Kigezi (Uganda)

The colonial district of Kigezi in Uganda was made up of the independent precolonial kingdoms and clan territories of Rukiga, Rubanda, Ndorwa, Bufumbira, Kayonza, Kinkiizi and Rujumbura. It is home to the Batwa, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Bashambo and other peoples from Rwanda and the Congo and was officially incorporated into the Uganda Protectorate in 1908. Three sections of the original montane rain forest that once swathed the mountains west of the Albertine Rift valley survive on the Virunga Volcanoes, Bwindi and Echuya. Parts are home to the iconic Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanxee and a host of rare endemic species.

More formidable were monsters who could not converse with men and never showed themselves unless they saw a woman pass by; then, in voluptuous excitement, they squeezed them to death.
John Hannington Speke, 1861 (The first written reference to African Mountain Gorilla folklore)

Talking to a man, and a nice man too. I asked him why not a woman or girl from his fence (compound) ever came to church or to read. Answering by a question, as a native often does, he said: "Would you teach a cow or send a cow to church?"
Contance Hornby, 1930s (On safari among the Bakiga)

Kigezi Mountain Mosaic


Kigezi Mountain Mosaic is an exploration of Kigezi colonial district which covers the modern districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu and Rukungiri in south-west Uganda, bordering the DR Congo and Rwanda. The book (256,000 words & 140 photos) is primarily a review of secondary sources researched in 2011-12.

A description of Mgahinga (Virunga Mountains) and Bwindi national parks is given; best known for the rare Mountain Gorilla and Golden Monkey. Many other species are described, from the tiny rare Delaney's Mouse to the elephant, via primates, deer and Albertine Rift birds and other endemics. It includes the recently locally extinct leopard (once a notorious man-eater), situtanga and hippo.

There are extensive descriptions of the origins, history (with clan notes), settlement, economy, culture, language and religion (including Nyabingi) of the Batwa (forest dwellers, traders and conservation refugees), Bakiga and Bafumbira (traditional mixed farmers).

Colonial conquest is detailed with an exploration of the fundamental economic, cultural, political and religious changes wrought by European rule and post-independence globalisation. There is an analysis of modern day life and the challenges of migration, dense rural population, gender, agriculture, employment, environment, tourism and people, national park and wildlife interactions.

There are biographies of influential people (African and European), descriptions from contemporary literature from 1910, and a large bibliography that covers published and unpublished literature on all research topics with a guide to archives and libraries.

Available online at: Smashwords in the following formats: Online Reading, Kindle, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm Doc (PDB) and Plain Text (download and view).

A 20% sample of the book is free from all publishers.

Price $6.99

Kigezi Colonial Mosaic

Kigezi Colonial Mosaic (2019) is the 2nd book on Kigezi History that focuses on the colonial period with major transcripts of important colonial source: Captain Coote's daily diary of the Kivu Mission of 1909-1910; DC Elliot's memoirs of Kigezi of the 1920s; and over 200 case synopses of traditional marriage law disputes in Native Courts, primarily dealing with brideprice disputes but including inheritance and criminal cases of a sexual nature.

Additional articles include a biography of Muhumuza that includes new info from Rwandan sources and English archives, DC Philipp's 1919 article on Nyabingi and how the knowledge transferred to Jamaica and Rastafari, various published descriptions of Kigezi; a colonial assessment of the district, 1959, in the beginning of the Resettlement period; and finishes with the minutes of the 1970 History Conference in Kabale that prepared for the publication of the 1972 History of Kigezi

  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 The Colonial Impact on Kigezi Society, a review
  • Chapter 3 Names have Histories
  • Chapter 4 Bakiga 'Anarchy' Myth
  • Chapter 5 Muhumuza (c. 1870-1944/5)
  • Chapter 6 Kivu Mission, The Coote Diaries, 1909-10
  • Chapter 7 1920 Uganda Handbook, Kigezi
  • Chapter 8 Nyabingi, DC Philipps' article, 1919
  • Chapter 9 DC Elliot's Memoirs, 1920s and later
  • Chapter 10 1935 Uganda Guide, Kigezi
  • Chapter 11 Traditional Marriage Law in the Native Courts, 1935-61, 200 synopses
  • Chapter 12 How Jamaica learnt of Muhumuza and Nyabingi
  • Chapter 13 1950 Saben Guide, Kigezi
  • Chapter 14 1953 Colonial Assessment of Kigezi
  • Chapter 15 1959 Colonial description of Kigezi
  • Chapter 16 1960 Uganda Travelogue, Kigezi
  • Chapter 17 1970 History Conference, Kabale
  • Appendices
  • 1 Kigezi Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1930s to 1960s, incomplete statistics
  • 2 Kigezi Poll Tax Returns, 1930s to 1960s, incomplete statistics
  • 3 Ruanda Mission Notes
  • 4 White Father Notes
  • 5 Additional Bibliography
  • This is a pre-print of a forthcoming ebook and available on PDF only. Cost $6.99 payable via PayPal to iancantwell(at)gmail(dot)com

    Table of Contents of Kigezi Mountain Mosaic

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Nature
  • Chapter 1.1 Origins
  • Chapter 1.2 Life's Evolutionary Express
  • Chapter 1.3 Parks and Forests
  • Chapter 1.4 Mountain Gorillas
  • Chapter 1.5 Other Primates
  • Chapter 1.6 Carnivores
  • Chapter 1.7 Even-Toed Ungulates
  • Chapter 1.8 Other Mammal Orders
  • Chapter 1.9 On the Wing
  • Chapter 1.10 Game Department
  • History, Geography and Culture
  • Chapter 2.1 Historical Origins
  • Chapter 2.2 Settlement, Households, Exchange and Trade
  • Chapter 2.3 Agriculture
  • Chapter 2.4 Kingdoms and Clans
  • Chapter 2.5 Kigezi and Rwanda
  • Chapter 2.6 Kayonza, Kinkiizi and Rujumbura
  • Chapter 2.7 Society on the Cusp of European Invasion
  • Chapter 2.8 Colonial Conquest
  • Chapter 2.9 Colonial Control and Local Politics
  • Chapter 2.10 Aspects of Life in Colonial Times
  • 2.11 Health and Medicine
  • Chapter 2.12 Migration and Resettlement
  • Chapter 2.13 Independence
  • Chapter 2.14 Modern Land Issues
  • People
  • Chapter 3.1 Batwa History
  • Chapter 3.2 Batwa Culture
  • Chapter 3.3 Bakiga
  • Chapter 3.4 Bafumbira
  • Chapter 3.5 Clan Histories
  • Chapter 3.6 Birth to Death
  • Religion
  • Chapter 4.1 Traditional Religion
  • Chapter 4.2 Nyabingi Histories
  • Chapter 4.3 Nyabingi Practices
  • Chapter 4.4 Christian Histories
  • Chapter 4.5 Christianity Practices
  • Chapter 4.6 Kanungu Tragedy
  • Miscellaneous
  • Chapter 5.1 Biographies
  • 5.1.1 Barham Lawrence
  • 5.1.2 Basebye
  • 5.1.3 Hornby Constance
  • 5.1.4 Kaigirirwa
  • 5.1.5 Kalimuzo Frank
  • 5.1.6 Karagyesa, Edward Sulimani
  • 5.1.7 Katuregye
  • 5.1.8 Kitegana Yohana
  • 5.1.9 Kivengere Festo
  • 5.1.10 Muhumuza
  • 5.1.11 Nicolet Joseph
  • 5.1.12 Ndungutsi
  • 5.1.13 Ntokiibiri
  • 5.1.14 Ngologoza Paul
  • 5.1.15 Nyakairima
  • 5.1.16 Nyindo
  • 5.1.17 Philipps James Erasmus Tracy
  • 5.1.18 Pursglove John W
  • 5.1.19 Shalita Ernest M
  • 5.1.20 Sharp Leonard
  • 5.1.21 Stanley Smith Algernon
  • Chapter 5.2 Lake Bunyoni
  • Chapter 5.3 Lake Bunyoni Leprosy Settlement
  • Chapter 5.4 21st Century Kabale and Kisoro
  • Chapter 5.5 Select Glossary
  • Chapter 5.6 Rainfall and Temperature
  • Chapter 5.7 1931 Census Returns
  • Descriptions
  • Chapter 6.1 Introduction
  • Chapter 6.2 People
  • Chapter 6.3 Places
  • Chapter 6.4 Long Descriptions
  • 6.4.1 Riddick
  • 6.4.2 Roscoe
  • 6.4.3 Worthington
  • 6.4.4 Gower
  • 6.4.5 Huxley
  • 6.4.6 Heminway
  • Chapter 7 Bibliography
  • Chapter 8 Lighter Side of Uganda
  • Gorilla Highlands


    Gorilla Highlands (2nd edition July 2013) on the iPad is a multitouch tourist guide containing c. 400 pages of information about southwestern Uganda.

    Gorilla Highlands, Uganda's official entry to the 2013 World Summit Award , was judged to be one of the five winners in the e-culture and tourism category. The awards are made by the World Summit on the Information Society in recognition of the creative use of interactive digital media in content and diversity.

    The Travel Guide offers quality advice on accommodation, food and travel that has greater levels of detail compared with regional and Ugandan guides due to its regional focus and the team's knowhow and local knowledge.

    The In-Depth Companion is a comprehensive description of history and culture, parks and wildlife which targets Ugandans as well as international readers.

    Studio Edirisa is a Ugandan-based multimedia social enterprise that believes that Ugandans must appreciate their culture and history for the country to truly prosper. We also promote and support cultural tourism as a means of economic development.

    Available online at

    Gorilla Highlands is an Studio Edirisa production. You can follow their projects on Facebook and .

    A PDF synopsis can be found here

    Price $14.99