Kasubi Tomb Reconstruction should reflect the changing times!

The greatest lure of tourists to Egypt are the famous pyramids. Built millenia ago, by Africans with neither mortar nor cement, they remain a symbol of ingenuity and a classic work of engineering. In Mali, there are similar works, including structures that housed universities, built using the same technique as the pyramids. Back home, Kisingiri House in the larger Bulange area is another marvel: built with ensambya, enkoma, reeds and mud, and it has stood for over a century.
As Buganda rejoices over the ‘restoration’ of the Kasubi Tombs( amasiro), what exactly is Buganda about it? What indicates age-old architecture, ingenuity, creativity? The whole structure is another ‘modern’ day steel and concrete thing.

Well, times change. Else, we would have expected the restored masiro to be made of ensambya, enkoma, emuli, well-thatched, ceiling lined with embugo, with periodic maintenance according to each clan’s role. You only need to visit Rwanda’s national museum in Huye, to appreciate their architecture. Within the bowls of the museum is a replica of a typical king’s palace, built the the Kinyarwanda way.

Sandra Birungi


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