The Luganda Society was established in 1950 through the efforts of the late Michael Bazzebulala Nsimbi. Being a man of vision, he saw the detrimental effects that colonialism was having on the local culture and the long term implications for society as a whole. The reckless adoption of European ways was leading to unwarranted neglect of local customs, language and culture. In particular, the Luganda language was becoming corrupted through heedless use of Luganda words without paying attention to proper usage and bastardized through wanton adoption of foreign terms. Language being central to culture, this was also resulting in abandonment of the Kiganda culture. Long a pioneer in promoting the use of Luganda, Nsimbi decided to join with others of like mind to form the Luganda Society with the key goals of preserving, popularizing and promoting the use of Luganda to both Baganda and non-Baganda. At the same time he was emphatic in promoting this same spirit among other Ugandans in regard to their respective local languages and cultures.
The specific aims of the Society were:
Since 1958, the society has been running a regular program on Radio Uganda to promote teaching and learning of Luganda and various aspects of Buganda's culture. It has organized Luganda language competitions over the air which are open to Baganda and non-Baganda alike.
In 1959, the society started organizing language competitions in the schools, again regardless of tribe. In 1965, the society started offering scholarships to the best students in Luganda. In 1994, this scholarship program was designated the Dr. Nsimbi Scholarship Scheme in honor of the great work that Dr. Nsimbi did for the society and in promoting Luganda.
In 1960, the society initiated a project to write a comprehensive dictionary of Luganda. Being a voluntary effort, this proved to be a slow task. Unfortunately, a lot of the work that had been accomplished was destroyed following the political crisis that faced the nation in 1966. With the return of relative stability, the society has revived this effort and it is now one of its highest priority projects.
1n 1963, the society organized the very first Pageant of Uganda. This was a cultural festival held at Uganda's National Theater in Kampala, highlighting Uganda's many cultures. Participants came from all parts of the country.
From its inception, the society has worked hard to promote the teaching of Luganda at all levels of the education system. Even when formally trained Luganda teachers were unavailable, the society helped those taking on the task by providing training materials and sample examinations. In all this, it worked closely with the Ministry of Education. In 1976, a Luganda language curriculum was established for the first time at Makeerere University, the country's only university at the time. This was largely possible through the efforts of society members Dr. Walusimbi, a linguistics professor at the university and M.B. Nsimbi, then chairman of the society. This was valuable in producing graduates well versed in the language. Subsequently, a high school curriculum was introduced in 1979 and a curriculum for the National Teachers' Colleges (training secondary school teachers) was established in 1984. In 1988, a Luganda Teachers Association was formed to facilitate networking and communication between the teachers of Luganda. In 1994 a curriculum for Teacher Training Colleges (training primary school teachers) was established. Coming at a time when the central government did not have a coherent policy towards the teaching of indigenous languages, the work of the society has been truly exemplary.
The Society headquarters are at 8 William Street, Kampala and the postal address is
P.O. Box 30059
The above information is adapted from "Ekibiina ky'Olulimi Oluganda", written and published by the Luganda Consultancy Bureau, Kampala Uganda 1995.
In 1989, Makeerere University awarded Michael B. Nsimbi an honorary doctoral degree (Doctor of Letters, Honours Causy). This was in recognition of his efforts to preserve and promote Uganda's indigenous languages, his numerous Luganda books and articles, as well as his extensive research efforts into the Luganda language and Buganda's cultural heritage. Nsimbi died on March 5, 1994; just five days short of his 84th birthday. During his lifetime, he had authored or co-authored more than twenty different books in or about Luganda. He received numerous other awards for his work including the MBE in 1960 and The Independence Medal in 1963.
Featuring the words "Ssaabasajja Kabaka Awangaale" (Long Live The King), this beautiful pin will proudly proclaim to the world your love for Buganda and its culture. Through the generosity of Mr. Sekanwagi, proceeds from sell of the pin will go to support the work of the Luganda Society in Uganda. A special discount for organizations and groups promoting Buganda's culture is available. For more details, contact Dan Sekanwagi directly at firstname.lastname@example.org