X – Files from the village


By Denis Wabuyi


There are these birds called nanditi and nadyole. Nanditi should not be eaten because it causes “bitumu” especially among the children. So when we saw 3 boys at home all infected with bitumu on their heads we just knew that they must have eaten ‘’nanditi” despite their continuous denial.

All refused to confess until the young one was threatened with canes by their grandmother.  Then we have bikhomba moosi a skin disease which is catches one when a cow leaks you or you use water that a cow has drunk from.


But we also have ants that are restricted. They are called “butsyabubi” literally meaning “spreaders of bad omen. When you eat “butsyabubi” you risk getting deaf. You lose your sense of hearing. We ridicule Banambutye for having eaten “butsyabubi”.

It hurts Shimanya when he hears anyone say, “Waminyala nga Umunambutye” but it is a humble way of telling someone that they don’t listen or heed to advice/caution.


Tomorrow we have 4 candidates who are lined up for imbalu. After the long days of isonja we can now get to real ceremonies. Tomorrow khukoya then we shall raise dust.

We have lined up the best drummers in the area, a flute “kumulele” and our own Wetaya has even hired “lirubisi” which is sort of a crown. Kumulele and lirubisi are prestigious instruments that you don’t find on every imbalu ceremony.


Today is the day. Being the elder of the child of our grandfather, my father has kept their family regalia, the family stuff “imimbo” for the imbalu candidates, the great stool, “namukyisu”, the gourd, “imuka” and other items we never got to know about and their importance until the day I was circumcised.

Therefore it means that the family circumcision ground “lushaa” was shifted the time the day we had last funeral rights for our grandfather.


Today is the second day for the candidates. What we did mostly was moving the basinde around home. We moved around soliciting gifts from surrounding villagers. We acknowledge that people of today are not as generous as the previous generations.


This is the final day. The day when the candidates are circumcised. Being that they are 4, they had to choose 1 ground as their last before coming to face the knife and they had chosen Busoba. Before we could leave, we visited Bamakombe for blessings.

This ritual happens at the clan burial ground. But in doing so, the candidates must avoid graves of people that were barren, were buried before circumcision or those with bad record while they lived. Good enough all candidates were circumcised and successfully.


Too exhausted to even know that there is church. Anyway we are not regular and no one will miss us.

Till then, we shall keep you posted.

Denis is an accountant. He writes the X – Files from the village every Thursday.

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