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The Culture of Uganda

Find out about the ins and outs of the culture of Uganda from their favourite sports to their vibrant dancing.

Language and Religion

There are a wide range of ethnic groups in Uganda with many different languages spoken, namely Luganda (most common), English (only a small portion speak it), Bantu, Swahili, Nilotic and Lumasaba. Christians make up 85.2% of Uganda’s population, there are a certain amount of Sikhs and Hindus, and 12% are Muslims.


Their favourite sport is football, with the team being named The Cranes, but they have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup. Cricket is another favourite and they made the Cricket World Cup in 1975. Not to be overlooked is their success at the Olympics commonwealth games where they won 39 medals and seven medals at the Olympics in athletics and boxing.



The men in Uganda wear a kanzu which is a white or cream-coloured robe that reaches the ground. We refer to them as tunics. The women wear a dress called a gomesi with a sash tied around their waists, and gomesis on their shoulders which exaggerates their shoulders (much like shoulder pads). The women who come from the west drape a long cloth around their waists called a suuka.

The women in the southwest wear long, loose skirts and tie matching cloths across their shoulders. They also wear long flowing dresses to the floor called a busuti which was introduced by the 19th century missionaries.



Their cuisine is influenced by English, Arab and Asian flavours. Most of their food has starch as a base, with sauces of beans or meat to add flavour to it. The wealthier part of Uganda enjoy several courses. The starch is maize meal or matoke (boiled or mashed green bananas). In the north they use pearl millet. Ugali (maize flour) is mixed with water for porridge for breakfast for children. Cassava, yam and African sweet potato are also added to their diet. The wealthier Ugandans enjoy rice and Irish potato. Soybeans  are also eaten here, usually for breakfast and Chapati (which you may be familiar with as Asian flatbread) is also used to extend meals, with various fillings in it.

For protein they eat chicken, fish, beef, goat and mutton, but in the rural areas there would have to be a celebration of some sorts before they slaughter an animal for the table, as they do not eat meat every day.

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Africans loves to dance and it is no different in Uganda. Any ceremony or special occasion is celebrated with dance. In the east, the Basoga perform a dance called Tamenhaibunga which is based on the importance of love and friendship. It literally means ‘good friends drink together and don’t fight to avoid breaking the gourd which holds the drink!’



About Bronwyn Paxton

Article by: Bronwyn Paxton
on September 18, 2013
Filed under  Africa Blog • Destinations • Only in Africa • Uganda 
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    1. Uganda – A brief guide – Population, Culture & Animals • Local Africa - Men usually wear a Kanzu, which is a white or cream-colored robe that touches the ground. Traditional dress of women…