The Bawisa are believed to have migrated from Bunyoro into the present day Bwamba from Kyamuhingo`s family. There great grandfather was called Nsila Muwisa, named after his work of “Kuwisa” iron smelting.
The reason to why Nsila-Muwisa moved away from the Kyomuhingo family was because he had lost his wife the mother to his only daughter Magambhilane. He is said to have gotten so angry because he had become a laughing stock in the community, for reasons that are hitherto inappropriately explained. However it’s believed that because of his loss and provocation that he had lost a wife he decided to go far way.
Upon his decision to migrate, Nsila walked from Bunyoro on foot, in the company of his daughter, Magambhilane, and with them they carried a hammer and maize seeds. He rested in Toro Hamutoma, a place called Buwesi and opted to use this place as a site for doing blacksmith work (Kuwisa in Lubwisi dialect). His descendants thus derive their clan name, Bawisa, from the dominant activity, Kuwisa, or blacksmithing.
After a few days of work he moved on and met Ndele, a grandfather to Kakuku and they continued on the journey together with the daughter carrying the hammer and maize seeds and the metals for fabrication. Magambilane was responsible for selling the merchandise that is why the Bawisa women are called Banamuguliya literally meaning “female vendors”.
Along the, way they reached Emusololo, a place in the current Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However by then there were no political borders demarcating national boundaries for Uganda and DRC. Reports show that Ndele got tired and could no longer continue on the journey. Nsila and the daughter trekked further and later rested in Nabhisenge where Nsila constructed his house and settled. While at Nabhisenge, Nsila worked with his daughter and planted maize while he also did his blacksmith work. They planted maize in their new home and after the harvest they planted more maize in a new homestead in Mabhale. This place is currently one of the historical sites named Mankini. At this site, there is still evidence of a rock called Nalongo.
One day in the morning, Nsila saw a dog walk towards his homestead and he tied round its neck so that the owner would come pick it. The dog spent the night. Early morning, a man came and stood in the compound and said “I have found you” to which Nsila replied “what is it, I am in my compound ….how do you find me when I am not lost?” He ordered his daughter to serve the visitor something to eat to which the daughter brought six maize cobs. The man was from the Bandikabinaye (sub-clan) of the Batalinga clan. Nsila asked him what the matter was and he responded that he had come to trace for his lost dog and he was shown his dog.
When the maize was ready, and had eaten out of curiosity he asked Nsila whether the lady in the house was the wife and he was told that she was the daughter. Nsila told him if he so wished to marry his daughter he had to bring him another woman in exchange which was called by then “Kichwa na Kichwa”.
Maghambilane got married to Muyayu and Muyayus’ sister was married to Nsila. They verbally agreed to the exchange marriage rituals and Nsila’s daughter bore children. However the sister to Muyayu never bore any children for Nsila. The later consequently got a second wife Mubhukunaye, a daughter to the Bahuku clan who bore him children. Bokoti was the eldest son, then followed by Siimansiyo and next was Malalinga. Finally Muyayu produced only one son called Gyaniya and Gyaniya later became the father of Byalaguge. Nsila later divided the children into different places.
Gyaniya was sent to Emusu and Simansiyo was taken to Bambhausu, Mulumbi, Ekombe, Nabisenge and later to Kakindo. Omundinamalina was given Bukumu and was told, he would be eating from Kimalanjala ( a place where there was a lot of food).
Omundinakiyamba, the grandson to Nsila settled in Congo. Omundinanjugutoli went to Mbale because Omundinamlalinga tried to forcefully have sex with his wife. Omundinaglani was a warrior and helped in fighting and hence given the name Malemo. He fought with the sons of Byalaguge because Byalaguge had spent time constituting his house. Upon completion he wanted to enter his house on which he was laughed at and as a upshot, a war broke out and people died. That night he moved the family to Nkisiya were he met the Mundibugiyo and he worked as a soldier.
The days Omundinaglani (Malamo) spent with the Bandibugiyo working as a soldier, he was named Mundimwendi literally meaning Hot temperedand his people were named Bandimwendi. Most places where the Bandimwendi settled were because of various wars and fights with different communities. Among these was the fight with Babhumadu which were geared by the Bandibugiyo. For the success achieved, the Bandimwendi were given land at Model Siloo and other places like Hamutiti where they laid an agricultural site and and there grandsons still go there for cultural rituals.
The Bandimwendi were requested by the Bandibugiyo to fight for the Bandiwelune a sub clan of the Basindilengbhe, they won and were given the land of the Bagombuwa, the sub clan of the after fighting the Basaru and pn them.
It is in history that during this time, no fighters from Bawisa died because they had a healer called Kyelaguye who had a horn which was kept overnight in a pool of urine from different women. This would be used to bless soldiers as they went to war. The healer would place the horn on the belly of the soldier and whenever it remained hanging, that soldier would be free to join the fighting team but whenever it fell on the belly then this soldier would not be allowed to join the team.
Subsequently from 1908, the Bandimwendi were hosted by the Bandibugiyo sub-clan of the Balungu clan. At this point, the Bandimwendi were even thought to belong to the Balungu clan. This was erroneous. This continued up to 1994 when Mr. Mukidi (RIP) and Kamelo and Njeje went to Bujumilla, the cultural site of the Balungu, led by Njamilia, the Kilungu leader. The Bawisa claim they were mistreated to cut Mpoku (tree) from which backcloth was made. Then Mr. Kamelo realized and argued that the Bandimwendi originated from a different lineage/clan. This is the reason why in 1999, he called four (4) sub clan leaders and asked them to clarify about their ancestry and led to the decision to have the Bandimwendi revert back to the Bawiisa major clan from the Balungu clan.
The Bawisa had a hereditary chiefdom called “Chef de Groupement” which is still in existence. The current Bawisa leader in Uganda is titled Mukwati W’enkoni. The Bawisa have their totem as “Kansundi” (a brown and grey coloured bird).
The late Kyebbhimba (Mundinamulangiya) was the clan leader of the all Bawisa in Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The second was the late Mukidi John from Bbhekweliya sub clan. The third was the late Rev.Wedime (Mundinamulumbi) then the late Njeje of Kabaliye sub clan and currently Kisembo Sulait (Mundinamulumbi) is the clan leader of all the Bawisa.
Composition of Bawisa clan
The Bawisa clan comprises of 16 sub clans mentioned as follows:
1.Bokoti —————— Masimango
2.Bandisimansiyo ———- Kilimabughenge
3.Bandinamutalinga ——- Ali Tabughila
4.Bandinamulumbi ——– Kaadi Yusuf
5.Bambulumbulu ———- Kapamba Kikasani
6.Bandinamalina ———- Ssuza Thomas
7.Bandinakiyamba ——– Bhanbalilila Namughila
8.Ndwheza —————– Ndhheza
9.Nagyaniya ————— Bambaya
10.Bandinambokolo ——- Matiya . B
11.Bandibhekweliya ——- Bakatwika Tadeo
12.Bandikakomi ———– Mpeluwa Fanahasi
13.Bandikabaliye ———- Bandimilila
14.Bandimulaku ————–Ngoma Njungu Nyansiyo
15.Bandinabimbo ———- Nsila
This story was compiled by Oweng. Sulait Kisembo and Mzee Ali Tabughira
Recorded by Edward Kyomuhendo and Abraham Kijibbhe
Edited and images by Dr. Swizen Kyomuhendo