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Culture & Languages

The culture of Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking peoples, who dominate much of east, central and southern Africa. In Uganda, they include the Baganda and several other tribes. In the north live the Lango and the Acholi, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language, the Gishu are part of the Bantu and they live mainly on the slops of Mt Elgon speaking Lumasaba, closely related to the Luhya of Kenya. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.

Uganda is home to many different ethnic groups, none of whom forms a majority of the population. Around forty different languages are regularly and currently in use in the country. English became the official language of Uganda after independence. Ugandan English is a local variant dialect.
The most widely spoken local language in Uganda is Luganda, spoken predominantly by the Ganda people (Baganda) in the urban concentrations of Kampala, the capital city and in towns and localities in the Buganda region of Uganda which encompasses Kampala. The Lusoga and Runyankore-Rukiga languages follow, spoken predominantly in the southeastern and southwestern parts of Uganda respectively.
Swahili, a widely used language throughout eastern and central East Africa, was approved as the country’s second official national language in 2005.


According to the census of 2002, Christians made up about 84% of Uganda’s population. The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (41.9%), followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda (35.9%). Evangelical and Pentecostal churches claim the rest of the Christian population. The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, with Muslims representing 12% of the population. The Muslim population is primarily Sunni; there is also a minority belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The remainder of the population follow traditional religions (1%), Bahai (0.1%), or other non-Christian religions (0.7%), or have no religious affiliation (0.9%).


Uganda is a home to many tribes that speak different languages. Uganda has 56 tribes and about nine indigenous communities that formally came to be recognized in the 1995 constitution amendment of 2005. English is the official language of Uganda. Luganda and Swahili are also widely spoken in most parts of the country. There is also French, Arabic and Germany mainly in institutions where they are taught and at embassies. The following are the indigenous communities in Uganda

1. Acholi
2. Alur
3. Baamba
4. Babukusu
5. Babwisi
6. Bafumbira
7. Baganda
8. Bagisu
9. Bagungu
10. Bagwe
11. Bagwere
12. Bahehe
13. Bahororo
14. Bakenyi
15. Bakiga
16. Bakonzo
17. Banyabindi
18. Banyankore
19. Banyara
20. Banyarwanda
21. Banyole
22. Banyoro
23. Baruli
24. Basamia
25. Basoga
26. Basongora
27. Batagwenda
28. Batoro
29. Batuku
30. Batwa
31. Chope
32. Dodoth
33. Ethur
34. Ik (Teuso)
35. Iteso
36. Jie
37. Jonam
38. Jopadhola
39. Kakwa
40. Karimojong
41. Kebu (Okebu)
42. Kuku
43. Kumam
44. Langi
45. Lendu
46. Lugbara
47. Madi
48. Mening
49. Mvuba
50. Napore
51. Nubi
52. Nyangia
53. Pokot
54. Sabiny
55. So (Tepeth)
56. Vonoma