Mt. Longonot 2013/14

Well 2013 is just about to come to an end. How time goes fast! Am here, already climbing Mt. Longonot crater, hoping to go round the 7.2km disc of rocks. I am discovering the inner me, come 2014. Doing my last day of the year 2013, at least on top of the crater.

Sample some of the images. More to come next year!!

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Photography :: Joel Lukhovi

Location :: Mt. Longonot Crater

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Literary photograph

I woke up this morning to heavy fog in Masaka town, during my international art residency in Uganda and the feeling was totally exciting. Felt like part of my life was starting all over again. Here are a couple of images i decided to take within a snap and share with the world about this feeling.

Landscape photography always brings a lot of adventures and wonderful sceneries around the world.

Landscape photography always brings a lot of adventures and wonderful sceneries around the world.

The sun was just minutes away from rising up and I felt the contrast of the clouds and the glowing sunlight would just make a perfect shot for the occasion.

Landscape photography means to capture the beautiful places that have been with out any doubt created by God.

Landscape photography means to capture the beautiful places that have been with out any doubt created by God.

Now this is always a difficult one and I’ve spent a good while trying to work out which images represent something about me rather than just about the things I have found or the light that I saw them in. This is a little strange as they aren’t always necessarily my ‘best’ photographs but I’ve added a little text to each one.

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Am motivated by an appreciation of the beauty of the natural environment and a desire to see it preserved.

Land may be desert, mountain, plain, ridge etc. For me nature is not landscape, but the dynamism of visual forces. Landscape photography is proposed to show special spaces within the world, sometimes enormous and never-ending, but other times tiny.

Photography ::  Joe Lukhovi

Uganda’s Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi tombs is a world heritage centre in the Buganda kingdom situated on the Kasubi hill within Kampala, Uganda. The Kasubi Tombs site is located on Kasubi Hill, five kilometers from the city center, along the Kampala-Hoima road. This is a few miles from the country’s renowned Makerere University.

The Kasubi Tombs site is an active religious place in the Buganda Kingdom. To the Baganda the Kabaka is the unquestioned symbol of spiritual, political, and social state of the Buganda nation. As the burial ground for the previous four Kabakas, therefore, the Kasubi Tombs is a place where the Kabaka and others in Buganda’s complex cultural hierarchy frequently carry out important and special rituals.

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The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi hills constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.

The entrance to the site is a beautifully built gatehouse called Bujjabukula. According to Ganda tradition, the guards who control access to the site hide behind a see-through woven reed screen, to keep watch round the clock in order to control access. This gatehouse was constructed using wooden columns supporting a thatched roof, with walls made of woven reeds. The Bujjabukula leads to a small courtyard which contains a circular house in which the royal drums are kept, the Ndoga-Obukaba.

entrance to the tombs

Historically, in Baganda, the Kabakas have always built their palaces on strategic hills to control the major roads to the palace, and find easy ways to escape in case of an invasion or a rebellion. When they died, the traditional practice was to bury each Kabaka at a separate site and to establish a royal shrine to house his jawbone which was believed to contain his spirit at another site. These shrines were started by descendants of the Kabaka’s leading chiefs, his wives, his ritual half-sister, and by a spirit medium through which the dead Kabaka communicated with his successors. Many of these shrines are still maintained today.

To the Baganda the Kabaka is the unquestioned symbol of spiritual, political, and social state of the Buganda nation. As the burial ground for the previous four Kabakas, therefore, the Kasubi Tombs is a place where the Kabaka and others in Buganda’s complex cultural hierarchy frequently carry out important centuries-old Ganda rituals. The entrance into this courtyard is a striking experience as one immediately faces the main tomb building known as Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, which is the architectural masterpiece of this ensemble.

The drum was played to announce the death of a member of the royal family.

The drum was played to announce the death of a member of the royal family.

The Kasubi site bears eloquent witness to the living cultural traditions of the Baganda. The spatial organization of the Tombs represents the best extant example of a Baganda palace/architectural ensemble. Built in the finest traditions of Ganda architecture and palace design, it reflects technical achievements developed over many centuries. The built and natural elements of the tombs are charged with historical, traditional, and spiritual values. It is a major spiritual centre for the Baganda and is the most active religious place in the kingdom.

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The Baganda belong to the Bantu speaking people and date their political civilization back to the 13th century AD. According to oral traditions, the first Kabaka of Buganda was Kintu. He is said to have come with his wife Nambi, whose hand he won by performing heroic deeds at the command of her father Ggulu, the god of the sky. Kabaka Kintu is said not to have died but to have disappeared into a forest at Magonga.

The main royal house was destroyed by fire in 2010, describing it as the second biggest trajedy.

The main royal house was destroyed by fire in 2010, describing it as the second biggest trajedy.

Since 1938 the site has suffered several processes of restoration and modification, primarily to meet threats of structural failure. It was completely reconstructed in 1938-40, when modern materials were introduced, such as some concrete columns. During the 1990s, changes incurred by most of the buildings have slightly changed the architectural value of the site; which suffers badly from rain, drainage problems, and termites, with a constant threat of fire.

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Most of the smaller buildings show deficiencies. One building burnt down in 1998 has been rebuilt but is without a thatch roof for lack of funds. The original reed fence around the whole site has long since disappeared; the living fence of bark-cloth trees around the site has suffered quite badly as an obvious target in the endless search for firewood. The site has, nevertheless, to an extent been preserved out of fear and respect for its sacred and religious nature.

Photography:: Joe Lukhovi

Host:: Prince Mulondo Joseph

Kampala, Uganda

Citizens in charge

The great western Kenya adventure included a stop in the ever fertile Kisii town end outskirts, with a trip out to the soapstone region. It is apparently the most vibrant part of the region. Great thing is that kisii is a hilly place that rains almost everyday. Its a ritual.

I began working slowly and awkwardly with the market already established for my viewing. Many people remembered me from my previous visit to their remote villages. We shared some stories, some laughs, and I was given a new name that reflected my particular aesthetic since I started shaving my head. “Bwana Kihara,” they called me, the man with no hair.

It was quite a joke and I began to feel more comfortable as I walked through the village. The many adults were certainly accommodating to my photographic desires, but the superficial snap-shots they offered were not what I was looking for; so after shooting the market for a while, I turned my attention to the extra ordinary scenarios.

I turned to photograph motion of people behind the back ground. The kisii people are mostly accustomed to trading and that is the most common activity that one gets to meet and see while roaming the little town that remains ever busy on most times of the day.

I came across a couple of faces and one particular charming girl.  She was reluctant to be photographed and confused but found the small little window to look through while I moved the zoom in and out. She started to laugh.

It was a quiet little laugh as she leaned against me and flies landed on our heads and faces.  I found the shutter release with her little fingers and fired off a half dozen quick shots of.  She let out a full laugh as the motor drive advanced the film after each shot and I had made a new friend.

This gave me the chance to exploit the welcome by getting to photograph the activities of the market, which mainly include selling of raw bananas. I photographed that small boy…mother…man… with a big smile, as well as several other children who were now asking to look through my camera and standing for portraits.

Even when clearly posing for the camera, the innocent eyes of these children and people, uncorrupted by political indoctrination or embittered by years of hardship, drought, and hunger, express the spirit of a courageous and generous people.My tour came to an end at the SMOLart centre.

A centre that was set up by a German to help promote soapstone making. This is a group of artists living in small rural village of Tabaka  in Kisii. The area of Tabaka provides the medium in which they work. The Kisii stone, a type of soft stone found in various shades, hardness and array types. About 10,000 artisans benefit from the sales made out of the handicrafts.

Photography :: Joe Lukhovi

location :: Kisii