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Nambi is the daughter of Mugulu, also known as Ggulu in some versions of Baganda mythology. In the Ugandan creation myth, it is Nambi and her younger sister who discover Kintu, the first man. Nambi helps Kintu throughout his journey and trials, and eventually becomes his wife and mother of his children.[1]

Map of Uganda

Mythological character

The Ugandan creation story begins with Kintu, the first man, wandering Earth with only his possessions on him and his cow. For many days he wandered in Uganda alone, until suddenly, Nambi and her younger sister dropped down from heaven. Nambi is curious to see the man, unknowing who or what he is, nor what kind of creature his cow is. Kintu also sees the sisters, but instead of approaching them, keeps his distance. Nambi eventually approaches Kintu, asking what animal is with him and tells him that neither her or her sister had ever seen a man before. After their meeting, Nambi and her sister discuss the interaction. Nambi decides that Kintu is a man, and upon asking him if this is true, she is proved correct. Nambi shares to Kintu about herself and her sister and insists they all return to her father in heaven together. Kintu persists that his cow must be taken along, but Nambi declines, and the sisters return to heaven alone.

When Nambi and her sister return to Mugulu, they tell him of their findings. Nambi tells her father that she would like to bring him up to heaven but Mugulu tells her that he will take care of the matter and dismisses her. Mugulu then tells his sons to go down to earth and to only retrieve the cow because he believed that Kintu would perish shortly anyway. Without his cow, his only source of food and drink, Kintu became angry and restless. The next day Nambi observes only the cow in heaven and becomes very upset, stating that tomorrow she will go down from heaven and bring Kintu to her father herself.

Nambi brings Kintu up to heaven and shows him all the resources and people they have in plenty. When Mugulu hears from his sons that Kintu had been brought to heaven, he begins setting up the first of many tasks he wants Kintu to accomplish. Kintu quickly completes his first task of eating an overabundance of food and impresses Mugulu. Mugulu then creates a second task for Kintu to accomplish and tells him if he does so, that he will have his cow back and will take Nambi's hand in marriage. After three more impossible tasks are completed by Kintu, Mugulu tells him to take Nambi and his cow and return to earth. Mugulu also packs them a bag of crops and one hen but warns them not to return to heaven, for they may encounter Nambi's evil brother, Walumbe.

Nambi and Kintu set on their journey back to Uganda but discovered they had forgotten the millet to feed the hen. Ignoring Mugulu's wishes, Kintu sets back to heaven and when he arrives, comes across Walumbe who inquires about Nambi's whereabouts. Walumbe accompanies Kintu back to earth and they soon reunite with Nambi. Nambi insists that Walumbe return home to heaven, but eventually it is decided that he will live with them on earth for a short period of time. Nambi, Kintu, and Walumbe settle in Magongo, a part of Uganda, and Nambi begins growing the crops as they settle in.

After some time Nambi and Kintu had three children, but Walumbe wants one of them to be his own to help him with daily tasks. Nambi and Kintu avoid his question, telling him that one day he will have one of them. Nambi continues having more children, and Walumbe grows upset because he still has no helper. Walumbe claims that day by day, he will kill one child until he feels that justice is served. Walumbe follows through on his proclamation, and each day, one of Kintu and Nambi's children dies. Kintu goes back to heaven to tell Mugulu their troubles. Mugulu explains that he had warned them about Walumbe but that he would send his son Kayiikuuzi down to earth to capture Walumbe. Walumbe and Kayiikuuzi begin to fight, but Walumbe quickly jumps into a hole in the ground, escaping Kayiikuuzi's every attempt to grasp him. Kayiikuuzi formulates a plan of two days of silence, claiming that Walumbe will come up from the ground to see why no one is making noise. Kayiikuuzi's plan works and he captures and Walumbe comes out in Ttanda Pits, a different area of Uganda. When he comes across children who scream when they notice his presence, breaking the silence. Kayiikuuzi, frustrated, states that he will no longer partake in bringing Walumbe back to Mugulu in heaven, and Walumbe remained in Uganda.[1]

Historical figure

Nambi and Kintu in the Ugandan creation myth are rooted to Kato Kintu and Nambi Nantuttululu, historical figures from the fourteenth century Kingdom of Buganda.[1]

Uses for modern reception

Other narratives of the Ugandan creation story


  1. ^ a b c Thury, Eva M.; Devinney, Margaret (2017). Introduction to Mythology: Contemporary Approaches to Classical and World Myths. Oxford University Press. pp. 121–128.
  2. ^ a b Yoder, John (1988). "The Quest for Kintu and the Search for Peace: Mythology and Morality in Nineteenth-Century Buganda". History in Africa. 15: 363–376. doi:10.2307/3171868. ISSN 0361-5413. JSTOR 3171868. S2CID 145063130.
  3. ^ zikosa (2009-04-25), Kyazze Tekizzikayo - Short Ugandan Musical Film, retrieved 2019-04-29
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kizza, Immaculate (2010). The Oral Tradition of the Baganda of Uganda: A Study and Anthology of Legends, Myths, Epigrams and Folktales. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 38–44.
  6. ^ Lubambula, Y. B. (January 1948). "A Ganda Poem". Africa. 18 (1): 45–48. doi:10.2307/3180467. ISSN 0001-9720. JSTOR 3180467. S2CID 146974782.