The Tombs of Buganda Kings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kampala, Uganda, were ravaged by fire in 2010. The main tomb building, a circular structure with a domed roof, was destroyed. The fire also damaged other buildings on the site, including the royal regalia and other artifacts.
The tombs were built in 1882 as a palace for the Kabakas, or kings, of Buganda. They were converted into a royal burial ground in 1884. The site is revered as an important historical and spiritual site for the Baganda people.
After the fire, UNESCO placed the tombs on its list of endangered heritage sites. However, the tombs have since been reconstructed with the help of international funding.
In June 2023, a UNESCO mission visited the site and recommended that it be removed from the list of endangered heritage sites. The mission was impressed with the progress that had been made in the reconstruction of the tombs.
The recommendation will be considered by the 21 member states of the World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in September 2023.
The removal of the tombs from the endangered list would be a powerful symbol given that 50% of sites considered in danger are in Africa. It would also be a welcome boost for the Baganda people, who have long been proud of their cultural heritage.
The fire at the tombs was a tragedy, but the reconstruction effort has been a success. The tombs are now a testament to the resilience of the Baganda people and their commitment to preserving their heritage.
In addition to the fire, the tombs have also been affected by political turmoil in Uganda. In 2009, a travel ban was imposed on the Kabaka, or king, of Buganda. This led to riots and tensions between the government and the Baganda people.
Despite these challenges, the tombs have remained a symbol of hope and unity for the Baganda people. They are a reminder of their rich history and culture, and they provide a place for them to come together and celebrate their heritage.
The removal of the tombs from the endangered list would be a significant achievement for the Baganda people. It would show that their heritage is valued and respected, and it would help to promote peace and reconciliation in Uganda.