Works restore Kasubi Royal Tombs to former glory

Wednesday March 09 2022

The restored Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga (main house) at the Kasubi Royal Tombs in Kampala. PHOTO | MBABAZI LUKWAGO | MoTWA


Restoration of the Unesco World Heritage Site that is Kasubi Royal Tombs is at the roofing stage and the site will soon be taken off the List of World Heritage in Danger by year-end.

The burial grounds for Buganda kings, was razed on the evening of March 16, 2010, by an unexplained fire. Since then, fundraisers have been conducted to restore the cultural site.

They have finished the reconstruction and restoration of Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga (main house), renovation of Bujjabukula (gatehouse) and a fire-fighting system.

The new site office is fully kitted with work stations and computers with internet connection. They added documentation (visual and text) of the reconstruction and refinement of the Site Disaster Risk Management Plan that will enhance the heritage conservation aspect to safeguard its Outstanding Universal Values.

The project will also establish model farms for thatching grass, reeds and the Misambya (Markhamia lutea) trees.

The Kasubi Royal Tombs of Buganda Kings were inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2001. After the destruction of the site, the site was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Heritage Committee.


Respect values

David Kyewalabye Male, a member of the committee and Minister of Tourism and Culture in Buganda Kingdom said, “The reconstruction would have been a simple task if all we had to do was to put up an architectural masterpiece. However, the intangible cultural intricacies (of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity) required utmost attention to values that make Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga different from other grass-thatched houses. We have respected those values,” Male said.

Unesco’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, Prof.Hubert Gijzen visited the Kasubi Royal Tombs on February 24, to check on the progress of the reconstruction. The reconstruction was also partly funded by the government and officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, Uganda National Commission for Unesco, Buganda Kingdom, and Kasubi Reconstruction Committee.

Prof Gijzen termed his visit to Buganda Kingdom the highlight of his trip in the sub region. “Visiting such sites is important because they tell a story, and enable us to reflect on a history,” he said.

“The next step should be to turn this facility into a flourishing site,” Prof Gijzen suggested. “The creative industry should bring more action to attract tourists. We hope tourists will return to this site if it goes back to the original list. There should be traditional food and creative industry product stands to attract visitors and contribute to the sustainability of the site.”