Kagera - Bukoba - Tanzania
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Culture heritage and traditions

Traditional dance - ngomaTraditional dance
“Ngoma” is the major traditional dance. Traditional dances come in a variety of styles including Omutoro, Amayaga, Mulekule, Amakondele, Akasimbo.

There are traditional songs, which differ in area of origin and status, such as funeral ceremony songs, spiritual and wedding songs. There are a variety of music instruments and dancing attire too.

Story telling
SStories and legends of ancient times are commonly told at night when the family gathers for exchanging views. Stories are normally narrated by the elders. They have their meaning in strengthening norms and conducts of the young and the roles of gender. They are called “Engano” in Kihaya.

Traditional architecture / crafts
Traditional houses are called “Mushonge” these are round grass houses strengthened by large poles of tree (enyomyo). What is unique is that the construction begins with the roof rather than the ground foundation. People have gradually changed to muddy houses and iron sheet roofs. Presently most people construct brick houses and iron sheet or tile roofs. The Region has craftsmen dealing with basketry, pottery, canoe and boat building and various other forms of art and crafts.

Western architecture (German and English) as well as Arab architecture (especially mosques) can be seen in many places. Traders and explorers of those origins introduced them.

Agriculture in rural Regions is mainly on banana plants.Rural agricultural practices & rural life
This is a very broad area encompassing the full culture of the people of this land. Rights of passage are very elaborate and people are closely knit in grief and in joy.

Kagera Region’s inhabitants are mostly peasants tending small patches of land. Agriculture in rural regions mainly involves cultivation of banana plants, beans, maize and root plants as well as cash crops like coffee, cotton, sugar – cane, tea and vanilla. Some people a few cows for milk and manure. People are keep some goats and chicken.

Fishing villages
Dotted along the shores of Lake Victoria are numerous fishing villages. Most of the fishermen are local and thus they use traditional technology. The most famous villages near Bukoba Town are Igabiro fishing village in Bugabo, Musila Island, Kifungwi and Nyamukazi.

Traditional medicines
Kagera Region is well known nationally for skilled its herbalists. The Region has large variety of plants used for the healing of humans, livestock and treating crop plants. Among famous medicinal trees is the “Muarobaini” which treats over 40 diseases. In Bukoba, a group of 5 professionals have initiated a garden to preserve and conserve traditional medicinal plants of Kagera. The project located 5 kilometres from Bukoba Town center is named LAVIBOGAM (Lake Victoria Botanical Garden of Medicinal plants).

Iron smith works
Rocks rich in iron ores are widely found in Kagera and there are several well-known clans of iron smelters in the region. Their activities have been speculated to date back to the Iron Age. Close to Bukoba there lies the village of Kibuye where one of these ancient iron smith clans still live.

Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the World convene at the Nyakijoga shrineReligious shrines and rock art
Historically there were large trees that were used as places of sacrifices and prayer to the ancestors (Ekigabiro). There were miniature huts and other forms of spiritual following. Today, these are rare if any.

With Christianity, Kagera Region became famous in producing the first African Roman Catholic Cardinal (the now Late Cardinal Laurian Rugambwa) and a world famous leader of the Lutheran Church (the Late Bishop Kibira).

Of the Catholic Church there is Nyakijoga a shrine world famous for the miracle powers of the healing waters blessed in the name of the Virgin Mary the Mother of Jesus. Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the world convene at this shrine which is indeed recognized as the Lourdes of Africa after the Lourdes of France.

Close to Nyakijoga you come to Nyangoma ancient rocks paintings have been discovered. There are hundreds of these paintings in caves overlooking a very attractive valley. There are located in Bukoba District.