Nantawetwa: One of Buganda’s best monuments
Nantawetwa Standing in the middle of the round about at the junction of Kabaaka Anjagara road (kabaak loves me) and Rubaga road in Rubaga division. The monument was designed in a shape of a drum also called (Engalabi) in Luganda language, which is widely used in traditional musical instrument in dances and ceremonies.
It was built in line with the historical legend of traditional Buganda kingdom which says that the spirits which guide Kabaaka walk in a straight line. And so it put in the middle of the roundabout so that the Kabaak walks in the same straight line when traveling from his palace Lubiri to the parliament of Buganda.
The monument is 11 meters tall and 12meters in diameter with a spear and shield hanging in the middle above the ground which represent Buganda kingdom’s emblem.Junction honors His Majesty the King as He travels from His palace (Lubiri) to His office Bulange/ Parliament, He must pass through this roundabout with subjects on the sides.
Consequently, no one else beside the king is allowed to pass through the Nantawetwa. The roundabout had seen many structural adjustments till the recent long drum monument. Its located in the middle of the Royal Mile road.
The name, which means the one who cannot be bent or coiled, is one of the kings many titles. Consequently, no one else beside the king is allowed to pass through the Nantawetwa.
The Monument and its FactsThe road to it, locally known as Kabaka Anjagala (The king loves me), until recently, had old trees lined down both sides.
A galley showing Nantawetwa Round about.
Halfway between the palace and the administrative seat of Buganda Kingdom, is a round-about. It is the Kabaka’s road. “It is only the Kabaka who has right of way to drive through this round-about,”
The monument stands at 11 metres in height, 3 metres diameter split into two (2) and 3m deep.
The large two halves of the long drum hoist a shield with two spears representing the historical symbol for Buganda mighty protection against adversaries. The design also includes all the clans totems on the base of the drive way. The two halves seat on architectural based like tree trunks.
Significance of the Long drum (Engalabi) Drums in the African tradition bring the power that drives a performance. Music is not merely entertainment, but is rather ultimately bound to visual and dramatic arts as well as the larger fabric of life. Drums may be used for “talking,” that is, sending information and signals by imitating speech
Understanding more about the drums at the monument
Drumming music and dance are almost always an accompaniment for any type of ceremony: birth, marriages, work and funerals. The long drum monument signifies the entertaining and happy Buganda. The engalabi (long drum) is also referred to as “engoma ensajja” (male drum).
This traditional drum has a head made of a reptile’s hide and is attached to a wooden resonant
cavity (a slim lower part). This is a single-walled drum. Wooden little rods are pressed into the skin, with the wooden resonant body being decorated.
The road is always under lock and under guard and when he is about to reach, the guard opens the gate for him to drive through and locks it up again. It’s because of this that the Kabaka gets the title ‘Lukoma nantawetwa’ (the Kabaka does not go around a round-about).
Incidentally, the Kabaka’s palace or Twekobe, as it is locally known, is opposite his administrative seat,Twekobe gets its name from the efforts of different subjects who came together to build this palace. In Luganda, Twekobe or okwekobana means uniting for a cause and this time, it was to build a palace for the king (Kabaka Mwanga).
Not anyone is allowed in except visitors of the king or those who clean it. Up at the palace, you would be able to see the Kabaka Anjagala trees which dotted the road from the palace to the administrative office.
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