Kasubi tombs removed from list of world heritage sites in danger

Inside view of Kasubi tombs (PHOTO/Courtesy).

KAMPALA – Kasubi tombs, the burial grounds of four kings of Buganda and other members of the Baganda royal family, has been removed from the list of world heritage sites in danger.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee reached the decision during the 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee, which is currently taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“The World Heritage Committee…decides to remove the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda) from the List of World Heritage in Danger,” declared the committee.

“It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle, and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity, and identity,” UNESCO describes the site on its website.

In 2010, the tombs were placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger following a fire that destroyed some of the property there.

But following the reconstruction of the Mazibu Azaala Mpanga (the main tomb), the meticulous restoration of the Bujjabukala (gatehouse), and the installation of a state-of-the-art firefighting system in the tomb area, the tombs have now been declared out of danger.

The restoration project cost over Shs7b and was supported by government and donors such as the Japanese Funds-in-Trust, World Heritage Fund for ICOMOS advisory consultancy, Heritage Emergency Fund, and Norway Funds.

Buganda Kingdom under the fundraising campaign called “Ettofali,” also supported the project.

Kasubi site was established in 1882 under the reign of Kabaka Walugembe Mukaabya Muteesa I, originally intended as Kabaka’s residence.

However, in 1884, following the passing of Muteesa I, it underwent a transformation into the royal burial grounds. Since that time, three of his successors have been interred at this site. These include Kabaka Mwanga, who passed away in exile in 1903 and was laid to rest at Kasubi in 1910, Daudi Chwa II in 1939, and Edward Muteesa II in 1971.

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