Until recently, Godfrey Mugerwa was a resident of Masaka district. However, this changed six months ago when he got news about the discovery of gold in Namayingo district.
Like Mugerwa, there are many people who are getting attracted to move into the gold mining area in search for money. The immigration has changed the cultural setting of the area previously inhabited by purely the Basoga to a multi ethnic and cultural area.
Located about 40 kilometres by road south of Bugiri, the nearest largest town, Namayingo district was established by Act of Parliament and began functioning on 01 July 2010. It is bordered by Bugiri District to the northwest, Busia District to the northeast, the Republic of Kenya to the east and southeast, the Republic of Tanzania to the south and Mayuge District to the west and southwest.
The 2002 population census put the number of people in the area at about 140,000 however, with the present immigration; the figure is likely to rise by many digits by the time the next census is held.
Mugerwa, a vice chairperson of the miners at the Nsango B gold mine, says he moved into the area to benefit from the money involved in the gold business. He explains that previously, he traded in passion fruits across the Uganda-Kenya border, a business he abandoned as soon as he learnt about the gold mining in Namayingo.
Emma Sekuk, a gold dealer in the area, says that presently there are many people from several parts of Uganda who have moved into Namayingo district and are involved in the various stages of the gold mining activities. From the miners who dig the gold ore to the buyers who finally purchase the gold, there are different stages of processing the gold ore, which involves many people as the mineral takes the path of purification.
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Another immigrant into Namayingo is Tito Okware, the LC3 chairman of Buyinja Sub County. Okware explains that he migrated from Tororo district and settled in Namayingo about twenty years ago. He said then, there were fewer people in the area and land was readily available adding that this is bound to change with the gold mining activities.
Okware says he believes that the changed status of the society from largely Busoga to a heterogeneous community is helping to achieve development at a high rate. He explains that both the immigrants and the indigenous members of the community share and acquire new ideas on livelihood that quickly translates into development.
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The multi ethnicity status of the district has also forced the members of the community to acquire different traditions and customs such as learning the many languages in order to be able to effectively communicate with each other. Okware says that he has had to learn many languages such as Lusoga, Luo, Lugwere, Lusamia and Japadhola among others.
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To add up to the lure, is fishing on Lake Victoria on whose shores parts of Namayingo district stretches. Together with gold mining, the activity has also attracted a section of people to the new district.