Address

Plot 1 Portal Avenue, Kampala, Uganda 

Office Hours:

9:00am – 5:00pm (Mon-Sat) 

Clinic Number

(857)-200-1031

Emergencies:

(617)-350-2714

SEMEI KAKUNGULU

Kakungulu was a warrior and statesman of the powerful Buganda Kingdom from 1869 to 1928. He was a Saza Chief in Buganda, Administrator of Eastern Province 1899-1905, and President of Busoga 1906-1913.

In the 1880’s he was converted to Christianity by a Protestant missionary who taught him how to read the Bible in Swahili. Kakungulu commanded many warriors and because of his connections to the Buganda court and the British he was given a lot of support to conquer Bukedi and Busoga.

The British brought Bukedi and Busoga under their direct rule through civil servants as opposed to appointing Kakungulu as the leader of the area. The British limited Kakungulu to a 20-square-mile area which is today called Mbale and he maintained control of the area.

In 1913 Kakungulu became a Malakite Christian a faith which is a mixture of Judaism, Christianity and Christian science and the believers were mainly Baganda under the control of Kakungulu.  Through his new found faith Kakungulu came to a conclusion that the Christian missionaries were not reading the Bible correctly as the Europeans disregarded the real Sabbath as a day of prayers. The British were not happy with Kakungulu as they considered Malakite as a cult. Kakungulu’s conversion to Malakite Christianity was thought to have been caused by his disappointment with his treatment by the British authorities

In 1917 Kakungulu moved his principal residence to Gangama in Mbale because the British wanted to limit his holdings in the Malakite sect. The missionaries had stressed the truth of the Bible by declaring that it came not from the Europeans but from an alien race called the Jews. The missionaries impressed upon the Africans that the Europeans too had found truth from a foreign race and because of this emphasis the customs and manners of the Jews became of great interest to Kakungulu’s followers.  As a result of the reading of the bible, Kakungulu started a separatist sect called Kibina Kya Bayudaya Absesiga Katonda (the Community of Jews who trust in the Lord).

In 1922 Kakungulu published a 90-page book of rules and prayers as a guide to the Jewish community. The book had Jewish laws and practices as he got them from the Old Testament and New Testament, despite this interest in Jewish practices there does not appear to have been any direct contact between Kakungulu and Jews before 1925.

In 1925 several European Jews who were employed as mechanics and engineers by the British interacted   with Kakungulu and Kakungulu came to learn more about Orthodox Judaism. This led Kakungulu to drop the remaining Christian customs which   included Baptism. As a result of the interaction, Kakungulu sect learned to the following:
•    To keep the Sabbath
•    To recite Hebrew prayers and blessings
•    To slaughter animals for meat in a Kosher manner.

Kakungulu died on November 24, 1928 was buried a short distance from the main Abayudaya Synagogue behind his home where he lived during the last years of his life.

The Bayudaya remained a mixture of both Christianity and Judaism with faith in Christ remaining prominent in Kakungulu’s beliefs. Today Leadership of the Abayudaya community has passed to a group of young married men whose goal is to end its isolation from world Jewish faith. The young men have adopted those prayers and practices into the Abayudaya ritual. Their knowledge of Hebrew is self taught.

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