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   Information Center Uganda
Uganda General Information
History of Uganda
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Uganda Geography
Uganda Population
Uganda Government
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Uganda Military
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Uganda People, Languange & Religion
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Uganda Expatriates Handbook
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People, Languange & Religion in Uganda


Uganda's ethnic groups are most broadly distinguished by language. In southern Uganda, most of the population speak Bantu languages. Sudanic speakers inhabit the northwest; Nilotic speakers, principally the Acholi and Langi, live in the north; and the Iteso and Karamajong in the northeast. The Baganda, who populate the northern shore of Lake Victoria, constitute the largest single ethnic group in Uganda, making up about 17% of the total population. The Basogo 8%; the Iteso 8%; and the Langi 6%. Perhaps 6% of the population (not counting refugees) is of Rwandan descent, either Tutsi or Hutu. Most of them live in the south. Bagisu constitute 5%; Acholi account for 4%; Lugbara another 4%; Bunyoro 3%; and Batoro 3%. The Karamajong account for 2%. Various other groups make up 23%; the remaining 1% is comprised of non-Africans, including Europeans, Asians, and Arabs.


English is the official national language. It is taught in grade schools, used in courts of law, and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts. Bantu languages, particularly Luganda (the language of the Baganda), are widespread in the southern, western, and central areas. Luganda is the preferred language for native-language publications and may be taught in school. Nilotic languages are common in the north and northeast, and Central Sudanic clusters exist in the northwest. Kiswahili and Arabic are also widely spoken.


Christianity is the majority religion, practised by about 66% of the population, with about 90% of all Christians being Roman Catholics or Anglicans. Other denominations include Seventh-Day Adventist, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, the Unification Church, and Pentecostal churches. Muslims account for about 16%; most are of the Sunni sect. The rest practice traditional African religions, which are more common in the north and west of Uganda. There are also small numbers of Hindus, Baha'is, and Jews. Traditional beliefs and customs are often practised in conjunction with other established faiths.

Certain Muslim and Christian holidays are officially observed.

Though freedom of religion is provided for in the constitution, local governments have placed restrictions on some religious groups that are considered to be cults. This has been particularly true since 2000, when it was discovered that members of a cult group had killed over 1,000 citizens. Some organisations are banned from evening meetings for what local authorities claim to be a matter of public safety.




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