The Role of Kiga Cultural Totems Within the Social System as Meaning Making Modes for Cultural Identity and Appreciation in Uganda’s Civil Society


The article provides both a visual and text contribution evidencing the Fine Arts as meaning making modes through lived experiences of individuals towards cultural awareness within various communities. Research objects linked to cultural identity (in this case totems as forms of identity) and visual methodologies inform the core arguments for this article. Examining the fine arts as a research method through an ethnographic research brought about the relevance of visual communication towards cultural awareness, significance, sense of belonging through lived experiences of the Kiga cultural communities. Ten Kiga clans were considered for this study and a snowball approach was used in order to provide a valid account of the participants’ views and perceptions. Visual illustrations were produced to represent the different Kiga clan totems and taboos. From the discussions held with the participants, it was established that there was limited literature and personal cultural awareness among the youth that have moved into the urban centers; it was challenging to find some of the visual objects that represented the Kiga clan totems and taboo; there was need to use globalization as a vessel for creating awareness and shaping culture and not to be considered as a destruction process of cultural practices, principles and values; To a certain extent, there was loss of moral development and sustainability amongst cultural communities; There was no engagement of the youth in wisdom traditions sessions with the clansmen and cultural leaders as well as sufficient documentation of the cultural knowledge and practices. The article therefore embraces the notion of every society recognizing its uniqueness through a framework of artistic activities; be it through social, political, cultural and economic structures.


Cultural Identity Lived experiences Meaning making Visual communication.

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    English, Array-Array