Gwere people

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The Gwere people, or Bagwere, are a Bantu ethnic group in Uganda.


They live in the eastern Uganda, mostly in Budaka District, Pallisa District and Kibuku District, where they make up over 80% of the population. They have the Bagisu, the Basoga, the Balamogi and the Iteso, the Banyole and the Jopadhola (Badama) as their neighbors. The city of Mbale, one time reputed to be the cleanest city in Uganda is home to some Bagwere. Bagwere are also found in the following towns in Eastern Uganda: Pallisa, Budaka, Kibuku, Kagumu, Kamonkoli, Kadama, Kabweri, Iki-Iki, Bulangira, Kaderuna, Tirinyi, Butebo, Kakoro and kanginima,[kadama],[mugiti],[naboa].

The Bagwere are said to have emigrated to their present area from Bunyoro and Toro, and travelled along Lake Kyoga, crossing River Mpologoma. For this reason all the tribes that settled along the shores Kyoga like; Baluli, Bakenye, Balamogi have a similar language to Lugwere. Their initial area of settlement has shrunk considerably as the Iteso and the Bagisu have pushed the Bagwere's frontiers inwards.


The language of the Bagwere is Lugwere. It widely spoken in Pallisa,Budaka and Kibuku Districts. The language is very similar to Lulamogi and Lusoga.

Cultural structure[edit]

The Bagwere have many clans including the following:

  • Bagema Clan
  • Bakaduka clan
  • Baloki Clan
  • Balalaka Clan
  • Baikomba Clan
  • Bakomolo Clan
  • Balangira Clan
  • Baganza Clan
  • Badaka Clan
  • Baumo Clan
  • Banaminto Clan
  • Bapalama Clan
  • Banyekero Clan
  • Batoloyi Clan
  • Bambirwe Clan
  • Baseta clan
  • Bakabweri clan
  • Basikwe clan
  • Bakamugewo clan
  • Balocho clan
  • Bakaligoko clan
  • Bakatikoko Clan
  • Babulanga Clan
  • Banamwera Clan
  • Bakaworya clan

All clans of Bagwere are headed by a clan leader or the chief and one of the clan leaders is elected to be the "IKUMBANIA" The chief cultural leader of the Bagwere people. Intermarriage among members of the same clan is prohibited, as is the custom in most Bantu cultures.[1]


Their traditional music is called Namadu,a set of seven drums as one of the famous traditional musical instruments. The Bagwere are also identified with Tongoli, a five-stringed handheld instrument, modeled along a twenty one-string instrument,elsewhere in Africa known as the Kora. However, with the modernisation of the music industry, there are young upcoming artists in Bugwere who are manoeuvring to break through to the top like AREA *B* , Juliewex (kidumbulu) and waikere , who have really tried to bring up the bagwere on the music scene.


The Bagwere are very proud of their heritage, especially as they are few in number but many are very well educated. Over fifty of them hold either PhD or Master's degrees from world-class reputable universities. Some notable Bagwere personalities over the years include:

Economic activities[edit]

The main economic activity of the Bagwere is subsistence crop agriculture and animal husbandry. To a lesser extent, fishing, fish farming and bee keeping are increasingly practiced in Pallisa District.[2] The major crops include:

Cattle, goats, sheep, poultry, pigs, are some of the animals raised in the district. The district is further blessed with nine (9) minor lakes that comprise part of the Lake Kyoga system. The following are the nine lakes:

There are nine (9) stocked fish farms in the district. Fish farming offers a big potential to increase the supply of fish for the population and hence improve on the nutrition of the population. Fish species include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Intermarriage within Any Clan is Prohibited
  2. ^ Economic Activities in Pallisa District

External links[edit]