Babandi is an ethnic clan found in Obudhingiya Bwa Bwamba in Bundibugyo district which speaks Lubwisi language. The Babandi group of people during the mass migration of people in Uganda, they are believed to have migrated from Toro kingdom via Mt. Rwenzori to D.R .Congo to a place known as Kisanji.
The Babandi clan is composed of 12 sub-clans which form 47 ridges termed as Bitubbi in Bwamba culture. Three (3) of the 12 sub-clans namely Bahula, Bandinseliya and Bandiwaruwa all known as Babandi Bemisoli settled in current Bubandi sub-county with 17 ridges. The other 9 sub-clan with 37 ridges (Butubbi) i.e. Bandikuliliya, Bandikiteghanuwa, Baburongu, Bandimagwara, Babukuru, Bandimaghunga, Bandibutunda, Bandikaghuwa and Bandimukererwa settled in matongo, the current Semuliki National Park. Some of the Kibandi clan people remained in D.R. Congo.
By 19th century sleeping sickness disease, termed as Bhangote, attacked the Babandi who settled in Matongo and claimed lives of many Babandi. The then king of Toro ( Rukidi the 1st ) ordered the removal of his subjects from Matongo which was declared a no go zone (carat teen). This was the time when the Babandi got scattered to other places of Rwenzori region running away from sleeping sickness but still died as the conditions in some of the new settlements did not favor them.
After sleeping sickness, by 1974 the then president alhaji Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada allowed the Babandi clan to go back to their ancestral home (Matongo). In 1984 H.E Dr. Milton Obote again ordered the quitting of the Babandi from Matongo, the current Semuliki National Park which had again been affected by sleeping sickness. By 1991, the ancestral home of the Babandi was gazetted as Semuliki National Park for tourism and conserving nature without considering the lives of the natives. In the due process of migrating from Matongo the Babandi lost their belongings like animals and other properties.
THE BABANDI SUB-CLANS
The under mentioned sub-clans of Babandi popularly known as Babandi B’enyanja (people of river Semuliki) are part of the Babandi who had settled in Semuliki National Park and these include:
These stay in a place known as mudhungumano which is at the banks of river Semuliki. These exited through a Mubandi who was known as Musa kyara who produced Saleziyo Kagolo, the clan leader of the Babukuru.
2.Bandimukererwa These stay in a place called Jobha, Magira and mabhubhubu. This clan existed through Soghosuwa Abhula Ezekeli who produced Jubujubu semu who is now the sub-clan leader of Bandimukererwa.
3.Baburongu These stay in a place called Nyabyasa. They exited through Bonaventura who was the chairperson of Buburongi development. It is from this same sub-clan that the Bandinamwaliro sub-clan existed. Bandinamwaliro stay in Ngoyo and their ancestral clan leader is believed to have been Yelemiya Taliwawe.
4.Bandibutunda This sub-clan comprises of two ridges namely Bandinaburogho and Bandinambulumbhe. These stay in a place called Kanasimbe. These belonged to mubghondo, Babulete, Kisambo, Kihungu and Baila. This clan is now ruled by Mr. Federico and Kutumiryanga mikairi who are working as the ridge leaders.
5.Bandimagwara This sub-clan comprises of five ridges namely: Kakande, Nkumbamponi, Bawere, Nsibyahu and Nkumbu. These stayed in places of Sara, Mujumba, Mantora, Kirumya and Hahau. There is a big magical tree called Mbhaligina of Bandimagwara which is in Semuliki National Park. The current ridge leaders are Yolamu Abaluku, Byaruhanga Hannington, Kazora Valentino, Baker Samuel and John kisukwe.
6.Bandimaghunga These stay in a place called Nambhageye (a place of many Columbus monkeys). They bordered with Bandikiteghanuwa clan and up to now they have their cultural heritage sites which were left there. Their ridge leaders include Kibwesere Lawrence, Monday kapeka and Kisoro Ernest.
7.Bandikiteghanuwa These stay in mainly two places of Bhamwomiye and Maphogiya, this where they buried Kyelaghuliya who produced Simpogo who produced Manda, Mukidhi Leo, Mpererwa Lawrence and Bamwitirabye Saleziyo. The ridge leaders are Kiiza, Mwanga and Mbulamaso. The other Bandikiteghanuwa stay in a place called Makikhobo close to the banks to the banks of River Semuliki here there was a man called Mbunano who produced lumbho, died and was buried there. His soul is believed to be living in River Semuliki.
8.Bandikuliya These stay in a place called Ngomba-manti (tree which is bent) neighboring Bandikiteghanuwa. The famous cultural heritage site of the Bandikuliya is called Sibhakanga which is still locked in Semuliki National park and this is the evidence of their former settlement. The sub-clan leader is mr. Bacurana Samson and Alfred Benenego.
9.Bandikaghuwe These stay in Ntokuwe. They neighbor the Bandikiteghanuwa too. These existed from the families of Bwasums Bakale koloneli, Balyesima William and kadhedu Julius who is now the sub-clan leader.
10.Bahura These crossed from congo and settled in the current BuBandi sub-county.
11.Bandiwaluwa These crossed from Congo Kisanji and settled along Lamiya River at Busunga in Bubandi Sub-county.
12.Bandinseliya These crossed from Congo Kisanji to Tombuwe-Njule in Bubandi Sub-county.
Way of life
•The Babandi are happy people for example they have two powerful dancing group of Luma traditional i.e Bandinseliya and Bandimagwara.
•The Babandi are fisher men around river Semuliki and especially the Babandi who stayed in Kimbura fishing village.
•The Babandi have their culture of taking their children for traditional circumcision and they have qualified Human resource like medical Doctors, civil engineers, Lawyers, accountants and administrators.
•The Babandi-Bandimagwara after 5-7 years they build for their spiritual belief called watonji which is believed as God of peace, marriage and circumcision.
•Some of the Babandi people practice traditional herbs making to treat people of different diseases.
•The Babandi have a clan executive committee to manage their affairs acccodring to their cultural system.
This story was compiled by Oweng. Baker Samuel Bamwendele