Disrupting cultural practices
“There are [now] no places to pray to our gods.” (Village member, Dokolo district)
Green Resources’ staff and local villagers agree that sites of cultural significance exist within the area now licensed to the company, and the installation of a number of ‘burial ground’ signs by the company in Bukaleba in late 2013 signifies Green Resources’ acknowledgement of these sacred sites. The Kachung Plantation Management Plan also identifies one cultural site in the Kachung license area.[i] Yet despite this, Green Resources have constrained villagers’ access to some places of ancestral worship, as well as to sacrifice and other cultural sites, with one man stating despairingly “there are (now) no places to pray to our gods.”[ii]
According to some locals, the company’s activities have also resulted in the destruction of cultural sites. One man explained, “The original set up [of cultural sites] was disorganized and disturbed.”[iii]
Many people lament they are no longer able to practice specific cultural events, including manhood and blessing initiations.[iv]
In the Mayuge district, a giant Mvule tree, referred to as the “Walumbe Tree,” based on the belief it houses the spirit of Walumbe (meaning death in Luganda, the local language), is an important ancestral place of worship.[v] The Walumbe Tree, after which the village was named, is regularly cited as an important cultural site that has been disrupted by Green Resources’ plantation activities. Such disruptions, including sowing plantation timbers in close proximity to the Walumbe Tree, and the relocation of local communities that had previously resided nearby, have reduced villagers’ access to the site.[vi]
i Green Resources, no date. Revised Management Plan for Kachung Plantation Project 2010 – 2015.
ii Focus group discussion, Dokolo district, July 30, 2013.
v Walumbe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walumbe (accessed May 14, 2014).p
vi Focus group discussion, Mayuge district, July 30-31, 2013.