Masaba people

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The Masaba people, or Bamasaaba, are a Bantu people inhabiting the Eastern Ugandan districts of Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Mbale, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween (Then Sebei County before Uganda achieved self rule in 1962) under the Bugisu district before the British colonial rule in 1962. Closely related to the Bukusu and Luhya of Western Kenya, they are a mainly agricultural people, farming millet, bananas and sorghum on small-holder plots. Maize became popular with the coming of Europeans in late 1890s.

The Bamasaaba are famous for their traditional male circumcision ceremonies, held every even year. In a three-day ceremony of dancing and feasting, preceding a couple of months preparations, the initiates are admitted into adulthood and expected to begin their formal contribution to the growth of their respective communities.

The name Bamasaaba is sometimes used interchangeably with the name Bagisu, even though the latter is actually a tribe of the Bamasaaba nation.

The origin of the Bamasaaba is not known but traditions carried over generations by oral history points at Egypt as the traditional homeland, but this could be the similar epicenter where other migrations from the lower Nile and north-western Ethiopia took place at the close of the millennium, approximately 900 AD. These groups, including the Nilotics and Hermitic communities that constitute the Hima-Tutsi peoples of western Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Indeed it is difficult to place the Bamasaaba among the...
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