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Wamara and the End of the Chwezi


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(Nyoro/Uganda)

Wamara was a mythic king. There were only three—some say two—Chwezi kings: Ndahura, his half brother Mulindwa, and his son Wamara.

During Wamara's reign things began to go badly. They called their diviners, and an ox was cut open so that its entrails could be examined. The diviners were astonished to find no trace of the intestines, and they did not know what to say. At that moment, a stranger from north of the Nile appeared. He said that he was a diviner and would solve the riddle for them. But first he insisted on making a blood pact with one of the Chwezi, so that he could be safe from their anger if his findings were unfavorable. Then he took an ax and cut open the head and hooves of the ox. At once, the missing intestines fell out of these members, and as they did so a black smut from the fire settled on them and could not be removed. The Nilotic diviner then said that the absence of the intestines from their proper place meant that the rule of the Chwezi in Bunyoro was over. Their presence in the hoofs meant that they would wander far away; in the head, that they would, nonetheless, continue to rule over men. And the black smut meant that the kingdom would be taken over by dark-skinned strangers from the north. So the Chwezi departed from Bunyoro, no one knows where. Meantime, the diviner went back to his own country in the north, and there he met the sons of Kyomya, who was Isimbwa's son by his first wife. Kyomya had married in the country to the north of the Nile, and had settled down there. The diviner told Kyomya's sons that they should go south and take over the abandoned Nyoro kingdom of their Tembuzi grandfathers. There were four brothers altogether: Nyarwa, the eldest; the twins Rukidi Alpuga and Kato Kimera; and Kiiza, the youngest. They were the first Bito. When the Bito first arrived in Bunyoro, they seemed strange and uncouth to the inhabitants. It is said that half of Rukidi's body was black and half white, a reference to his mixed descent. So began the reign of the powerful Bito dynasty, which has lasted up to the present. See also: Chwezi, Ndahura, Nyamiyonga, Ruhanga.

Subjects: Religion.


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