The Watch

Wamala King’s Tombs

Nansana, Wakiso District, Uganda

2010 World Monuments Watch

Kabaka Suuna II was King of Buganda, the largest of the traditional territories that now make up the nation of Uganda. During his reign in the middle of the 19th century, he became the first king to admit outside traders into Bugunda. He had 148 wives and sired 218 children, and when he died, he was the last king to have his jawbone (which was believed to contain his spirit) placed in a royal shrine staffed by his descendants. The Wamala King’s tombs, including the shrine of Kabaka Suuna II, are one of only two such tomb complexes remaining in Uganda. Wamala remains a very important site for traditional religious practices hosted by the royal family, a place where the Kabaka and his representatives frequently carry out important rituals allowing them to communicate with their ancestors. The descendants of the kings continue to provide occasional maintenance at the site, but their efforts have not been sufficient to rethatch the roofs of the tombs as frequently as necessary. Watch listing this highly significant heritage site could help revitalize community engagement in its stewardship.

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