Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Banyoro live largely in western Uganda, east of Lake Mobutu. Bunyoro is one of the administrative regions that make up Uganda. Runyoro, the language of the Banyoro, belongs to the Central Bantu division of the Bantu language family. The Banyoro had a powerful kingdom for many centuries; its influence waned in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries under pressure from other kingdoms. All Ugandan kingdoms were abolished after Ugandan independence from British rule, but they were restored in 1993. The Banyoro are largely sedentary agriculturalists.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Africa --Eastern Africa



OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

There are sixteen documents in the eHRAF Collection of Ethnography Banyoro collection. The major works are Beattie's study of Bunyoro political institutions (Beattie (1971, no. 1) and Roscoe's study of the royal household and rituals (Roscoe 1923, no. 14.) The Banyoro historian, John Nyakatura (1970, no. 13) and Beattie (1960, no. 2) both wrote primers on the Bunyoro, which serve as excellent overviews. Other Banyoro scholars have written articles critical of British historical accounts of the 1907 Nyangire Revolt (Uzoigwe 1970, no. 15), the relationship among the peoples of Northern Uganda in the 19th Century (Uzoigwe 1970, no. 16), Hamitic hypothesis (Kiwanuka 1968, no 11), and the fall of the Bunyoro state (Kiwanuka 1968, no. 12.) Doyle (2000, no. 10) discusses the demographic effects of the colonial period. The prolific Beattie writes on Banyoro kingship (Beattie 1957-1958, no. 4), marriage and affinity (Beattie 1958, no. 3), mortuary rites (Beattie 1961, no. 7), divination (Beattie 1967, no. 6), spirit mediums (Beattie 1961, no. 5), and sorcery (Beattie 1963, no. 8). Charsley (1970, no. 9) examines village organization and structure.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary was written by Godfrey N. Uzoigwe, in August 2001. Ian Skoggard wrote the synopsis.

BABITO-royal clan-614, 643

BACWEZI-spirits, clan, ancient rulers-173, 614, 776

BAHUNA-pastoralists-233, 565

BAIRU-agriculturalists-241, 565

BAKUNGU-village chief-631

BATONGOLE-village chief-622, 631

GOMBOLOLA-sub-county chief-631, 634

KALYOTA-female head of royal clan-644


MAHANO-power, political authority-642, 643, 829

MINUKA-parish chief-632



OKWIRI-head of royal clan-614, 643

SAZA-district/county, chief-634

Secret guild-king's council, high chiefs-634, 645

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