Work restores Kasubi Royal Tombs to their former glory


The restoration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Royal Tombs of Kasubi is at the roofing stage and the site will soon be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger by the end of the year.

The Buganda Kings Cemetery was razed on the evening of March 16, 2010 by an unexplained fire. Since then, fundraisers have been carried out to restore the cultural site.

They have completed reconstruction and restoration of Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga (main house), renovation of Bujjabukula (gatekeeper’s house) and a firefighting system.

The new site office is fully equipped with workstations and computers with Internet connection. They have added documentation (visual and textual) of the reconstruction and improvement of the disaster risk management plan for the site which will improve the aspect of heritage conservation to safeguard its Outstanding Universal Values.

The project will also establish model farms for thatch grass, reeds and Misambya trees (Markhamia lutea).

The Kasubi Royal Tombs of the Kings of Buganda were inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2001. After the destruction of the site, the site was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Heritage Committee.


Respect the values

David Kyewalabye Male, Committee Member and Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Kingdom of Buganda said: “The reconstruction would have been a simple task if all we had to do was erect an architectural masterpiece. However, the intangible cultural complexities (of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity) demanded the utmost attention to the values ​​that make Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga different from other thatched houses. We have lived up to those values,” Male said.

The Unesco Regional Director for East Africa, Professor Hubert Gijzen, visited the Kasubi Royal Tombs on February 24 to check on the progress of the reconstruction. The reconstruction was also partly funded by the government and officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, the Uganda National Commission for Unesco, the Kingdom of Buganda and the Kasubi Reconstruction Committee.

Prof. Gijzen called his visit to Buganda Kingdom the highlight of his trip to the sub-region. “Visiting such sites is important because they tell a story and allow us to reflect on a story,” he said.

‘The next step should be to turn this facility into a thriving site,’ Professor Gijzen suggested. “The creative industry should do more to attract tourists. We hope that tourists will return to this site if it returns to the original list. There should be traditional food and creative industry stalls to attract visitors and contribute to the sustainability of the site.

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