By Taga Art | Totems of Uganda – The Buganda Edition Diaspora Pre-Orders Now Open For North America!

Posted October 18, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Book Review ~ 8,372 views



After completing Makerere University with a BA in Fine Art in 1990, Taga Nuwagaba embarked on his career and has painted since using water-color and oil. His favorite subject has always been wildlife and the human figure. He has a passion for culture and the people he prefers for his subject are usually from rural Uganda. A collection of Nuwagaba’s paintings depicting the totems of Uganda – The Buganda edition is now ready for sale co authored by Nathan Kiwere this book is a must own in every family home library.  A totem is an object such as an animal or plant which serves as the symbol of an ethnic group or clan. It is revered by its clan members and cannot be eaten. Painting the totems of each of the 52 Baganda clans was a project that took the artist over three years.

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This book published in  paperback is great coffee table material with all the heritage and rich Ganda history featuring all the Buganda clan names, the Totems and their meaning plus how Buganda cultural institutions involved – All Baganda parents living in the Diaspora need to buy this book to help their children discover their cultural heritage.  It will educate, teach conservation and introduce readers to nature and Buganda’s cultural heritage. Part of the proceeds from this book will also go toward the Buganda Kingdom rehabilitation projects. To pre-order please email the ( or call +1978-235-2459)  Price-tag is $100 dollars. This price excludes shipping costs there will be only a limited supply in Boston this weekend.


In the Ugandan context, a totem is a symbol that represents a group of people with a common ancestral origin known as a clan. Several clans constitute an ethnic group. Traditions surrounding the totems are among the most important cultural practices in Uganda. This cultural heritage plays a significant role in the knowledge of their genealogies, naming rites, marriage practices and choice of food, among others. This sacred totemic practice has typified their cultural well-being from their traceable beginnings, hundreds of years ago. It has continued unabated throughout the ages, in spite of the social, political, economic, and more recently, technological transformations that have adversely affected established cultural institutions across the globe. To this day, it remains one of the few remnants of indigenous knowledge that are firmly entrenched in the socio-cultural fabric of Uganda. This edition addresses the traditions of the Baganda, Uganda’s largest ethnic group.

The devoted adherence to their traditions has been documented in several books in Luganda, the language of the Baganda, but with few or no illustrations of the totems. There is a danger of these cultural values being neglected, particularly by the younger generation as it is increasingly succumbing to the appeal of modern culture. The consequence is that the totemic values that have been cultivated and upheld for centuries by their forefathers could potentially disappear forever.

This book links the totems with their visual representations in order that they can be more widely identified, especially by the younger generation. Totems had a deep significance to people’s daily lives, their role in society and their effect on the conservation of nature. We seek to rekindle, not only the totemic tradition, but also to expand it in the interest of identifying and protecting wildlife, particularly the many species that are endangered.

Totemic traditions conserve wildlife

“I appreciate the tremendous research that was carried out to produce such an invaluable piece of
historic documentation. People of our times and the generations yet to come will greatly benefit
from the facts and figures contained in this book.”

His Royal Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom

“When animals were becoming scarce, Kabaka Kintu, with the general consent of his people, made
the rule that certain kinds of animals should be taboo to certain families… thus those particular
species of animals… were given a better chance of multiplying… and these became their totems.”

John Roscoe, The Baganda, (1911)

This book documents, in rich detail, the historic background to Buganda’s totemic symbolism. Here
are the symbols, illustrated with passionate intensity, that have, for centuries, been familiar to every
Muganda person as part of her or his given cultural identity.

Jonathan Kingdon – Zoologist, Science Author and Artist

“I hope the book encourages the young people of Uganda, and their parents, to preserve their totemic
traditions and the associated natural species with renewed vigilance… Young people everywhere
may also wish to adopt a totem and to preserve it with the same passion.”

Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Ambassador of Peace

“The neglect or destruction of the culture of any group is a loss to mankind as a whole.”
UNESCO Mexico City Declaration on Cultural Policies, 1982

This unique book of totems is full of inspiring words and stunning images – and will hopefully touch
and influence millions about conservation in Uganda and beyond its borders. David Shepherd, CBE – Artist and Conservationist.

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


    Dorie Mulindwa

    I am very interested in pre-ordering/purchasing the beautiful bok. Please advise how?

    Kasule Remegious

    I love you art work

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