Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Different UNESCO Treatment of the Tombs of Buganda's Kabakas

The tombs of Buganda Kabaka at Kasubi are a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are four tombs at the site, which dates to the latter part of the 19th century. The Kabaka's were the historical kings of the Baganda, considered to have divine aspects, and often quite brutal in their rule.

V. S. Naipaul describes his 2008 visit to Kasubi in his book, The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief. His driver was easily able to find the site for his visit. It was in reasonably good condition, and there were people in attendance.

Unfortunately, in 2011 the building shown above burned down. When President Museveni went to visit the site of the fire, Bagandan people protested, distrusting him and his government in part since he was from another tribe. It is now the intention of the government to rebuild the site.

Source: BBC News
Naipaul also visited the Wamala Tombs, the resting place of Kabaka Suuna II in a suburb of Uganda. It is not a World Heritage site. Naipaul's driver had some trouble finding the place, and it was far less well  maintained or attended.

One wonders why the heritage of Kasubi is more worthy of UNESCO recognition than that of Wamala. Why is the one being restored while the other rests in obscurity? Is it simply that the tourist trade is satisfied with the one and does not require the second.

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