful I have found repeated reading of these men’s accounts.


Until a definitive scholarly history of Kigyezi is written, this will remain the best single volume attempt to present the history of Kigyezi up to the immediate post-independence years. Recommended.


Recent Posts

Popular Posts