Rwentobo is a town within Rwentobo/Rwahi Town Council located in Ntungamo District. 5hr 47min drive (363.6km) distance from Kampala the capital of Uganda.
In this area is the tree of blood at Kyanzaire hill which is approximately 2.2km northwest of the town center. The locals call it the tree of blood or the serpent’s shade. It is located in Mr. Ssezi Mitegyeko’s land which was previously Ndamira’s.
It is called the tree of blood because it is mythical that it bleeds when cut and that underneath there is a human serpent creature that guards it. Thus, cutting the same is risking death. This tree is known to be a sanctuary of the Abarangi (an ancient religion in Ankole).
There are many theories about the human-serpent creature and the tree of blood as I shall outline hereunder:
1. The Tree of Blood.
To begin with, the tree of blood is believed to bleed when cut. This is mysterious and that is why it attracts members of the Abarangi religion to conduct their special prayers under it.
It is a sacred place for them. With this beautiful history, it has helped in the preservation of the environment around the area. However, given that people don’t appreciate the rich philosophy of the ancient people and civilization, environmental degradation is taking center stage and the existence of the tree of blood is in fragility. Other oral theories have it that it can reconstruct when cut.
For example, it is possible to cut it today and you find when it has gained life the next hour or morning. Furthermore, that cutting it can cause death.
2. The Human Serpent Creature.
This is believed to be a snake with a woman face/head…it is believed that this snake rests underneath the tree of blood in the afternoon from 2:00pm-5:00pm. During that time, the tree of blood is a no-go area and any attempt to go there is suicidal.
I remember in childhood our parents always forewarned us never to get fired wood under that tree or come near it in the afternoon. This was a must learn lesson for every child in the area of Rwentobo otherwise any mistake would lead to loss of human life.
I think Mr. Geresomu, Eri, Donah Kasirwa, among others that I grew with in this area and used to roam around with at Kyanzaire hill are witnesses to the story of the mysterious tree and a snake with a human head. Some old inhabitants of the area state that the snake is the mother of all snakes in the world.
Its very big, it has beards. They say! This snake also rests at Katwe Kembwa Hill(Dog’s Skull hill) a branch of the main hill Kyanzaire.
In conclusion, there lots of mysteries about the two beings that is;
-and the human-serpent creature that guards the tree of blood. Other mysteries are yet to be discovered.
I must state that these mysterious stories have not only helped to transmit the rich ancient religion and civilization in Ankole to the next generation but also helped in environmental preservation thus, their extinction is a hinderance to the continuity of the Banyankole civilization, environmental preservation and tourism in the area.
The authorities in Rwentobo-Rwahi Town Council should thus gazette this as a tourist attraction site to realise its economic benefits.
BY KAMURINDE KARONGO (KK)
Founder @rwentobo innovation lab.
A lawyer, researcher and an author.
@rwentobo number plate