The Bafumbira are a group of people who make the modern Uganda. They live in the district of Kisoro in Southwestern Uganda. They are neighbours to Bakiga, Banyarwanda and Congolese.
Those who inhabit Kisoro District in the extreme southwest of Uganda are called Bafumbira but in actual sense they are Banyarwanda because they practice the same culture. This is the only district that is inhabited almost exclusively by Banyarwanda.
To their west, is Zaire and to their south is Rwanda. The Bafumbira-Banyarwanda land is mountainous and cool, Bafumbira was part of Rwanda until the boundary adjustments of 1910.The actual inhabitants of Bafumbira-Banyarwanda, in descending order of numerical superiority, are the Bahuutu, the Batutsi and the Batwa.
Essentially, they are Banyarwanda and they speak Kinyarwanda.
The Batwa are said to have been the original inhabitants of Bufumbira and they are closely related to the Bambuti of Mt. Rwenzori.
The Bahuutu are said to have been the second group to arrive in Bufumbira. Then came the Batutsi before A.D 15o
History of Bafumbira-banyarwanda
The Batwa do not have traditions of early migration from anywhere. They are believed to have been the earliest inhabitants of East Africa together with the Bambuti of Mt. Rwenzori and Ndorobo of Kenya. To date they do not lead a permanent, settled life.
The Bahuutu are Bantu and, like other Bantu, they are believed to have originated from the Congo region of Central Africa around A>D 1000. They are said to have entered Rwanda from northeast.
The Origin of Batutsi is, however, mythical. One theory says that they originated from Karagwe in northern Tanzania.
Another very controversial one is the “Hamitic myth”. This theory has it that the Batutsi are not indigenous to East Africa. And that their original homeland might have been either Somalis or Ethiopia or Egypt. This theory is based, among other things on the fact that the Batutsi tend to resemble the Somali and Galla.
Marriage of the Bafumbira People
Marriage is a sacred sacrament according to most religions in this world and the same happened to African traditional societies when it came to marriage as a commitment.
Before the coming of Christianity in Uganda, many indigenous tribes had their ways how they initiated marriage ceremonies.
Among those tribes the one that took my attention is that of the Bafumbira Banyarwanda people in south western Uganda. The Bafumbira People in Uganda is of 3 indigenous groups. The Batutsi, The Bahutu And the Batwa. Compared to the Batwa, and Bahuutu, the Batutsi married at a latter age. Although there seemed to be no taboos against marriage relationships, intermarriages between the Batwa, Bahuutu and Batutsi were rare.
Among the Bahuutu and Batutsi, intermarriages between close relatives were prohibited on the claim that this connection would render the resulting offspring weal and vulnerable to spiritual attacks.
Among the Batutsi, boys were usually pressed to marry even before they were ready. The girls were closely watched by their mothers and aunts. In Bafumbira-Banyarwanda,Virginity was highly prized . Premarital pregnancies were unwanted. A girl would be thrown into the forest and left to the mercy of wild animals if she conceived before marriage.
Formerly, parents would arrange marriages for their children. But there was also what was known as Gufata or Gaturura. Gufata was an acceptable forced marriage in which a boy would conspire to and carry away a girl by force to become his wife.
Among the Bahuutu, there was also what was known as ukwijana. This was a pre arranged marriage in which the girl would sneak away from her parents and go to a boys home to get married.
This occurred whenever a girl had a pre-marital pregnancy. Both Gufuta and ukwijana were socially accepted but not praise worthy. Bride wealth was paid in the form of cows and goats. If a girl was forced into marriage, exorbitant bride wealth was paid.
On the other hand, if a girl went to the boys home to get married, the bride wealth depended on how the girl went there. If it was the girl who decided to go, bride wealth would be small, but if it was the boy who wooed, it would be exorbitant.
Thereafter, wedding arrangements would be entered into. On the wedding day, local sorghum beer and banana beer were served. The wedding celebrations took place at night and carried on into the morning hours. On wedding days, traditional dances were performed. The Women would ululate while men sang and recited great historical events. They danced in pairs.
The men would also jump. The musical instruments were drums and harps. Clapping was a common feature for all the groups. The Batwa were renowned harp players while the Bahuutu, like the Bakiga, played the zither. Among the Batutsi the girls sang and danced in pairs while men danced in groups usually of more than ten people, called intore.
In Bafumbira-Banyarwanda, Polygamy was an acceptable practice. Not only did it increase the mans status, but it also increases the family size. Being monogamous was like marring ones mother, so they said. Divorce was also acceptable and could occur in any of the following instances; Drunkenness, ill-treatment, adultery, gluttony, refusal or inability to offer sex and several other undesirable instances.