Ancestral Places
Of Worship

Gaining Access

ancestral places of worship

The Situation on ancestral places of worship

Batwa pygmies are the people who are believed to be the original people of Africa and more particularly the first known tribe that lived in the great mountains and forests of Great Virunga and Bwindi Impenetrable forest. During the period before 1991,the Batwa lived an independent ,contented life in the forests practicing all their rights without inconveniences .Worshiping ancestors in the caves, feeding on the forest nature,Honey,Vegetables,Fruits,Meat from wild animals as they were known as food gatherers .According to the Batwa culture setting worshiping the ancestors was the most important practice because it would give them protection, life knowlodge,unity,good fortunes and Harmony following the Batwa cultural setting.

In 1991, all the Batwa who lived in the forests of Uganda were evicted from the forests for conservation purposes and tourism practices, the government evicted them without compensating them or making any formal relocation. Currently the batwa live on edges of forests, others live as beggars while others live as squatters on the small plots of lands given to them by churches, organizations and other sympathizing people who sympathize with the batwa terrible conditions.

Problem statement

Following the Batwa eviction from the forest in 1991.The Batwa culture and ways of living were distorted. Batwa who lived by worshiping their ancestors in the forest caves and under the important worshiping trees in the forests. ’We no longer  get access to our worshiping places in the forest’ ’The statement by Tumuheirwe Eric when he was explaining to Bojo Pinek the UN researcher in a small meeting we had in Kisoro near Bwindi National Park .The Batwa died massively right from the eviction resulting from the reason that they no longer worship the ancestors .The ancestors became angry and started claiming the Batwa lives because they no longer sacrifice to them. 

Following the report of 2016, a research made by Batwa development organization other Batwa live a misfortune life, poor and un protected from the supernatural setting because they no longer have access to the spiritual places of worship. More so the Batwa rights to worship were violated by the government yet everyone has a right to worship following the constitutional laws.

The Batwa Development Organization (BDO) have started to fight for the Batwa rights of worship through demanding the government to allow the Batwa to get access to the spiritual places of worship. We have some examples in Bwindi forests like (kitatemba caves and murugezi caves). These are some of the ancestral places of worship. It looks very important for the government to allow the batwa to get back to their ancestral places of worship.

In order to save the lives of the remaining Batwa people, The Batwa Development organization seek support through knowledge financial support, office facilities, transport facilitations to the government places Robby for the acceptance to their places of worship.

Batwa Development Organisation

The Batwa Development organization (BDO) is a non-Governmental Organization that were started by the Batwa themselves .It was directed by Ahimbisibwe Alex a Mutwa Scholar that is doing Bachelors Degree in Development studies at Bishop Barham University Kabale.He started the organization in 2015 ,after seeing the Batwa lives in terrible conditions for so long without any improvement while he got a thought that under their own organization can make a voice and it may lift the government and as well as to the helpful organizations like United Nations (UN) and other important  sympathetic non-Governmental organizations and individual donors who can help the Batwa to get to their ancestral lands.

Our main goal is to Reclaim our ancestral places of worship.

Project objectives

  • To allow the Batwa exercise their rights of worship.
  • To allow the batwa access their ancestral forests.
  • To allow the Batwa to exercise their rights of land ownership.
  • To allow the Batwa people to have respect of their culture practices.

Beneficiaries

  • The Batwa will get the chance to access their ancestral forests.
  • The Batwa will get a chance of worshiping and exercising their rights 
  • The government will also have fulfilled the rights of its people.
  • To the Nation, it will develop the integral traditional cultural inheritance

Constrants of the project

  • Other religion practices mostly Christianity and Islamic who would wish the batwa to adopt their religions and live their culture.
  • We currently have no means of transport; the project will need to raise awareness to some other Batwa from Far batwa communities rise up for this cultural project.

Future plans

  • Legal access to our ancestral forests for cultural practices.
  • Legal land ownership by the Batwa.
  • Batwa developed community particularly economically, spiritually and socially
  • Unpredictable weather conditions that may lead to yields.

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