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Nyabinghi Muhumusa & Kaigirwa of Rwanda

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  • Nyabinghi Muhumusa & Kaigirwa of Rwanda

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    Muhumusa and Kaigirwa were leaders of the Nyabingi group of priestesses that was influential in Rwanda and Uganda from 1850 to 1950.
    Muhumusa organized armed resistance against the Germans and vowed that “the bullets of the Wazungu” (white men) would turn to water against her.
    She organized armed resistance against the Germans and was eventually detained by the British in Uganda from 1913 until she transitioned in 1945.
    She was the first in a line of rebel priestesses who fought against colonial domination in the name of Nyabingi and, because of they feared the power of these priestesses, in 1912 the British pass the “Witchcraft Act” outlawing African spiritual systems.

    Kaigirwa followed Muhumusa. She was also a Nyabingi priestess and vowed to remove the Europeans from her land. British officials put a high price on her head but no one would claim it.

    The British attacked her camp in 1919 killing many of the men but Kaigirwa and the main fighters escaped. However, the British did capture the sacred white sheep of the Nyabingi and burned it to dust thinking this would break their power. After this act, a series of disasters came upon the district commissioner who killed the sheep (his herds were wiped out, a fire broke out at his house, and his roof caved in on him).

    Kaigirwa was never captured by the British.