Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Byabaowezi, Paulo and Damari Karujuka

Anglican Communion (Church of Uganda)

[BUNYORO, Clan: Numooli]

Paulo Byabaowezi was the son of Nyakamatura, son of Nyakatura, and a hereditary mujwarakondo, his chieftaincy of Bugahya being the foremost in Bunyoro.[1] When Kabarega fled to Lango in 1894 he appointed Byabaowezi as his musigire in Bugahya.[2] In the same year he was defeated twice in battle, once at Musaijamakuru, and later at Mparo with three other of Kabarega’s generals.[3] He therefore made what terms he could with the British, and so retained his chieftaincy. It was to his headquarters that the first Christian teachers, invited through the agency of Mika Fataki, lived and worked, though is attitude towards them was at first ambiguous. He met Fisher when he visited in 1895, and Fisher greatly liked him.[4] By this time Fisher arrived in Bunyoro permanently in 1899 he was the leader of those who were under instruction near Hoima, and he was baptized in October 1899. Shortly afterwards he married Damari Karujuka, a mubitokati (princess) who had been interested in Christianity from the beginning.[5] During 1899 and 1900 he was quarreling with Rwabudongo, the head of the barusura, for supremacy, and he took to himself honors which should have been the prerogative of the mukama only.[6] He had been appointed one of Kitehimbwa’s regents, but relations with the mukama were strained and Byabaowezi’s power was the greater.[7] He did not altogether lose his ambitions when Duhaga was appointed mukama in Kitehimbwa’s place, and during the Nyangire rising of 1907 he called the mukama’s position in question and sought high honor for himself.[8] The missionaries were somewhat at a loss to know what to make of him, for they could not square his ambition and participation in Nyangire with his staunch support of the church, and they thought his wife was a better Christian than he was.[9] At the opening of the new church in Hoima in 1908, he, together with Jomusi Miti and the mukama, were singled out and thanked for the help that they had given in the building of the church.[10] He died suddenly in 1912, and had it not been for the support of Mika Fataki, his sons might have been passed over and lost their father’s chieftaincy. He was one of those who took readily to new ways, and in this he may be compared with Nuwa Mbaguta of Ankole and Apolo Kagwa of Buganda.

Louise Pirouet

Notes (short form; see List of Sources for complete citations):

  1. Bunyoro Church Magazine, Anon., pp. 68-9; Empango Celebrations Committee, 1967, p. 7; K.W. 1937, p. 67.

  2. Fataki, 1932, p. 66

  3. See Chapter III, p. 131. [of Pirouet’s PhD thesis listed below]

  4. Fisher Papers, Book VI, p. 5. Book X A, p. 36.

  5. Masindi Baptism Register and Marriage Register; Fisher Papers, Book X A, p. 39.

  6. S. Mbabi-Katana, personal communication, 1967.

  7. Fisher Papers, Book XV, “Death of an Historical Character.”

  8. Ladbury Journals, May 19, 1907.

  9. Lloyd, 1906, pp. 33-4.

  10. Uganda Notes, October 1908, pp. 149-152.

  11. Jawe, 1967; Fisher Papers, Book XV, “Death of an Historical Character.”

This biography, written by Louise Pirouet, was included in “Appendix A: Biographical Notes,” on pages 378-9 of “The Expansion of the Church of Uganda (N.A.C.) from Buganda into Northern and Western Uganda between 1891 and 1914, with Special Reference to the work of African Teachers and Evangelists” (PhD Thesis: University of East Africa, 1968). Pirouet published this thesis as Black Evangelists (London: Rex Collings, 1978). However, Black Evangelists does not reproduce the detailed biographies, complete with references to sources, found in Appendix A of the thesis. Print copies are available at Africana Section, Makerere University Library (U 02 P57); The Centre for Christianity Worldwide, Cambridge; and a microfilm copy at the School of Oriental Studies, London. [information from Angus Crichton]