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Shs5000: A green tale of the Bakonzo, Mt. Rwenzori and conservation…

This is a serialized read of all the major features of the Ugandan currencies. We are looking to see what the touristic features on the notes are and telling that story to the core of each notes. Journeying with you to all these places displayed on the notes.

Hope you caught our first story, then the Shs1000 note and went on to the Shs2000 before this?

 By View Uganda

It’s the green and the life it exudes. It’s the material, culture and Mountain Rwenzori, a place for gods of Bakonzo tribe that will stand out in this note. The five thousand note boasts of the picturesque Mountain Rwenzori, a collection of Towering, mesmerizing Block Mountains with an hourglass shape. It is found in the Albertine Rift Valley and is the country's highest Mountain, standing at an altitude of 5,109meters above sea level. The Bakonzo, a local tribe that lives around the mountain believe it is home to their god, Kitasamba, son of Nzururu.

The 52 years old Baluku Aloysius, a Senior Guide at the Mountain of Rukonzo descent maintains that the Nzururu's name translates to the snow while Kitasamba's means, the great one who does not climb because there is no need as he is already the summit. And get this, Kitasamba's wife is Mbula Nene "heavy rain". His sister Nyabibuya safeguards women's fertility. She is strongly associated with homestead and domestic life.

"Together with his family, Kitasamba our beloved god feeds our land, allowing our crops to flourish," Baluku says. "In their honour, we can't help it shower them with praise and worship. One of the key music instruments that graces the occasion is endara, a xylophone of wooden keys resting on banana stems."

To quote the best seller, Mountains of the moon by Henry Osmoton, “On the other hand, enjoka is the devil of the mountain. He is a black snake who personifies destruction and sorcery."


Flora and fauna-Bird watching

Uganda deserves a special place in every birders bucket list as it boasts of over 1060 recorded bird species. And this is what the fifty thousand note is about. The note is largely green in a colour, a representation of the country’s pristine parks, where most of these birds can be found. One such is the weaver bird, a black and yellow beauty with perfection in building nests. It is that bird on the note.  Uganda has over 23 endangered birds which as endemic to the Albertine rift. March and September are the best as one stands higher chances of seeing them with ease. If you are keener on migrant birds like cinnamon-chested bee-eater, the months from April to November don’t disappointment.


On a sad note, research has found that most of Uganda's birds are becoming endangered as communities and corporate companies continue degrading their habitats (wetlands) in quest for land. This is mostly fueled by the need for land to establish farms and industries.

For instance, the population of Crested Cranes has dwindled by over 80% over the last four decades, according to a study conducted in 2014 by Nature Uganda. According to findings of the study, Uganda had a total of 100,000 Cranes in 1970s, in the 1980s, 50,000 cranes were in existence, the country had 20, 000 in the 1990s. Today, they are less 10,000 left.

It is against this background that Nature Uganda as of effect from start of 2016 embraced a more interactive approach—to engaging corporate companies into uplifting the conservation of the crane. Through an annual golf tournament set for May, corporate companies are engaged on how they can still carry on with their infrastructural developments in an eco-friendly way. 

 Historical Monument

Its face features a white monument built in 1945. Yes, the Shs5000 note is in commemoration of Ugandan soldiers who died in World War 1 and 2. It stands in city square, right behind the fence of the Uganda High Court. It is the oldest monument in Kampala, as built by the British colonial government. The monument is painted white, as its objective is to urge Ugandans to uphold peace, a facilitator for development.

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