The Ganda People of
Religion: Christianity, Islam
Status: 75% Professed Christians
Location: The Ganda
are the largest of 43 ethnic groups living in
History: The Ganda
people trace their royal line back 250 years. They are a part of the Bantu
people which originated in central
Identity: The Ganda
are sometimes also called Baganda from their
grammatical from of the name meaning "The Ganda
People." They are one of the Bantu peoples and have dark skin, curly
and prominent facial features. They are generally shorter than the Lwo and other Nilotes. The
Ganda are the most urbanized of all tribes of
Language: The language of
the Ganda people is popularly called by the Ganda
word Luganda (meaning simply "Language of
the Ganda People"). It is the primary trade language
across the eastern, central and southern regions of
Like most tribal languages in
Political Situation: The Ganda were key administrative personnel in the colonial administration, and they are distrusted by their countrymen of other tribes. Their prerogatives were enshrined by the British in the first post-colonial constitution, and that is seen to have contributed to the beginning of the instability of the country as a whole.
They continue to ask the government for separate status, and have
reorganized their own legislature after the government acceded to
their king as a cultural leader. Because of their numbers and economic
influence, no person can rule
Customs: The Ganda culture continues to thrive in the villages. There is great respect for the male head of household, and members of the home must kneel as they speak to him. All children may share work equally while young. As they mature, the men take on responsibility outside the home while the women focus on the garden and domestic responsibilities.
They have a strong belief in the spirit world and frequently consult traditional healers, diviners or witch doctors for solutions to the problems of their lives. The village economic system is dominated by the Kabaka (King) and his chiefs through land allocation. With the re-installation of their Kabaka as their cultural leader, they have revived their traditional holidays and celebrate the great events of their people's history.
Religion: The Ganda were the tribe most heavily influenced by the introduction of Anglicanism (Church Missionary Society, 1877), Catholicism (Catholic White Fathers 1879), and Islam by explorers, missionaries and traders. This heritage of religion is deceptive. Many people see Christian and traditional rituals as equally valuable sources of spiritual power.
They observe the rituals of their religion scrupulously, alongside their equally careful practice of the rituals of their traditional beliefs. Many purchase and use the traditional charms to protect their homes, children and gardens from curses.
When problems come, the final appeal is most often made to the spirits of the ancestors through the services of a witch doctor, diviner or traditional healer. About 20 percent of the Ganda are Muslim. Islam was introduced by Swahili and Arab traders in the late 1800s.
Christianity: By 1886, the
introduction of new beliefs had divided the political and cultural
in the royal enclosure at Mengo. Sensing his
of power, Kabaka Mwanga on
Unfortunately, this temporal acceptance led the syncretism of these beliefs with the traditional rituals of the local cultures. Even today, the new Kabaka is honored at coronation by representatives from both churches, who participate in a ceremony that is replete with traditional power rituals and totems.
The East African Revival had great influence on the Ganda. During those years, many Ganda came to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Unfortunately, their heritage was not preserved. The word balokole, meaning “saved one,” can be heard in almost every village, yet it has become simply a term of reference. The "balokole" are legalistic and believe that by sinning they fall from saving grace.
Today, the responsiveness of the Ganda to spiritual issues can be seen by the large crowds that gather for witchcraft demonstrations, religious ceremonies, and evangelical crusade events. People readily believe in God, having been taught from childhood the reality of the spirit world. Evangelical members of the traditional churches profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
THIS PEOPLE'S COUNTRY:
Population: 19,262,600 (1995)
Doubling time: 26 years
Major Languages: Ganda, Soga, Nyoro/Tooro, Lwo,
Official Language: English
Other Towns: Jingo (60,000+), Male (54,000+) Masaka (49,000+)
Urban Dwellers: 11.3%
Birth Rate: 52.1 per 1,000 Crude Death Rate: 17.3 per 1,000
Life Expectancy: male 45.7 years, female 50.5 years
Labor Force: 38.5%
Refugees: people groups from
Religions (1991): Catholicism 7,420,750, Anglicanism 6,538,156, Seventh Day Adventist 179,478, Eastern Orthodox, 4,567, Other Christian 101,445, Muslim 1,750 ,474, Traditional Religion 88,736
Background Questionnaire: The Ganda
People names: Ganda (Baganda)
Language: Ganda (Luganda)
Population: 3,545,463 (1996 est.)
Political Location: Districts of Rakai, Masaka, Kalangala, Mpigi, Mubende, Luwero,
Chief cities and towns:
Religious Profession (1991): Catholic 1,378,249; Anglican (Church of
Scripture: Whole Bible, modern language New Testament
Jesus Film: Luganda
Christian Broadcasting: Radio and TV
Mission Agencies: Numerous denominational and parachurch ministries
1991 Population and Housing
Apuuli. A Thousand Years of the
Cultures of Uganda Kampala,
The Story of
Orville Boyd Jenkins