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Banyankore is a word spoken in the Bantu family of languages and corresponds to “the people of Nkore,” comprising the Babima (singular Mubima) and the Bairu (singular Mwiru), two relatively autonomous peoples cohabiting Nkore near the end of the 15th century. Runyankore, a form of Bantu, is the traditional language of both Bahima and the Bairu. When the British arrived at the turn of the 20th century, Nkore was one of four kingdoms in East-Central Africa located among the high plateaus and fertile plains that make up the southwest region of present-day Uganda. Upon incorporation into the Ugandan Protectorate in 1901, Nkore became known as the province of Ankole.

Distinct and markedly different ways of life characterized Bahima and Bairu economic, political, and social structures. The ...

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