Their Beliefs and The Bunyoro

The Bunyoro Kingdom is located in Uganda, an east African republic. Following its separation from the Northern Kingdom of Sangora, also known as the Chwezi Empire, the Bunyoro kingdom was founded. The Bunyoro kingdom was established in the 16th century. Despite the fact that the Batembuzi were the original leaders, they were replaced by the Bachwezi, who are therefore regarded as the founders. Individuals known as the Banyoro ruled the Bunyoro kingdom. They spoke a language called Nyoro or Runyoro. Banyoro people arrived in western Uganda after colonization. Today, they live in the western districts of Hoima, Kibale, and Masindi. The paper intends to analyze the beliefs of the Bunyoro people concerning death and organ donation.

Bunyoro’s Beliefs Related to Death

According to Bunyoro people, death is caused by the evil magic, ghosts, and witchcraft. To them, demise is as an actual creature which genuinely exists. When a person dies in the family, there is an established procedure to be followed (Bunyoro, 2013). The first thing they do is to clean the body of the deceased which should only be performed by the oldest woman in the household. The procedure of body cleaning involves cutting the hair, shaving off the beard if the dead is a man, and then finally closing the eyes of the deceased. After that, the family gives room for the community to view the body. But in the process of seeing the body, only women and children are allowed to shed tears. Men are prohibited from crying.

When the deceased is the head of the family, there are some other rituals to be undertaken (Bunyoro, 2013). A special mixture of grain called ensigosigo is poured on the hand of the dead. The children are supposed to eat some part of the grain as a way of passing on his magic powers. After two days of giving last respect to the dead, the body is wrapped in a cloth. Again, when the deceased is the head of the family, the wrapping is done outside, in front of the house. While for a woman it is done inside the building. Pregnant women are not supposed to participate in the burial because the negative forces of magic associated with the funeral are not suitable for the unborn baby. Besides, it is important that everybody who has taken part in the process wash their entire body after the burial. The reason behind this is that the bad magical spirits will destroy the crops. Finally, on burial day all family members of the deceased shave their hair and put them on the grave (Bunyoro, 2013).

Bunyoro’s Beliefs Related to Organ Donation

According to most cultural and spiritual beliefs removal of an organ from a dead person is wrong despite the fact that these convictions are mostly based on inappropriate theories (Bunyoro, 2013). The Bunyoro people believe that the dead should be buried with all body parts. They assume that the body must be intact so that the soul of the deceased can return to its previous life. As the Bunyoro people are Christians, the ideas of the early church are traceable in their ideology. For instance, they are convinced that if the body is incomplete, the dead will not go to heaven. Moreover, people were a bit hesitant to donate organs at death just because of fear of resurrection (Bunyoro, 2013). The belief in restoration to life made them bury their dead only by wrapping them without cremating the body. Therefore, from the above stated it is clear that traditional opinions concerning organs donation are hardly acceptable in the Bunyoro community.


Bunyoro, S.I. (2013). Most of Bunyoro’s hundred and ten thousand or so in. In J. Middleton & E.H. Winter (Eds.), Witchcraft and Sorcery in East Africa (27). London, UK: Routledge.

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