The Buganda Anthem challenge

We need your help and pose this challenge before you. What would be a proper translation of the Buganda anthem into English?

Through our interest in the way documented and less- or  undocumented histories relate to each other we stumbled on the absence of a full translation of the Buganda national anthem. The anthem was composed at the end of the 1930s and refers to the glorious past of the Kingdom several times. Around the same time the first two parts of Ham Mukasa’s history ‘Simuda Nyuma’ were originally published. There clearly was a need for history to be written / made by Baganda.

The official website of the Kingdom published the full Luganda text and fragments of a recording. On Wikipedia a translation of the title and the first two verses can be found.

We made a provisionary translation of all the verses ourselves, but hereby put it up for suggestions and corrections.

Luganda   I   Proposed English Translation

Twesiimye nnyo, twesiimye nnyo   I   We rejoice, we rejoice
Olwa Buganda yaffe  
I   For our Buganda
Ekitiibwa kya Buganda kyava dda  
 I   Buganda’s Glory has been forever
Naffe tukikuumenga   I   Let’s then uphold it too

Verse 1
Okuva edda n’edda eryo lyonna   I   From all ages ago
Lino eggwanga Buganda   
I   This nation Buganda
Nti lyamanyibwa nnyo eggwanga lyaffe   
I   Has been reknown
Okwetoloola ensi yonna
   I   All around the world

Verse 2
Abazira ennyo abatusooka   I   Heroes! Our ancestors
Baalwana nnyo mu ntalo
   I   Fought hard battles
Ne balyagala nnyo eggwanga lyaffe
   I   They so loved our nation
Naffe tulyagalenga
   I   Let’s love it too

Verse 3
Ffe abaana ba leero ka tulwane   I   Us, the children of today, we fight
Okukuza Buganda   
I   To make Buganda great
Nga tujjukira nnyo bajjajja baffe   
I   With the memory of our forefathers
Baafirira ensi yaffe 
 I They gave themselves for our nation

Verse 4
Nze naayimba ntya ne sitenda   I   How shall I sing it enough or give worthy praise
Ssaabasajja Kabaka   
I   Ssaabasajja Kabaka
Asaanira afuge Obuganda bwonna
   I   He’s worthy of leading our brotherhood all over
Naffe nga tumwesiga   
I   Like we trust him

Verse 5
Katonda omulungi ow’ekisa   I   Our creator the good and graceful
Otubeere Mukama
   I   Be for us
Otubundugguleko emikisa gyo era 
 I   Thus bestow your blessings upon us
Bbaffe omukuumenga
   I   Protect, be with our husband*

* The Kabaka is praised as husband to all, men and women, all over Buganda (the world).


The picture with the soundcloud link and below is an edited version of a photograph made during the Lukiiko in 2016, when the Kabaka agreed to pose for a picture with his ministers in an attempt to remake the photograph produced by Henry Morton Stanley of Kabaka Muteesa I in 1875.

One response to “The Buganda Anthem challenge”

  1. Emmanuel Gonahasa says:

    I was in Kings College Budo in Mutesa house where we sang a parody of the Buganda anthem and we playfully translated it into English with Eric Kamara and Masereka Eldridge. Here goes.

    We are lucky, We are lucky
    Because of our Mutesa (Read Buganda)
    The glory of Mutesa is from long time
    And so let us keep it

    How will I sing and I don’t praise
    Old man (here we would fill in the name of the house prefect)
    He should rule Mutesa (Read Buganda) for ever
    And also we should trust him.

    The fun side of the anthem.

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