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Uganda: Uganda Art / Culture Profile 2012

2012/04/05

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Uganda Art / Culture Profile 2012

The culture of Uganda is made up of a complex and diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking peoples, who dominate much of east, central and southern Africa. In Uganda they include the Baganda and several other tribes. In the north live the Lango and the Acholi, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.

Music

Each ethnic group has its musical history; songs are passed down from generation to generation. Ndigindi and entongoli(lyres), ennanga (harp), amadinda (xylophone, see Baganda Music) and lukeme (lamellophone ("thumb piano")) are commonly played instruments. An Acholi, Okot p'Bitek, is one of Uganda's most famous writers of folklore, satirical poems and songs. His book Song of Lawino (1966) describes the stories told in Acholi songs.

Religion

Christians make up 85.1% of Uganda's population.[1] There were sizeable numbers of Sikhs and Hindus in the country until Asians were expelled in 1972 by Idi Amin, following an alleged dream, although many are now returning following an invitation from the new president, Yoweri Museveni. There are also Muslims.

Sport

The Uganda national football team, nicknamed The Cranes, is the national team of Uganda and is controlled by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations. They have never qualified for the World Cup finals; their best finish in the African Nations Cup was second in 1978. Cricket is also one of major sports having made the World Cup in 1975 as part of the East African cricket team. Furthermore Uganda also engages in basketball however this is not well developed, there is a national league played by college students and a few high school students. Uganda hosted and won a regional tournament in 2006 other countries that participated were Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Growing in populariy in the country is rugby, the National team has been growing stronger as evidenced by more frequent victories and close games against African powerhouses like Namibia and Morocco.

Cuisine

The Cuisine of Uganda consists of traditional cooking with English, Arab and Asian (especially Indian) influences. Like the cuisines of most countries, it varies in complexity, from the most basic, a starchy filler with a sauce of beans or meat, to several-course meals served in upper-class homes and high-end restaurants.

Main dishes are usually centred on a sauce or stew of groundnuts, beans or meat. The starch traditionally comes from ugali (maize meal) or matoke (boiled and mashed green banana), in the South, or an ugali made from pear millet in the North. Cassava, yam and African sweet potato are also eaten; the more affluent include white (often called "Irish") potato and rice in their diets. Soybean was promoted as a healthy food staple in the 1970s and this is also used, especially for breakfast. Chapati, an Asian flatbread, is also part of Ugandan cuisine.

Chicken, fish (usually fresh, but there is also a dried variety, reconstituted for stewing), beef, goat and mutton are all commonly eaten, although among the rural poor there would have to be a good reason for slaughtering a large animal such as a goat or a cow and nyama, (Swahili word for "meat") would not be eaten every day.

Various leafy greens are grown in Uganda. These may be boiled in the stews, or served as side dishes in fancier homes. Amaranth (dodo), nakati, and borr are examples of regional greens.

Ugali is cooked up into a thick porridge for breakfast. For main means, white flour is added to the saucepan and stirred into the ugali until the consistency is firm. It is then turned out onto a serving plate and cut into individual slices (or served onto individual plates in the kitchen).

Language

Uganda is ethnologically diverse, with at least forty languages in usage. Luganda is the most common language. English is the official language of Uganda, even though only a relatively small proportion of the population speaks it. Access to economic and political power is almost impossible without having mastered that language. The East African lingua franca Swahili is relatively widespread as a trade language and was made an official national language of Uganda in September 2005.[2] Luganda, a language widespread in central Uganda, has been the official vernacular language in education for central Uganda for a long time.[3]