On August 11, 2018, the cultural leader of the Bagisu, Umukuka Webamasaba Bob Mushikori, will officially open the circumcision ceremony, Imbalu, in Mutoto village, Bungokho Sub County, Mbale district.
This ceremony is held every even year among the Bagisu, who live both in Uganda and Kenya, to initiate boys into manhood.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyata are expected to grace the function, according to Sarah Maswele Wasaki the Mbale district woman cultural leader.
Previous events have been organised by districts but this year’s event is being organised by Inzu Ya Masaba, which means the House of Masaba, led by the Umukuka, under the theme: “Imbalu Inauguration 2018: Say No to HIV/AIDS, Conserve the Environment to Promote Tourism and Economic Empowerment in Masaba land.”
What makes up the Inzu Ya Masaba?
Wasaki says the Inzu Ya Masaba is the Bugisu cultural administration that is headed by the cultural leader, Umukuka. “Inzu Ya Masaba is formed by getting delegates from all the 27 clans, commissioners appointed by the Umukuka, representatives of women, special interest group, youth and the elderly all led by Umukuka.
She adds that all the Bagisu clans come from five major clans. These include: Mwambu, Mukhuya, Wanale of Uganda and Tranzoya and Ongoma of Kenya.
How Kadodi inspires the ceremony
Kadodi is the official cultural dance that is used during these celebrations. When Kadodi is drummed, a Mugisu woman may leave food at the cook stove run after the drummers and dances.
Wasaki explains why this is so: “Kadodi is the only dance where you run ten miles dancing and enjoying. It is so sweet that even if one is cooking you run after it before you go back to your cooking.”
Among the Bagisu, a person is only regarded a man when they are circumcised, especially in the traditional way.
Masaki says the presidents of Uganda and Kenya, Yoweri Museveni and Uhuru Kenyata respectively are expected to grace this year’s ceremony. Between 500,000 1m people are expected in Mutoto this year.
Security heightened this year
The Elgon region police spokesperson Sowed Mansur says that security personnel have already been deployed in Mutoto to ensure peaceful celebrations.
“We have built a police post in the venue people are already in the place. Officers in non uniforms shall be deployed to ensure that peace prevail there,” he says.