Kabale Museum Struggles to Attract Visitors 10 years after Relocation

By Moses agaba

The Kabale Regional Museum and Cultural Center in Kabale Municipality is struggling to attract Visitors despite relocation to Bunyonyi tourist road.

Kabale Regional Museum is a public museum in Kabale, south western Uganda, established in 1978 under the Department of Museums and Monuments in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. Located in Northern Division, Kabale Municipality about 8Km from Lake Bunyonyi, the museum tells the story of culture and tradition of the people in Kigezi sub-region who are predominantly Bakiga.

However, the cultural centre is struggling to attract visitors despite the 2014 Government’s decision to strategically shift its location from Kabale town to Ibumba Cell in Rutooma Ward, along Bunyonyi road that is frequently used by tourists going to Lake Bunyonyi.

The site attendant,  Mukiza Horace Edgar told our reporter that since its relocation in 2014, the museum had been registering less than 10 visitors in a month and most of them were University students doing research, while the local neighbouring communities had shunned the place, almost “totally”.

“The  general turn up for visitors is still very low . We expected people from around, especially the younger generation to pick interest in coming to look at the traditional tools of work, and other art crafts in this place, ask questions and learn about their culture and origin, but they are literally not interested.,” Mukiza said.

Mukiza attributed the challenge to Banyakigezi parents who were no longer bothering to educate children about their culture and tradition. He also said that the Government had not invested enough in marketing tourism in the antiquities sector.

However, Locals who spoke to our reporter including Gerald Kanyankore from Kabale District and Bright Aheibwomugisha from Rubanda District blamed the Museum Management for not doing enough sensitization about the Museum.

Kanyankore added that he visited the Museum once and found out that a lot of traditional items were also missing, asking the management to look for more art crafts.

Ronald Mwebebesa, a boda boda motorcyclist in Kabale Municipality said the Museum should offer free entrance to locals since it’s a Public facility managed by staff whose pay comes from Government. The entrance fee for Ugandans is Ugx 5,000 while foreigners pay  Ugx 15, 000.

“If this is a Government facility whose operation is facilitated by Taxpayers’ funds, why should we pay to visit the place?” Mwebesa asked.

The Kabale Regional Museum was established in 1978 by the Board of Trustees of the Uganda Museums, Department of Antiquities by then in the Hindu temple located in the centre of Kabale town, after the President Idi Amin Dada expelled the Asians from Uganda.

The museum was closed in 2007 after Indians repossessed the building and reestablished the Hindu temple. The objects were taken to the Kabale government archive and Uganda Museum for security and preservation purposes.

In 2005, land where the museum is currently located was acquired under the leadership of the then Commissioner of Museums and Monuments, Kamuhangire Ephraim. In 2007, construction of the building started under the leadership of Commissioner Mwanja Nkaale Rose.

Kabale Regional Museum was re-opened to the public in September 2014.

The museum has hundreds of ethnographic collections with very few archeology, geology, painting and photograph collections.

It showcases basic information about Kigezi. The topics include Historical background; How Kigezi came into existence, migrations of inhabitants, Evolution of boundaries and current area of Kigezi, Landscape and weather and how they are economically being utilized by the people, their cultural history, economic and political history.

It has information about the Kigezi peoples’ origin, Ethnic groupings and the way they live, Cultural History, Set ups, ceremonies such as marriage, food and drinks, music and dance, among others.

The museum also showcases endangered artifacts in the greater Kigezi community.

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