The Njovu (Elephant) Clan

The Elephant

I. The Clan Hierrachy

Ow'Akasolya (Clan Head): Mukalo

Akabbiro (Minor Totem): Nvubu (Hippopotamus)

Obutaka (Clan Seat): Kambugu, Busiro

Omubala (Clan Motto): Nsimbye Amasanga, Nakate ajja.

There are seven main Clan Elders (Ab'amasiga) under Mukalo:

1. Kikomeko at Lubu, Mawokota
2. Ggulu at Busabala, Kyaddondo
3. Kakembo at Zzirannumbu, Kyaddondo
4. Ntambi at Lubya, Kyaddondo
5. Ssebanyiiga at Kyazi(kojja), Kyaggwe
6. Ssentomero at Zzinga, Kyaggwe
7. Ssemakadde at Mpuku, Kyaggwe


II. Clan Origin

It is said that when Kintu (the founding King of Buganda) came to Buganda, he came along with Ssessanga as one of his followers, who was carrying Kintu's spears and shields. When Kintu settled at Nnono, he gave Ssessanga a place at a village called Ntonyeze in Busujju. While at Ntonyeze Ssessanga fathered a son, called Mukalo. When Ssessanga died, Mukalo became his heir. King Ccwa I transferred Mukalo from Ntonyeze and gave him a place at Kambugu, in Busiro. Since that time Kambugu is the seat (Butaka) of the Njovu clan. Mukalo is the founding father of the clan.


III. Functions of the Clan at the Kabaka's Palace

1. The most important function of the clan is looking after the Kabaka's cows. The work is done by Mutaka Ssensalire of Kawoko, son of Ntambi of Lubya.

The principal cow of the Kabaka looked after by Ssensalire is called "Mugumba" (azaala bagenyi). The flute he uses while herding the cow is called "Takiwereza" (y'akiyita ekitunzi). The flute was given to him by the Kabaka. And the staff he uses to herd is called "Beerampya" (beerabira emiryango).

Whenever a King ascended the throne, he would give Ssensalire a cow to herd. This cow used to come from Mukasa of Ssese. Ssensalire himself and Mpinga of the Lugave clan would collect the cow from Ssese and bring it to the Kabaka. After seeing it, the Kabaka would hand it over to Ssensalire with the flute (Takiwereza) and the herding staff (Beerampya). This cow provided the fat and the milk used in washing the head of the Kabaka after his death.

Ssensalire used to have a lot of herdsmen from Ssese and from the mainland to help him look after the Kabaka's cows.

There is an interesting story about how Ssensalire got the job of looking after the Kabaka's cows.

Once upon a time Mukalo asked his grandson Ssensalire to go with the sons of other clan elders (abataka) who were to accompany prince Kimera from Bunyoro when he was coming to inherit the throne of his ancestors in Buganda. Prince Kimera asked Mpinga of the Lugave clan, son of Kasoma of Migadde to look after his cows and to carry the milk he (the prince) would drink on the way.

While on the way, there was a person who committed a very serious crime. He was tried and sentenced to death. The prince asked Mpinga to carry out the death sentence. Before executing the culprit, Mpinga asked Ssensalire to help him hold the pot of milk so that he would carry out the execution. Ssensalire agreed to help him. When he had finished the execution, Mpinga asked Ssensalire to return to him the prince's pot of milk. However Ssensalire refused.

Mpinga decided to bring the case of Ssensalire's refusal before the prince and the elders. The elders asked Ssensalire why he had refused to hand back the pot. Ssensalire replied, "After Mpinga had carried out the execution, I saw that his hands were full of blood and therefore not worthy to touch the treasure (pot) of the prince."

After deliberation, the prince and the elders found that Ssensalire was justified. And since that time Ssensalire was formally given the job of looking after the Kabaka's cows. In return Mpinga was given the job of chief executioner. It is from this story of Mpinga that comes the Luganda saying, "Nkwatirako bwe bumbowa."

2. Another function was that of fishing the small fish "enkejje Walulenzi" that was used during the birth initiation rites (okwalula) of the Kabaka's children. This work was done by Ssempyangu, Son of Ggulu of Busaabala Kyaddondo.

3. Another function was that of playing the xylophone (amadinda) and the drums called "Ennyeenya."

4. Another function was making some barkcloth for the Kabaka. This work was done by Katale of Ssunga, Son of Kikomeko of Lubu, Mawokota.


IV. NAMES OF THE NJOVU CLAN:

The following are some of the common names given to members of the Njovu Clan.

1. MALE NAMES:

Ssemmambo, Kakembo, Ggalabuzi, Kikomeko, Ssentomero, Ssevviiri, Muzingu, Batte, Sseddyabanne, Ssentulubalo, Ssezzooba, Ssettyabule, Mbazzi, Kiro, Ssebbaale, Ssessanga, Ssenteza, Ssozi, Ssegujja, Ssekandi, Bitalo, Ssekimpi, Ntambi, Wavvuvuumira, Kayaaye, Ssengo, Katunda, Kayiga, Ssenyomo, Ssemaanyi, Ssemukina, Nkayiivu, Ssensalire,

2. FEMALE NAMES:

Nnassanga, Nnanteza, Nnassozi, Nnagujja, Nnakandi, Nnabitalo, Nnamaato, Nnakate, Nnabatte, Nnabwato, Nnambatuusa, Nnamukina, Nakayiga, Nnabbaale, Namaanyi, Nnantambi, Nnabuule


V. Kings (Bassekabaka) whose mothers belonged to the Njovu Clan.

1. Kagulu Tebutwereke

2. Jjunju

3. Ssemakokiro

4. Muteesa I


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