Ttanda Pits of Death in Uganda : The story of Nambi, Kintu, Kayikuzi and Walumbe aka “god of Death” has been retold over the years in Uganda. Ttanda pits is one of the ancient traditional religious sites in Uganda. It is believed to be a spiritual place so as you approach the spiritual area, everyone irrespective of your social or political status is supposed to remove his or her shoes and walk bare footed.
How did Walumbe come to earth?
According to the legends, Kintu is believed to be the first man that lived on earth. Kintu got interested in Nambi who occasionally visited the earth from heaven. Kintu and Nambi went to heaven and he asked for her hand in marriage, Ggulu believed to be the father to Nambi according to the legends, blessed them and they got married. The creator of all heaven and earth Ggulu asked the two to leave heaven and go to the earth without letting Walumbe know since he was the source of death and suffering. On their way to the earth, Nambi being a poultry farmer, she remembered she had left her millet “Obuulo” (in our local Luganda language) which was going to feed her chicken. Kintu tried to convince her not to go back because Walumbe would see her but she insisted that he would not. On her way back to meet Kintu, she ran into Walumbe who asked her where she was going and she did not say. Walumbe suspected something and insisted on following her to the earth with Kintu, this brought misery, suffering, sickness and death to the earth.
Nambi and Kintu lived together, and had children. Ggulu ordered Kayikuzi his other son to go to the earth and return with Walumbe. Kayikuzi came face to face with Walumbe who refused to return to heaven without his sister Nambi. Walumbe fought his brother Kayikuzi and he Walumbe dug round deep pits over 200 that he used as hiding places running away from his brother. Some pits connect to another pit, so Walumbe would dive in and come out from another pit, Kayikuzi would never catch him. These pits today are named as Ttanda pits of Walumbe. Kayikuzi returned back to his father in heaven giving up on his search and leaving Walumbe behind on earth with the people living there hence causing too many deaths and suffering. It is believed today that Walumbe still lives and Kayikuzi is still hunting for him and that whenever the two collide, they fight causing an earthquake.
As you approach the archaeological site, there is an old white gate and behind it is a dark thick forested area having various traditional grass thatched houses, more than 240 pits, calabashes, spears and shields. Surprisingly people actually live in Ttanda hill as their home. About 50 meters outside, the Ttanda gate is the place where legendary Nambi and Kintu used to live. This place has a natural source of water that people drink to get ‘blessings’.
What is the religious significance of Ttanda hill?
It is believed that Walumbe still exists at Ttanda. People go there to worship, seek for blessings, riches, solve their problems, plus those who wish to bare children and in return, they give an offering or sacrifice depending on what has been asked of you. This is one of the ancient ways of practicing and worshiping at the shrine in the Buganda tradition. It is said that the King of Buganda is not supposed to set foot on the Ttanda grounds and this is a tradition respected by all Kings of Buganda. However, you are allowed to set foot on Ttanda grounds to learn about this famous historical story. This can be added to your Uganda safari package.
How to get there?
The archaeological site of Walumbe is located in Mityana, about 50Kms from Kampala and takes about 20 minutes from the main road. Day trips to Ttanda Walumbe pits can be organized by for those interested and it costs USD 100 per person for non-residents. While at the site, you will be treated to a lunch buffet. If you wish to participate in the preparation of the lunch meal, there is an opportunity to engage in a cooking lession for a tradiational Buganda meal and your guide can be advised accordingly.