BAFUMBIRA: People & Culture


‘Umezute?’ this means ‘How are you?’ It is a greeting in Rufumbira, but the same as in the Rwandese language. Bafumbira are known as the Banyarwanda of Uganda. They are currently settled on the foothills Muhabura ranges in Kisoro district.

Bafumbira Kisoro, Uganda

This group of people is confusing; there is no definite description to their physical appearance. Whereas some are tall with long facial features as the Rwandese, others are short and heavily built like the Bakiga.  Bafumbira do not have very rich history hence they depend on the Rwandese culture. One finds that in Bafumbira churches, there is the Rwandese Bible. When it comes to cultural norms, like dress code and marriage, they are the same. A few differences are noticed, the Rwandese are cattle keepers which isn’t the same for Bafumbira. This is due to the mountainous landscape in Kisoro district.


Bafumbira opted for crop growing on terraced hills. The volcanic fertile soils in Kisoro favor the growth of sorghum, Irish potatoes and beans. Sorghum is the staple food for Bafumbira. It can be used to make different dishes. This sorghum is harvested and the grains are grinded to flour. This flour is used to make food known as ‘umutsima’ which is like posho. This sorghum flour is used to make a soft drink known as ‘ubushera’ and also used to make an alcoholic drink called ‘umusururu’. The other foods like Irish potatoes and beans were introduced by missionaries that were in the district. Hence it is rare to find children in Kisoro sick of Kwashiorkor due to the diet rich in proteins. Not only are they crop growers but they also tend to animals like goats, sheep and cattle.

Bafumbira are hospitable people, hence making it easy for tourists to visit the district. They have been opened to urbanization due to the construction of the Kabale-Kisoro road. They have opted for businesses like Irish potato selling, which are on high demand in Kampala, Congo and Southern Sudan.

bwindi impenetrable national park