Treasures And Myths: How Buikwe ‘Gave Birth’ To River Ssezibwa

Uganda is indeed blessed with nature and my daily prayer is that we are able to appreciate and ‘conserve’ these treasures.

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The Ssezibwa falls, located in Kayanja, Mukono

The Ssezibwa falls in Kayanja, Mukono district are indeed a beauty that, to me, ‘seems’ virgin. I couldn’t help but make sure I take as many photos as I could, and also, most importantly, learn as much as I could. It was a weekend trip worth taking with my family, a trip that could, eventually lead to a few discoveries hidden behind a beautiful story with different shades of truth.

The story of Ssezibwa, according to a senior traditional healer I met there, begun about 200 years ago in the era of the Buganda king, Ssemakokiro. In this era, access to hospitals was highly limited because of the, bad road networks. (And of course there was no ‘medical concierge’ app so please do not go there.) And because of this, Ssalongo Nsubuga Ssebwato, of the ‘Mamba’ clan and his wife Nakangu, from the ‘Kibe’ clan would end up in a dilemma and tragedy that would give birth to the geist of this story. The two were residents of Kawuna village in Buikwe.

When Nakangu was due to give birth, she set off for long journey to the hospital. Five miles into the journey, she decided to take a ‘short cut’, having realized that she might not make it to the hospital. However, even with the short cut, she was forced to stop, lie down and push new life into the world. A set of twins, Mubeeya and Ssezibwa – a girl and a boy, were brought forth!

At this point, I interrupt and ask my narrator if Nakangu had thus given birth to mere water, a question, which is on your mind right now. He cared to clarify…

The human twins did not make it. However, it’s the ‘placenta water’ (Amniotic fluid) poured that sunk into the ground and later sprung out to form two separate streams of water; Mubeeya and Ssezibwa. Of course I posed for a few microseconds to rationalize but I did not interrupt him.

According to my narrator, Mubeeya, the girl and Ssezibwa, the boy had actually travelled together underground but had to separate. Mubeeya settled in Banga village, Nyenga, still in Buikwe while Ssezibwa chose to travel farther.

Along his journey, the great Ssezibwa was approached by a number of tributaries, which asked him for permission to join him. (This consultation, according to the narrator, was spiritual)

He allowed some and refused some. It was his choice. But it is these very tributaries that gave him the strength to conquer more spirits that did possess the various landscapes through which he travelled – including the Kayanja rocks where he showcased his mastery in form of a beautiful waterfall before moving on to finally rest in the Kyoga.

John went on to let me know that Ssezibwa is a humble, kind, listening and giving spirit. On any given day, you will find a couple of people consulting with the spiritualists in this place for his blessings. They are thus asked to offer eggs to Jjaja Magobwe, a spiritual head of the Mamba clan or wash off from the falls or even carry the water home for blessings.

However, no mother of twins, a ‘nalongo’ is allowed here because being a male, he cannot ‘work’ on his ’mother’.

Ssezibwa has also now allowed tourists to visit, which he had earlier forbidden. (This makes it clear why the place is so ‘virgin’). After a lot of consultation, Micheal (not real names) was also permitted to have the place enclosed off for resort purposes.

He has however, recently become angry and dirtied the waters because of a spiritual wrangle between Bambejja and the Mamba clan, a case that is now in court.

According to the Bambejja, the cave where Magobwe is worshipped is supposed to be for the sun god, Musoke. You will thus find a yellow cloth over the cave and ‘obusumbi’

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Opening to the cave which, according to the Mamba clan is supposed to host Magobwe

(local pots) with two openings in the cave. The Mamba people claim that the sun god can not be kept in a cave and that, the fact that Ssezibwa is from the Mamba clan then, the clan spiritual leader, Magobwe should be residing in the cave. (Do not get tempted to ask me what the two spirits in question say about this.)


Away from all that, the falls are definitely beautiful and are a breathe of freshness. Micheal has established a ‘resort’ with board walks, accommodation and camping facilities. The place still needs a lot of facelift for comfort and I hope to see that when I next visit.

My next stop will be Gulu village in Ssaza, Mukono district. If you know the story of the first two Baganda, kintu and Nambi and how they ran away from ‘heaven’, this is one story you should not miss because this is the place where these two fell after their escape.

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