Bagisu Culture in Eastern Uganda

The Basigu are the people from eastern Uganda who settled down on the western slope of Mount Elgon. Basigu is believed to have originated from the mountains. Their forefather Masaba appeared from a cave in the same Mountain (Mount Elgon). Masaba also a name for the mountains is said to still be living on the upper slope of the mountain and that he still holds several meeting which is portrayed by stones laid in form of chairs and table. The beauty of the mountain as attracted safaris visits Uganda.

The Basigu are among the few tribes practicing circumcision which is also known as imbalu. The legend being the circumcision is that there was a Mugisu man who had a record of seducing his neighbors’ wives and therefore he was taken before the committee of elders who ordered that he should be castrated as punishment and a warning for every man who goes into seducing other men’s wives. Their plan backfired when the offender recovered and went back to his old ways of seducing other men’s wives even more than before he was circumcised. After seeing this, his haters also decide that they too should be circumcised in order to complete the sexual favors.

The circumcision is an important occasion in Basigu society. A boy will undergo a ritual of passage to manhood that includes the entire local community. The circumcision age is between 16 to 25 years and anybody in the age range can announce his intention in May or June and spend the rest of the months organizing for the ceremony in August.

During the ceremony, the boys to be circumcised will have their faces plastered bin ash and they are stripped half-naked below the waist on the way to the circumcision ground where they line up in front of the crowd of family and friends both female and male where the ritual is done.

Circumcision is believed to increase the sexual drive of a man and also a passage to adulthood. A man who is not circumcised is considered young and does not give views in public. This activity is done almost yearly.