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Minority tribes call for establishment of cultural museums

Busongora Development Conference held in Kasese. URN photo

Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Indigenous minority tribes in Kasese district have asked the government through the Ministries of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities for support to establish cultural museums to preserve their culture that is on the verge of extinction.

They argue that cultural museums would very much help to preserve and pass over knowledge about their cultural and historical items including artifacts, attires, and infrastructure through generations. They contend that a number of their artifacts were taken by foreigners during colonial times leaving the young generation without visible history to learn from.

James Bakaine, the deputy prime minister of the defunct Busongora kingdom, says that community museums can play a very important role in preserving and presenting the diverse cultural heritage of minority tribes and provide spaces for appreciating different cultures.

He argues that the establishment of such museums would be a key effort to link the past and future through their collections, which would be accessible to schools, local residents, researchers, and foreign tourists.

Bakaine says Busongora Community Land Trust-BCLT is partnering with Makerere University to design a cultural museum with the purpose of persevering their culture and generating income.

The Banyabindi cultural leader, Iseebantu Migisha Elisha Ateenyi says it’s only by preserving history that the future of the minority groups can be guaranteed. He says the culture of minority tribes is on the verge of extinction mainly because there hasn’t been any government effort to consolidate it.

James Kasaija from Busongora constituency says the government has not fully recognized the importance of history in the development of Uganda and the black race. He is also optimistic that such museums depicting the ways of minority tribes would widen community tourism.

Susan Atuhaire, a Musongora by tribe says cultural museums are essential in promoting important national values of tolerance and respect for identity and cultural diversity -an essential function in a potentially fractious district like Kasese.

The youthful accountant says that many young people have lost touch with their cultural values and beliefs due to the lack of preservation.

Edgar Barozi, a Munyabindi from Katwe sub county says it’s unfortunate that the ministry of education neglected to teach heritage education to preserve the country’s cultural heritage.

The minority groups shared their views with URN on the sidelines of the two days Busongora Development Conference held in Kasese that ended on Sunday. The conference was organized to educate the minority groups on communal and customary land management, minority group rights, environment and wildlife conservation, and augmenting culture, art, and education.

Catherine Joy Bwenkya, the minister for Gender in the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom who was the lead facilitator told URN that all minority groups of Uganda have a lot of historical sites and a history that the government needs to invest in to allow for their expansion. She argues that family and social morals can be upheld through culture.

Ndahura II Kashagama, the Basongora cultural leader, said that such a conference is meant to empower the minority tribes to know their rights and also fully participate in development.

Recently, the government halted plans to establish regional museums to allow for the expansion and equipping of the existing museums. There are over 65 community museums in different parts of the country.

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