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The Tale of Walumbe and the great Ttanda pits.

The tale of Walumbe, Lubaale, Kayiikuzi and the great Ttanda pits, revolves around what happened after Kintu and Nambi refused to honour a promise made to Walumbe, Nnambi’s brother.

If you have read my articles, Walumbe’s Fallout with Kintu and Nnambi then you already know that Nnambi was Ggulu( King of the Heavens)’s daughter along with Kaikuzu the oldest (Digger of holes), Lubale (Bringer of thunder) and Walumbe (Death), his other son.

This fallout came about after Kintu and Nnambi had a disagreement over a pack they made with Walumbe. When the couple came back to earth from heaven together with Walumbe, he made a pact with them. He would not bother them as long as they promised to give him their first child to help him with chores and keep him company so that he does not become lonely.

The Fallout

Years passed and the couple enjoyed their time on earth without Walumbe bothering them. In fact, they forgot about the pact as well as Walumbe. It did not take long for Kintu and Nambi to get children. One day, Walumbe who soon grew bored and lonely, went to Kintu’s home and asked his brother-in-law to give him a child to help him with chores and keep him company. But remembering Gulu’s warning, Kintu would not hear of it. He refused to honour the pact he made with Walumbe.

Walumbe became very angry. Kintu did not only refuse this simple favour to Walumbe but also went back on their pact. That very night, Out of rage, Walumbe went and killed Kintu’s son. Kintu chased after him in an attempt to return the favour but Walumbe disappeared into the wilderness. Some stories according to the Ganda Oral tradition maintain that Walumbe ran away with Kintu and Nnambi’s child into a deep hole.

Naturally, this act of hostility caused a deep rift between the couple and Walumbe. Kintu went back to heaven to report Walumbe’s actions to Ggulu. Ggulu rebuked Kintu, reminding him of the original warning he had disregarded. In his defence, Kintu also blamed Nambi for returning to collect the millet for their chicken.

Ggulu then sent another of his sons, Kayikuuzi, to go back to earth with Kintu and try to persuade Walumbe to return to heaven or if necessary return him by force.

The Struggles between Ggulu’s Sons

On reaching earth, Kayikuuzi tried to persuade Walumbe to go back to heaven but Walumbe would not hear of it. “I like it here on earth and I am not coming back with you,” he said.

Kayikuuzi decided to capture Walumbe by force, and a great fight broke out between them. Just when Walumbe was about to be overpowered, he escaped and disappeared into the ground. When Kayikuuzi got to where he was hiding, Walumbe run back out to the earth. Kayikuuzi went after him, digging huge holes into and out of the ground to try and find his brother. Further struggles between the brothers ensued and once again Walumbe being more cunning managed to escape into the ground.

Walumbe eventually opted to make his home underground in the deepest and darkest of the holes that came to be known as Ttanda.

tanda pits

Also Read: Walumbe’s Fallout with Kintu and Nnambi

The struggle went on for several days and by now, Kayikuuzi was close to exhaustion. Ggulu sent his other son Lubaale (bringer of thunder) to help and his attacks being more brutal and striking inflicted a lot of scars to Walumbe who eventually became black as soot and scary. His very sight became horrid and displaceable.


Heaven Ggulu Summons Kaikuzzi To Defeat Walumbe Painting by Gloria Ssali Fine Art America

Kayikuuzi talked to Kintu and Nambi, telling them he would go back into the ground again to try and find Walumbe. Kintu, Nnambi and their children were to stay indoors. The children were not to make a sound if they see Walumbe.

Kayikuuzi knew Walumbe was also getting tired so the plan was to come upon him secretly and grab him when he gets out of the ground. Kintu and Nambi went into their house, but some of the kids stayed out playing.

When Walumbe came back to the surface, Kintu’s children who had stayed outside screamed in terror at the horrid sight of Walumbe. On hearing the screams, Walumbe grabbed them and went underground into the great Tanda hole once again.

Kayikuuzi was furious with Kintu and Nambi for not having followed his instructions. He gave up the fight and went back to heaven with his brother Lubaale.

The beginning of thunder, sickness and the cycle of birth and death.

After Kayikuuzi’s failure Kintu decided, if Walumbe was to continue killing their children, then he and Nnambi would keep having more. The more Walumbe killed, the more Kintu and Nnambi had more. Kintu believed, Walumbe would never be able to kill off all their children.

Walumbe continued grabbing Kintu’s offspring through all forms of death and sometimes sickness or calamities. And so that is how the legend of creation, sickness and death started.

Kintu’s descendants will always remain through birth. Hence the Ganda saying “Abaana ba Kintu tebalifa kuggwaawo“. This means that Kintu’s children will never be wiped off the face of the earth.

Tanda, where Walumbe and Kayikuuzi fought and became Walumbe’s home is referred to as the place of death ( Walumbe’s place). The famous caves that are found today at Ttanda in Ssingo are said to be the ones that were dug by Kayikuuzi in the fight with his brother Walumbe.

Also Read: The Tale of Kintu, the Fairy Bee and The Great Tasks