GANDA (BAGANDA, KIGANDA, BUGANDA; Uganda) (3-,3-,3-,3-,2,3;5,5;F)  (EHRAF


IndexAfricaUganda → Ganda


Featured: Ik, Gisu, Acholi, Sebei, Bahima/Bahuma [Hima, Bahuma Bajoro], Bachiga, Lango, Nkole, Ganda, Kiziba, Lugbara, Jie, Iteso, Bwamba, Baamba, So, Guang

“Ganda mothers discourage infantile masturbation, if indeed they notice it and acknowledge its occurrence. All the mothers of babies who were reported to have masturbated took action to stop it, although only two “beat” the baby” (see Ainsworth, 1967:p113-4)[1]. This was also noted in case studies (Juko, Muhamidi). 14/21 mothers denied even mere genital touching in their infants. The child, however young, should not witness sexual relations between his parents.


“The small Uganda boys display their sexual curiosity in a popular song they sing at passing girls: “I’d like your vagina, A shilling for a vagina!” (De Rachewiltz (1963 [1964:p230]).


Southwold (1973:p165)[2]: “People said that many girls start having sexual relations as soon as they are capable”. Also, “[b]oys are not explicitly allowed to have sexual intercourse at any particular age […]. So far as I know all […] boys [other than the very devout Christians] try to have sexual relations as soon as they are physically able, and to judge from what most people say, most of them succeed”. There is no male initiation or circumcision. Premarital chastity (marriage for girls at age 15) was becoming less common at the time of writing, found Nsimbi (1956)[3]. Male youths dwell in separate residences, and girls receive sexual instruction from the father’s sister (Weeks, 1973)[4]. In a study of 177 school boys aged 14-17, 43% of Baganda boys had had sexual intercourse[5]. “The age of [Baganda] girls and young women is told by the size of the breasts; after attaining their full growth they begin to hang down; this is considered most becoming by young women, and to attain this end they often tie them down to hasten natural development” (Roscoe, 1902:p72)[6].

Kinsman et al. (2000)[7] provided an interview based study of Baganda adolescent sexual socialisation. In rural Masaka, parental coitus is observed by children due to the narrow living confinements. Weddings, commonly  identified as sexarchic events, provide another opportunity; apart from hide-and-seek and “mother and father”, weddings games are played where the children “smooch or fondle each other”. A boy:


“If you look at it critically, this thing is in the blood. God created it in us. For example you might watch a young kid that only crawls touching funny areas and covering them shyly. That thing is in the blood”.


Sex, however, is rarely discussed by parents, and peers provide the main source of intelligence. The paternal aunt (ssenga, senga) traditionally provided information on female hygiene and sexual submission (cf. Kisekka, 1973:p45[8]; Davis, 2000:p35-6, 49-50[9]; also Muyindaet al., 2001[10]; and others[11]). The ssenga oversaw labial elongation (okusika enfuli) in “early adolescence”, aimed to enhance attractiveness and coital pleasure[12]. A woman not “elongated” (kiwowongole; kifufunkuli, funkuli muwompogoma) was sent back to her parents with disgrace, when about to be married. Ssenga’s instruction is declining and would come too late nowadays, according to girls. A positive attitude towards nonvirgins opposes a negative attitude towards virgins. Illustratively, a girl’s magazine is called Ssenga. Older men or teachers have previously been noted to initiate some adolescent girls in “early” sexual activity” (Twa-Twa[a], 1997:p68, Kinsman et al., 1999:p598)[13].



Additional refs.:


·         Roscoe (1911)[14];

·         Anna Laura Comunian, Elisabetta Villa, Federica Bicchielli, & Pia Grassivaro Gallo - presented by Laura Comunian (2004) Accounts of the Labia Minora Elongation Rite by Baganda Girls (ages 12-16). At the Eighth International Symposium on Circumcision and Human Rights: An Anthropological, Medical, Legal, and Ethical Analysis 2 - 4 September 2004, University Of Padua, Italy

·         Franco Viviani, Elisabetta Villa, & Pia Grassivaro Gallo - presented by Franco Viviani (2004) Psycholinguistic Approaches to Ritual Labia Minora Elongation Among the Baganda Women of Uganda. At the Eighth International Symposium on Circumcision and Human Rights: An Anthropological, Medical, Legal, and Ethical Analysis 2 - 4 September 2004, University Of Padua, Italy

·         Huygens, Pierre (1998) Mode et sexualité : la “bonne conduite” à l’épreuve de la mode chez les adolescents du Buganda, in Charles Becker, Jean-Pierre Dozon, Christine Obbo et Moriba Touré (Eds.) Vivre et penser le sida en Afrique, p405-18 []





Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: May 2005


[1]Ainsworth, M. D. (1967) Infancy in Uganda: Infant Care and the Growth of Love. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press

[2] Southwold, M. (1973) The Baganda of Central Uganda, in Molnos, A. (Ed.) Cultural Source Materials for Population Planning in East Africa. University of Nairobi, Institute of African Studies. Vol. 3, p163-73

[3] Nsimbi, M. B. (1956) Village life and customs in Buganda, Uganda J 20,1:27-36

[4] Weeks, S. G. (1973) Youth and transition to adult status: Uganda, J Youth & Adol 2,3:259-70

[5] Taylor, J. V. (1958) The Growth of the Church in Buganda. London: SCM Press, p281

[6] Roscoe, J. (1902) Further Notes on the Manners and Customs of the Baganda, J Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 32:25-80

[7] Kinsman, J. et al. (2000) Socializing influences and the value of sex: the experience of adolescent school girls in rural Masaka, Uganda, Culture, Health & Sex 2,2:151-66

[8] Kisekka, M. N. (1973) Heterosexual Relations in Uganda. PhD Diss., University of Missouri. Cited by Kinsman et al. (2000), op.cit.

[9] Davis, P. J. (2000) On the Sexuality of “Town Women” in Kampala, Africa Today 47,3-4:29-60

[10] Muyinda, H., Kengeya, J., Pool, R. & Whitworth, J. (2001) Traditional sex counselling and STI/HIV prevention among young women in rural Uganda, Culture, Health & Sexuality 3,3:353-61

[11] McGrath J. et al. (1990) Cultural Determinants of Sexual Risk Behaviour for AIDS among Baganda Women. Paper presented at American Anthropological Association Meetings, Washington. Cf. McGrath, J. W. et al. (1992) Cultural determinants of sexual risk behaviour for AIDS among Baganda women, Med Anthropol Quart 6,2:153-61, and McGrath, J.W. et al. (1993) Anthropology and AIDS: The Cultural Context of Sexual Risk Behaviour Among Urban Baganda Women in Kampala, Uganda, Soc Sci & Med 36,4:429-39; Sengendo, J. & Sekatawa, E. K. (1999) A Cultural Approach to Hiv/Aids Prevention and Care: Uganda’s Experience. Unesco, Studies and Reports, Special Series, Issue No. 1. Cultural Policies for Development Unit, p15, 47, 49; [Miriam Tomusange interviewed by Gilbert Awekofua], Orbit 73, Summer 1999 []

[12] Cf. Sengendo and Sekatawa (1999:p14, 49-50), op.cit.; Sengendo, J., et. al (1998) Inter-Linkage between Culture, Traditions and HIV/AIDS in Uganda: A Research Report on the Districts of Mpigi, Hoima and Kumi. Submitted to The Unaids – Uganda Theme Group, p31; Sengendo, J. (nd) A Cultural Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care: The Kawempe, Pilot Project, Uganda. Online paper at PilotProjWeb-Uganda.rtf, p2, 6; Twa-Twa, J. M., Nakanaabi, I. & Sekimpi, D. (1997) Underlying factors in female sexual partner instability in Kampala, Health Transition Rev 7:83-8, at p84

[13] Twa-Twa[a], J. (1997) The role of the environment in the sexual activity of school students in Toronto and Pallisa Districts of Uganda, Health Transit Rev, Suppl. 7:67-82; Kinsman, J. et al. (1999) Implementation of a comprehensive AIDS education programme for schools in Masaka District, Uganda, AIDS Care 11:591-601

[14] Roscoe, J. (1911) The Baganda. London: MacMillan