The Baganda are the largest single ethnic group in Uganda. They occupy the central part of Uganda which was formerly called the Buganda province.
The Baganda can therefore be found in the present districts of Kampala, Mpigi, Mukono, Masaka, Kalangala, Kiboga, Rakai, Sembabule and Mubende. They are a Bantu-speaking people and their language is called Luganda.
There are abundant traditions about the origins of the Baganda. However, most of these traditions contrast very sharply.
One tradition asserts that the Baganda are descendants of Kintu. A piece of the same tradition claims that Kintu came from heaven while another piece asserts that he came from the east, from the direction of Mt. Elgon and passed through Busoga on his way to Buganda.
Another tradition asserts that the Baganda are the descendants of a people who came from the east or the northeast round about A.D.1300. These people were either Hamites from Ethiopia or Luo from the Sudan. Sir Apollo Kaggwa’s version says that the first Muganda was Kintu and that Kintu came from heaven and landed at Podi harbor in Bunyoro. From Podi, Kintu is said to have moved on to Kibiro and with his companions finally reached Kyadondo and founded the kingdom of Buganda. One could possibly gather that the Baganda came to occupy Buganda from two main directions: one from the east by way of Busoga and another from the west by way of Bunyoro. The best that can be said is that being Bantu speaking, the Baganda originated from central Africa where all the Bantu are said to have originated.
The Baganda believed in superhuman spirits in the form of mizimu, misambwa and Balubaale. The Balubaale were believed to have been men whose exceptional attributes in life were carried over into death. The mizimu were believed to be ghosts of dead people for it was believed that only the body would die and rot but the soul would still exist as omuzimu (singular of mizimu). Such ghosts were believed to operate at the family level to haunt whoever the dead person had grudge with. If the mizimu entered natural objects, they were believed to become misambwa. At another level, the mizimu could become tribal figures and also be known as Balubaale.
The supreme being among the Baganda was the creator, Katonda, believed to have had neither children nor parents. He was said to have created the heavens and the earth with all that they contain. Katonda was however, not believed to be very different from the other Balubaale. In fact he was believed to be one of the seventy-three Balubaale in Buganda. There were three temples for Katonda in Buganda and all of them were situated in Kyaggwe under the care of priests from the Njovu clan.
The other Balubaale had specific functions. The most important among them were: Katonda, Ggulu, god of the sky and the father of Kiwanuka, god of lightning. Then there was Kawumpuli, god of plague, Ndaula, god of smallpox, Musisi, god of earthquakes, Wamala, god of Lake Wamala; and Mukasa, god of Lake Victoria. Musoke was the god of the rainbow and Kitaka was the god of the earth.
There were temples dedicated to the different Balubaale throughout Buganda. Each temple was served by a medium and a priest who had powers over the temple and acted as a liaison
between the Balubaale and the people. In particular clans, priesthood was hereditary, but a priest of the same god could be found in different clans. The priests occupied a place of religious importance within society and they usually availed themselves for consultation.
The kings had special shrines of worship. The royal sister known as Nnaalinya took charge of the king’s temple. There is a tradition among the Baganda that the Balubaale cult was introduced by Kabaka Nakibinge to strengthen his authority and that he combined both political and religious functions for that matter.

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