The Empire of Bunyoro was founded by Batembuzi Dynasty who was succeeded by Bachwezi Dynasty. The much known about Batembuzi is based on mythology and oral tradition. The Batembuzi are known to have been the pioneers of development not only in Uganda but also in Africa and the Far East.
The Batembuzi were the first kings of Bunyoro over 2000 years ago. Their reign dates back to the Africa’s Broze age. They were believed have been the first people on earth and were super-humans because they did not die. They simply disappeared into the underworld. It is said the dynasty of the Batembuzi was founded by Ruhanga the creator who was succeeded by his son Nkya and Nkya was succeeded by his son Kakama and Kakama was succeeded by his son Isaza who latter went to the underground kingdom of Nyamiyonga to look for his lost cow Bihogo. Isaza handed over to Bukuku who belonged to the Abaranzi Clan and is said to have been the last king of the Batembuzi dynasty.
It is also said that before Isaza descended into the underworld he impregnated Nyamate the daughter of Nyamiyonga king of the underworld. Nyamate gave birth to Isimbwa who became the father of Ndahura the first of the Bachwezi people.
Isaza the last King of Batembuzi Dynasty
Isaza Waraga Rugambanabato ascended to the throne when was still very young and he faced many difficulties including the first cricket disasters during his reign. The crickets are known to have destroyed forests and all plants. The King and his people could not defeat these crickets because were so many. Scientists of the era sat down and tried to look for a solution and it was revealed by scientists that Lakes Rwitanzige’s water was poisonous and could kill millions of crickets. Rugambanabato ordered his men from northern Uganda to southern Rwanda to work hard to face these crickets. Their work was to line up one by one from Northern Uganda to Southern Rwanda and dig a long dam in which they would plant a tree that crickets liked a lot. During that hard work old men were not able to work as King Rugambanabato wanted. He ordered that all old men be killed to give space to young ones who were able to face the challenge. The young monarch was therefore nicknamed “Rugambanabato” (he who talks only with young people).
Trees that were most liked by crickets were planted and the crickets left Lake Nzige and started eating these trees from Lake Nzige to Lake Rwitanzinge.
How the old men were allowed back in the region
Rugambanabato enjoyed hunting. One day after killing a young gazelle, which had a nice skin, he expressed a wish to put on the skin of the young gazelle. His friends made the skin into the form of a cloth and gave it to him. The king was extremely delighted, but unfortunately, the skin dried on him and became too tight pressing against him to the point of squeezing him to death.
The King went to see aunt called Kogere and his sister Nyangoma to tell of his dilemma. The two had hidden an old man and the old man felt sorry when he was told the tragic story. The old man went with his grandson to save Rugambanabato. When he arrived at the scene, he ordered Rugambanabato’s friends to take him to a river and let him sleep entirely in the water. When he emerged from the water, the animal skin has softened and with the aid of a knife the old man was able to cut the skin. He opened it and took Rugambanabato out of the skin.
King Rugambanabato was so delighted and ordered that if there is any other older man hidden somewhere, they should show up and come to live at his palace and made them his court advisors and ordered them not to depart from his presence.
From then, Rugambanabato preferred the old men to the young men and agreed to be advised by the elders because young people were not able to save him. He respected the old people from that time onwards.
It is said the lineage of the Batembuzi kings was as follows;
Ruhanga, the creator
Nkya, brother of Ruhanga
Kakama, son of Nkya
Bada, son of Kakama
Ngonzaki, son of Bada
Isaza, son of Ngonzaki