Traditional Activities

Traditional activities

There are a number of economic activities that are participated in by different groups of people in the district as there are the Banyankole, Bakiga, Bahororo, Bahima and the Banyarwanda. These economic activities include the following;


There are different swampy areas in the district where there are different types if fish with the common ones being the mudfish. There are other fishing grounds like Lake Nyabihoko that has different species of fish, the fish ponds like Bagarukayo family fishing grounds in Rwemiriro village, Kishami parish and Kigaaga fishing ponds in Kigaaga, Kashenyi in Ngoma sub-county.

There are traditional methods of fishing that are used like the use of hooks which are made of the bicycle spikes, the fishing baskets that are made of the materials from the papyrus reeds.

Livestock farming:

Livestock farming is very common among the people in Ntungamo district especially the areas inhabited by the Bahima and the Banyarwanda. The common animals reared include cattle, goats and the sheep.

Ankole as known for having been inhabited by the Bachwezi has the common Ankole cattle the are said to have been introduced by them the are characterised by the long horns are quite special in the area


The method of milking of the cows is also another exciting experience to the tourists as it is mostly done by the boys and men in most cases as the person squats and puts the container between the legs and use of two hands during milking.

The naming of the animals is also very important among the cattle rearing areas. Different names are given to different cows depending on the sex, whether it has already produced or not, their sizes of the animals their colour, the size and shape of the   animal and the origin of the cow. Some example of the names include Koozi (before it produces), Kyoozi (after it has produced) and Rwoozi (if it is a bull)

The huts are very special to the areas that commonly inhabited by the Bahima and the Banyarwanda. This kind of architecture is in a way they that it is put in or near the kraal mainly for the calves and the others being in the kraal (Orugo)

The people especially the Bahima and Banyarwanda have their special way of milk storage where by they use the milk pots (Ebyanzi-pl) that are kept in a special place (Orugyeegye) and the gourds of different sizes and shapes (Ebirere-pl) that keep hanging in space as if they want to fall down with the reason being to stop the small insect from reaching there.

There is the sharing of the responsibilities and of which the women are the ones for the preparation of ghee in the special process using the calabash-like gourd locally known as Ekyishaabo.

 Crop farming:


Coffe Farming

Crop farming is the one that is common among the Bairu who are the cultivators and there are different crops that are grown by the people with the common one being the bananas that happens to be the staple food crop of the people. There are vast plantations of bananas in the area of which there is the traditional means that is used in the planting of the bananas especially the hand hoes which are still commonly used.

The other traditional crops that are grown in the area include millet which very common among the Banyankole and sorghum which is common among the Bakiga.

The Banyankole and the Bakiga have maintained the traditions in the growing of millet and sorghum on the method and the tools that are used both in the growing and the harvesting like the special knives which are used. Cultural traditions have also been maintained in the harvesting where by it is done communally as the garden owner calls other people the come and they harvest together.


There is also an interesting way of the storage of the harvest where by there are the granaries which are use that are made from the local materials.

Preparation of the local brew

This is also another economic activity that is practiced by the cultivators in the area. The process starts with cutting of the block bananas which are put in ground in the special hole-like depression (Entabo) and covered with the soil to add warmth for 3 day after which the soil is removed for more 2 days.


After 5 days, the ripe bananas are peeled and put in the canoe-like wooden thing where it is squeezed to make juice. The juice is then mixed with the roasted and ground sorghum and then covered for more warmth for one day and then removed when it ready local brew for taking that is locally known as Tonto.


After a period of about 3-5 days, the local brew is put into the drum and heated through the whole process of distillation and the end result being the local Waragi.


Iron smelting:

It is another common activity that is done by the group of people known as the Abaheesi who are found commonly in the sub-counties of Itojo and Ntungamo. The tools that are mainly made of iron and include; utensils, tools, and arms: spears, pastoral sticks, catapults (shotguns), arrowheads, knives, hoes, axes, and bowls among others.



It is also the traditional activity that was very much common in the early days but it has reduced because the area has been degraded and the areas where it used to take place have been cleared for the different activities but it is still practiced in the areas of Ngoma sub-county. The role of different individuals different among the people as the men are the ones that always go for it as the women and girls remain at home also preparing what to eat

The tools that are common in hunting are the spears, pangas, the arrows and the traps that are made of the plant materials.



There are various types of pottery in Uganda with most of the pots and earthenware saucers being made of clay, and dark soil. Skilled potters slurp the clay and roll it in their hands as they carve products out, without using a kick wheel. Many tribes use clay to make smoking pipes, pots for carrying water and cooking purposes.

They have many gourds, and some of these gourds are used as the traditional containers for beer. Some long-necked gourds are used for collecting drinking water, while others are used for keeping salt (Engyemeko) or cow butter; others are for keeping porridge (Ekisigisiro) and others for cooking different dishes. Many artists in Uganda write on the gourds, or embroider them with tiny beads before sale. Huge gourds are used to carry banana wine on the occasion of funerals and weddings.


Elephant grass and palm leaves provide for the raw material used for mats, baskets, and also woven bee baskets; they are also used to build traps for wild animals. Today also hand bags and wall hangings are made for decorative purposes.

There are several types of baskets made in Ntungamo where by some are used to serve food especially millet bread (Endiiro),some are for storage (Ebiteenga-pl), winnowing (Orugari)and the ones for catching fish (Entukuru). Most of these items are finely and fancifully colored with dye solutions to create intricate patterns and designs, which constitute the products of skilled craftsmen and women.

Hand-woven sewing baskets are woven from wild reeds, and certain strands are dyed with colors from natural sources like plants and fruit, and then woven into the basket to form lovely patterns.  These items are woven from wild reeds, and certain strands are dyed with colors from natural sources like plants and fruit, and then woven into the basket to form lovely patterns.

Gemstones- Jewellery

Humans have adorned themselves with jewellery as far back as history can tell. In Uganda, people have used jewellery made from animal parts such as bone, horns, feathers, teeth, and from stone, seeds, wood, clay and precious metals, etc. to adorn them. There were also produced amulets, necklaces or beads, arm and leg rings with ornaments, bracelets, rings and needles for headdresses.

Drum making:

This is also another activity that is practiced by the people in the district where by the skin of the animal is prepared to dry and then put in water for a few days to make it soft after which it is cut into pieces and the piece is put on the of the cylindrical pre-prepared piece of wood or metal on the both ends of the cylindrical piece.


Brick making

Brick Making in Kahunga

Though the people were using the pieces of wood and mud in the construction of their enclosures, this is another activity that has been practiced for a long period of time that is common in the area. The bricks are made by putting the mixture of clayish soil into a wooden-like box (Akatiba) and later made to dry after which they are heaped  together and burnt with firewood to make them had and ready for construction.

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  1. Pingback: Welcome to Ntungamo Guide | Ntungamo Travel Guide

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