Positive cultural practices in Sebei

Sadly enough most people, inside and outside the region, don’t know about the positive practices that are part of Sebei society. This blogs reveals the good cultural customs of Sebei sub region, Uganda. Based on a interview with Mzee Mwanga, a 79 year old elder from Kapchorwa. 

Sebei cultural group and practices


What Sebei cultural practices are you most proud of?

Mwanga: “I very much enjoyed the way how our Sebei people used to make decisions. In the real Sebei culture you are supposed to say ‘ours’ and not ‘mine’. If you develop your character along the line of ‘mine’, it becomes selfish. When our forefathers were discussing issues, they would say ‘have our people come?’. So group thinking is what I am talking about. These days there is a lot of selfishness. Another important form of loyalty in society was called Kwoloo. This means: your maize is about to be taken off by weeds. Then you would go to the Community and ask: please, my maize is becoming spoilt, can you help me? If someone had helped you, you would later ask him to take some local beer called ‘komek’. When it comes to work, there were other valued practices such as Moiket. This means that the whole neighborhood would come for komek as an appreciation for work being done (i.e. plowing the land). Then on the side of marriage: if you were a hardworking man and you thought you deserved a certain girl. If it turned out that the girl was chosen by another man, it would be openly discussed in the Community while enjoying komek."

Did it come from outside or from within: selfishness?

Mwanga: “From outside. There is no serious listening to elders anymore. There are advantages and disadvantages of education. Through education youth are getting ideas from outside such as wearing jeans as a girl. For us that is terrible.”


What was the use of natural caves before?

Mwanga: “It used to serve as protection for when enemies would come. The more you go to the top of Mount Elgon, the more caves you find. These days cattle keepers don’t stay in caves anymore. But there are particular caves where mineral salts for cattle are found." 


Do you see any value in cultural practices for the Sebei youth?

Mwanga: “We are trying to educate youth to ensure that they are strong and hard-working. That used to be taught as a culture. Without hard work, you cannot eat. Stealing is condemned in our culture and people can kill you anytime as a revenge."

Do you want to learn more about Sebei culture? Check out our cultural videos!