These People Are Losing Their Gods to Climate Change
By Thomas Lewton
April 12, 2021
As Uganda’s mountainous ice caps melt, ethnic groups are losing the traditional belief systems that have sustained them for thousands of years.
The god Kithasamba sits atop the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda. According to the cosmology of the Bakonzo ethnic group, ice and snow – believed to be Kithasamba’s sperm – melts and carries life down through the valleys lined with giant heather trees and bamboo thickets, and into the savannah below.
“The water gives us life; it fertilises our land,” said Baluku Mikayir, a community elder and spiritual leader of the Ekisalhalha kya Kororowaterfall, his hoarse voice barely audible above the roar of the cascading river.