Dedicated to His Majesty Rukirabasaija Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I by The Grace of God, Omukama of The Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, Ruler of Hoima, Masindi, Kibaale, Buliisa, Kiryandongo, Kagadi and Kakumiro, The Grandson of Kabalega, The Healer, The Orphan Protector, The Hater of Rebellion, The Lion of Bunyoro, The Hero of Bunyoro, The Hero of Kabalega, etc. etc. etc. – 49th Omukama of The Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, 27th Omukama in The Babiito Dynasty – The Sovereign Head and Grand Master of The Royal Order of Omujwaara Kondo and The Royal Order of Engabu, The Sovereign Head, Grand Master and Protector of The Most Honourable Order of Omukama Chwa II Kabalega, The Patron, Protector and Granter of The Chivalrous and Religious Order of the Crown of Thorns, Patron, Protector and Granter of The Sovereign, Knightly and Noble Order of The Lion and Black Cross etc. etc. etc.
Author: Aleksandar Bačko 1st OEBKK
In addition to previous work, named “Titles of Ugandan Traditional Rulers, Royalty, Chiefs, Nobility and Chivalry”, we are continuing research about the traditional titles in the area of East Africa.
This region has rich and interesting history. In the following text it will be presented overview of a number of traditional titles, in area of contemporary: Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan, countries in East Africa.
Aanaangwa – See: Umwaanaangwa.
Traditional rulers of Ufipa (in contemporary Tanzania) were at first styled Aeene, and later Mweene. This term can be translated into English language as: “king”, “chief”, “territorial chief”, or “district governor”. See also: Aeene nnsi, Mweene.
Aeene Nnsi (Umweene Nnsi) means “village headman”. It refers to “the lowest level of the hierachical pyramid of state power” in Ufipa (nowadays in Tanzania). Bearer of this title, “unlike his political superiors, was not appointed from above, by the Mweene, but elected by the elders of his village”. It is believed, that there were several hundreds of “Aeene Nnsi” at the same time. See also: Aene.
Alaasi (Unndassi) was the title of the military governors in Ufipa, located in contemporary Tanzania. Bearers of this title were “entrusted… with the security of Ufipa’s borders”, by the ruler. There were six of them, all commoners.
Ataambikwa – See: Ataamikwa.
Ataamikwa (or Ataambikwa), “worshiped ones”, were the council of elders in Ufipa, located in contemporary Tanzania. More precisely, they were “self–electing council of elder commoners”. Among their rights was election of the King descending from Twa group (dynasty). Also, Ataamikwa “had power to advise the queen mother to depose a king who was held to violated traditional norms, and such advice was mandatory”.
Avasongo wa nunsi
According to some authors, “Avasongo wa nunsi” was term for “an amorphous group of elders” in chiefdoms belonging to Nyiha people (located in nowadays Tanzania).
Title Awahombe was noted among members of Nyiha people, living in contemporary Tanzania. This term is translated into English as “chief’s councelors”. One of the roles of Awahombe is “to turn a man into a chief, then present him to the people”. There were one to three Awahombe (councelors) by each Mwene (chief) among Nyiha, in late 19th century.
Old map of East Africa (Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4. Auflage, Band 14, 1888, page 300a)
Diwani was the title of the traditional rulers of Pemba (in Zanzibar, contemporary semi-autonomous region, located in Tanzania). According to local oral tradition, “rulers of Pemba were called Diwani since the time of Persians”. The most famous Diwani were Ngwachani and Mkame Ndume. This title expired after 1878, “as the last elected Diwani was never enthroned“.
Hami was the title of the traditional rulers of Zanzibar (in contemporary Tanzania). Hamis were informaly styled Sultans. Term “Hami” can literally be translated into English as “protector”. See also: Sultan.
Female magistrate officials in Ufipa (nowadays in Tanzania), called iWakwiifatila, had task “to adjudicate and, where appropriate, to punish sexual offences…” These officials were mandated to use force against offenders, “through… appointed male deputies or ‘soldiers’… and… impose heavy fines…”.
Rulers of Hadimu (located in Zanzibar, contemporary semi-autonomous region of Tanzania), were titled in different ways: Jumbe, Mfalume, or Mwyinyi Mkuu. See also those terms.
In Zanzibar (nowadays region of Tanzania), there was office of “Diwani’s Kadhi”. Term “Kadhi” (Kadi, Qadi) is well known in Islamic world. It refers to judge in Sharia law. See also: Diwani.
Laibon (Oloiboni) was the title of the paramount chief of Masai in Kenya. Bearers of this title were originally chief ritual leaders (spiritual leaders, or medicine men). Later, they also became political and military leaders.
Liwali or Wali was the title of the ruler or of the governor of Mombasa in nowadays Kenya (in Swahili – Kiswahili language). This title was used during 1698 – 1728, then 1729 – 1746, and finally between 1837. and 1895. See also description of the title: Wali.
Liwali was also one of the two types of local government officials in Zanzibar (nowadays in Tanzania). Later, this title was replaced with title Mudir. Bearers of the title Mudir were “Members of His Highness Zanzibar Service”.
Traditional rulers of Kilwa Kisiwani, located in Zanzibar (nowadays semi-autonomous region of Tanzania) were bearing title Sultan, or Maliki. See also term Sultan.
This was the title of the chief, as well as title of the paramount chief. It was present among traditional rulers in certain areas of contemporary Tanzania, as in: United Waarusha Paramount Chiefdom, Keni, Kibosho, Kilema, Kirua, Machame, Mamba, Marangu, Mbokomu, Mkuu, Moshi, Mwika, Sina, Ussere, Mbaga, Mwiku, Suji, Usangi.
Mangi Mkuu was the title of the traditional rulers of Chagga (Wachagga) states, located in contemporary Tanzania. Bearers of this title were elected for life, “according the customs and traditions”.
Mangi Mrwe was the title of the paramount chief of Ugweno (located in nowadays Tanzania). This title was first used during 17th century. One of the bearers of this title was Ghendewa. Mangi Mrwe was „assisted by a council of ministers and the Wamagi (District Chiefs)“.
Mangi Mkuu – See: Mangi.
Mangi Mrwe – See: Mangi.
Masheha – See: Sheha.
Sultans of Pate (in contemporary Kenya) were styled Mfalume in Swahili (Kiswahili) language. Same title were bearing Sultans of Witu, also located in nowadays Kenya. See also: Sultan.
Traditional rulers of Hadimu (in Zanzibar, nowadays region of Tanzania), were styled Mfalume, or Jumbe. Term Mfalume can be translated into English as “Monarch”. See also: Jumbe.
Detail of the old map (M. Pringle, Towards the Mountains of the Moon, A journey in East Africa, 1884, page 421)
Mkuu – See: Mwyinyi Mkuu, Mangi.
Traditional rulers of Ubena, located in nowadays Tanzania, were titled Mtema. Last Mtema of Ubena (1928 – 1962) was Towegale Kiwanga III. Traditional rulers of certain polities, located in nowadays Tanzania in East Africa (Nguluhe, Iliole, Lungemba and Udongwe), were also styled Mtema.
Traditional rulers of Usangu (Sangu), and Nguru, in nowadays Tanzania, were styled Mtemi. In Unyanyembe, rulers were initialy titled Ntemi, and later Mtemi. Native authorities in Dodoma Region of Tanzania were represented by 14 local Mtemi, at the same time. Title of Nyzmwezi people Chief, in contemporary Tanzania, was also Mtemi. See also: Ntemi.
Title Mtwa was first used for traditional rulers of Uhehe (located in modern Tanzania). Later, this traditional rulers were styled Sultani (1896 – 1897), and then, after a period of vacancy, again Mtwa. See also: Sultani.
Mtwale was the title of a chief, which was present among traditional rulers in Bunganda, located in nowadays Tanzania (not to be confused with Buganda in Uganda). See also: Sub-Mtwale.
Mudir – See: Livali.
Mugave – See: Mugawe.
Awahombe, chief’s councelors, “choose a new Mugawe (Mugave) from a non-chiefly clan and send him to join the chief-select in the house”. Mugave, “chief’s bodygard”, is one of two mayor court officials in chiefdoms of Nyiha people, living in contemporary Tanzania.
Title Mutwale refers to “the head messenger and carrier of the stool and other symbols of the chief’s office” among Nyiha people (in nowadays Tanzania). Mutwale was one of two major court officials in the late 19th century.
Mwami is title of certain tradititional rulers in East Africa. This title was present among traditional rulers in some areas of contemporary Tanzania: Buzinja (Buzinza), Ushirombo, North Buhaya (Buha), Muhambwe , Buyungu, South Buha, Heru, Bunganda (in period 1931 – 1939), West Ussuwi and Bugufi.
This was also the title of the traditional rulers (Kings) in contemporary Burundi, located in East Africa. Among “emblems” of Mwami of Burundi were: the drum (karyenda), the royal tombs, and “the annual propitiating rites of a bountiful harvest (umuganuro)“. See also: King, Sultan.
This title was present among traditional rulers in certain areas of contemporary Tanzania, more precisely in Bungu (also called Wungu, or Wawungu), Udinde, Nyamwanga (Unyamwanga), Pimbwe, Gongwe and Uluguru or Luguru (before 1906). Chiefs among members of Nyiha people, living in contemporary Tanzania, was styled Mwene. There were 12 chiefdoms among Nyiha in late 19th century, each headed by its own Mwene. See also: Mweene.
Ufipa traditional rulers (in contemporary Tanzania) were at first styled Aeene, and later Mweene. Rulers of Lyangalile (in Tanzania) were also titled Mweene. See also: Aeene, Mwene.
Mweene wa Kulonsi
Mweene wa Kulonsi was the title of the Queen-Mother in Ufipa (nowadays in Tanzania). At the Royal Court, Mweene (King) was assisted by Mweene wa Kulonsi , as well as some court dignitaries. See also: Mweene.
Mweene Wakucaandama – See: Wakucaandama.
Mwyinyi Mkuu was the title of the traditional rulers of Zanzibar (contemporary semi-autonomous region of Tanzania). For this dignity, also are used terms: Jumbe, Mwyinyi Mkuu and Mfalume (see also).
Zanzibar, detail of the old graphic (Émile Jonveaux, Two Years in East Africa, Adventures in Abyssinia and Nubia…, 1875, page 414).
Traditional rulers of Unyanyembe (in contemporary Tanzania), were initialy titled Ntemi, and later Mtemi. Chiefs of: Ikungu, Ipito, Kipembawe, Kiwele, Mwendo, Ngulu, Nkololo and Wikangulu (also in Tanzania) were also styled Ntemi.
Ntemi chiefs “were served by a council and preformed a role, that was as much advisory as it was authoritarian. By the 19th century, there are estimated to have been more then 200 Ntemi chiefs in western and central Tanzania, each with about 1000 subjects”. See also: Mtemi.
Oloiboni – See: Laibon.
Orkoiyoi was the title of the paramount chief of Nandi in contemporary Kenya. Bearers of this title were originally chief ritual leaders. Later, they also became political and military leaders.
Reth is the title of the traditional rulers of Shilluk (Chollo) ethnic group in South Sudan. Some of well known bearers of this title were: Bwoc, his son Dhotokh (c. 1670 – 1690), Dhokoth’s son Tugo (c. 1690 – 1710) and Reth Nyakwaa (c. 1780 – 1820). Current Reth of Shilluk is Kwongo wad Dak (since 1993).
Sheha (plural Masheha) was the title of the traditional rulers of Tumbatu in Zanzibar, today region of Tanzania. This title most likely presents variant of well known Islamic style Sheikh. It also refers to headmen, or appointed local government officials.
Sheikh – See: Sheha.
Traditional rulers, or Paramount Chiefs of Shambalai (Usambara in Swahili – Kiswahili), located in nowadays Tanzania, were titled Simbamwene. Literal meaning of this term is “Lion of Heaven”.
Sub-Mtwale was the title of dignitaries in traditional African chiefdoms, located in area of contemporary Tanzania. It was just below the title of Mtwale. See also: Mtwale.
Rulers of Pate in nowadays Kenya was styled Sultan (or Mfaluma in Swahili – Kiswahili language). Rulers of Witu in contemporary Kenya were also bearing title of Sultan.
Traditional rulers of Zanzibar (today semi-autonomous region of Tanzania), were titled Sultans. Same style was used for the rulers of Kilwa Kisiwani, located in Zanzibar. They were also styled Maliki.
In 1904/1905, German colonial authorities recognized Mwami (King) Mwezi Gisabo, as “Sultan” of Burundi. Mwezi Gisabo was born about 1850, and died in year 1908.
Also, between December 31st 1959, and December 9th 1962, Latham Leslie-Moore was self-proclaimed Sultan of Msimbati. This self-proclaimed Sultanate was suppressed by Tanganyika.
The title of Sultan is certainly one of the most important and most frequent royal titles in countries with deeply rooted Islamic traditions. This title comes from the Arabic language and is derived from the term „sultah“, meaning „authority“ or „power“. See also: Hami, Maliki, Mfaluma, Mwezi, Sultani.
Sultani was variant of the title Sultan. It was used in Uhehe 1896 – 1897, and in Uluguru or Luguru (in contemporary Tanzania), after 1916. Other title of traditional rulers of Uhehe was Mtwa. See also: Mtwa, Sultan.
East Africa, old map (T. O’Neill, Sketches of African Scenery, from Zanzibar to the Victoria Nyanza, 1878).
It was ruling group or mutually “related dynasties” in Ufipa (in contemporary Tanzania). Twa was endogamous group. Kings of former Ufipa states were exclusively from Twa group.
In Ufipa, nowadays in Tanzania, Umwaanaangwa (Aanaangwa) was title of “a son of the king and a nonroyal wife and who, being excluded by descent from endogamous Twa group, was ineligible for the royal offices”. For Umwaanaangwa was reserved “the key post of of head of the royal household and army chief”.
Umweene Nnsi – See: Aeene Nnsi.
Unndassi – See: Alaasi.
Unntalaila was title of a “female official… at the Twa royal court” in Unfipa (in contemporary Tanzania). Sister of Mwene, or Mweene (traditional ruler) of Fipa (in Unfipa), bearing title Unntalaila, had “very high ritual status at Fipa court”.
One of traditional titles of Sub – District Chief was Unweene Nkaandawa. This title was used in Unfipa (in nowadays southwestern Tanzania), among Fipa ethnic group.
This was the title of official of the Ufipa Royal Court (located in contemporary Tanzania). Wakucaandama (or Mweene Wakucaandama) was “titular overlord of Nkansi’s Rukwa domain”. 
Wakulinaanga was the title of official of the Royal Court of Ufipa (Fipa ethnic group, living in southwestern area of nowadays Tanzania). It is mentioned in literature that, at the Royal Court of Ufipa, “the case was first heard by Wakulinaanga and from him it could be referred to the Mweene himself”.
This is the title of the rulers (or governors) of Mombasa, located in contemporary Kenya. In Swahili (Kiswahili) language, this title is translated as Liwali. See also: Liwali.
This title came from Arabic language. In Arabic, Turkish and some other languages, meaning of the Wali (Vali) title is “governor”, more precisely “governor of a province”.
Wamagi was a title of District Chiefs in Ugweno, located in contemporary Tanzania. Paramount Chief (Mangi Mrwe) of Ugweno was „assisted by a council of ministers and the Wamagi…“
Wanamfumu was title of “the chief’s kinsmen”, or more precisely, the “member(s) of the chief’s agnatic lineage” of Nyiha people (living in contemporary Mbeya Region of Tanzania and in northeastern Zambia).
 Aleksandar Bačko, Titles of Ugandan traditional rulers, royalty, chiefs, nobility and chivalry, Belgrade 2017. (further: Bačko, Titles…), 1 – 104 https://porodicnoporeklo.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/titles-of-ugandan-traditional-rulers-royalty-chiefs-nobility-and-chivalry/
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