Banyankore Culture: The Cattle-Herders of Western Uganda


Exploring the Significance of Cows, Dance, Dress, Oral Tradition, and Cuisine in Banyankore Culture

3 min

BY Jessica

Published on February 15, 2023
Ankole Long horned Cattle

The Banyankore, also known as the Bahima, are an ethnic group in Western Uganda, making up approximately 9% of the country’s population. They are predominantly cattle-herders and have a rich cultural heritage that is based on their close relationship with their livestock.

Ankole Culture

One of the most significant aspects of Banyankore culture is their love for cattle. They are known for their skill in breeding, rearing, and caring for their animals, which are considered a symbol of wealth and status. Cows play a central role in many aspects of Banyankore life, from social events and ceremonies to everyday activities.

The Banyankore are also known for their traditional dance and music. The “Runyege” dance is one of the most popular Banyankore dances and is performed during important ceremonies and celebrations. It involves a group of dancers moving in a circular formation while playing traditional instruments such as drums and flutes.

Ankole traditional dance

The Banyankore have a rich history of oral tradition, with stories and legends passed down from generation to generation. These stories often center around the importance of cattle in Banyankore culture and the close relationship between humans and their animals.

The Banyankore are also known for their traditional dress, which is characterized by brightly colored clothing and jewelry made from beads and cowrie shells. Women often wear long, flowing dresses, while men wear shirts and trousers made from traditional fabrics.

In terms of food, the Banyankore cuisine is centered around milk and meat products, reflecting their close relationship with their cattle. Milk is often fermented to make a sour drink known as “omuhai,” while meat is often cooked over an open fire or grilled on skewers.

Overall, the Banyankore culture is a unique and vibrant expression of the people who have lived in the Western region of Uganda for centuries. Their love for cattle, traditional dance and music, oral tradition, and distinctive dress and cuisine all contribute to the rich cultural heritage of Uganda.

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