The Mpambo African Multiversity in partnership with the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research, Inclusion Press and the Victoria International Development Association (VIDEA) concluded a week’s events called Confluence 2017 with the installation of the Saaba Kabona (the highest spiritual leader) Jumba Aligaweza of Tondism on May 24, 2017 in ceremonies held in the sacred site of the Walusi Hills in central Uganda.
Confluence 2017 brought together 50 Mother tongue scholars, Indigenous leaders from Turtle Island, and allies to the sacred source of the Nile River in Jinja, Uganda for a week of reflection and celebration. It was said that Confluence 2017 was the first international conference to be held in Uganda with Luganda and Lusoga as the working languages with English translation for those who did not speak either of the Mother Tongues. Confluence 2017 has been a major project for our UNESCO Chair as it seek to deepen our understanding of knowledge democracy and support knowledge generation and sharing for those who have been excluded from our global mainstream. We have partnered with the Mpambo, Afrikan Multiversity over the past five years as plans were being made to hold this event.
When European contact was made in Uganda, political conquest and colonisation went hand in hand with concerted and on-going efforts to discredit and kill off the knowledge systems that had proven effective for many thousands of years. This epistemicide was particularly savage when it came to African spiritual traditions. Christianity and Islam claimed moral and intellectual superiority over traditional practices of prayer and grounding with the land. African spirituality was labelled as satanic. People who practice it are still, according to testimony at Confluence 2017 disrespected and despised. Confluence 2017 provided an opportunity for an equal and respectful exchange of ideas about knowledge and justice, about the re-emergence of the spiritual philosophy of ‘Tondism’. Tondism, arising from that land where all human life began and with it all human spiritual and intellectual life, derives its name from the word Katonda, the African God of Peace.
Through drumming, dance, music, prayer, presentations, visits from and to African women and men spiritual leaders and traditional medicine practitioners, those participating experienced a truly transformative experience. The organizer, Wangoola Wangoola Ndawula noted that “Confluence 2017 has exceeded my expectations. This event which has unified and restored the confidence of many of Uganda’s spiritual leaders and Mother tongue scholars in one of the most important achievements of this century”
A 12 minute video is being prepared, many other in-depth written reports and hundreds of photos being curated. All will be available on our UNESCO Chair web site before long.