Baganda Rhyme

Where are you going, little goat?

I am going to market to buy a new coat.

A coat for a goat? Can a goat have a coat?

People will laugh at a goat with a coat!

This was told by a Ugandan friend who said that it is just a fun rhyme to entertain kids and not necessarily used for any particular purpose.

I chose to include the above rhyme because of its very apparent meaning within the Baganda community, at least from an “outsider’s” perspective. The people place great importance on normalcy, or being “ordinary.” This has led the Baganda to use the word for “white person,” mzungu, even to describe members of their own society when they are not conforming to societal norms. For example, a commonality among all Baganda men is to maintain a considerably short hair length. If anyone chooses to deviate from this custom, they are labeled a mzungu, despite having the same skin color as those in their community. In other words, there is hesitancy to accept what is odd in terms of cultural standards. The goat being dissuaded to purchase a coat in the above rhyme serves to illustrate this aspect of the Baganda and remind its members to adhere to accepted societal conduct and tradition.