Counting-Out Rhyme – Kampala, Uganda

Baganda Children Counting

Ding Ding Donge

Ding Ding Dong

Waliwo   Afuuye  Naduuka  Emisinde

Someone farted     and run    a run

Omwana wa   Obote

Child        of   Obote

Atambula Awuunya        Nekiibi                         Mu   Mpale

Walks       smelly      with human waste               in     pants

Charles had this to say about the game. “I and several other kids played this game when we were still little kids living in Kampala, Uganda in the late 80’s. We always played it after smelling a foul smell or after hearing a sound of someone breaking wind. Basically, someone (always an older member of a group) would attempt to find the guilty person using this rhyme. He or she would count from child to child with each word of the rhyme. The last counted individual at the end of the song would be deemed guilty.  After supposedly locating the guilty party, everyone else would laugh at them as well as calling them “Child of Obote.” That often caused the supposedly guilty child to cry. In general, the game had to be played once. However, sometimes it would be repeated if the supposedly guilty party protested the verdict. Only Luganda speaking children played this game. Older people who often joined in making fun of the guilty individual supported it.” When I asked who Obote was, Charles said he was a former president of Uganda who was unpopular among most Baganda people because he exiled their king.


When Charles was telling me this rhyme, it meant no sense to me at all. However, when I critically analyzed it, it started making sense. I figured out some morals in the Baganda culture. First and foremost, I figured that it is considered immoral to fart in public. I say so because of the fact that; after playing the game and finding out who had done it, all kids would laugh so loud and make fun of the guilty party. If farting were not immoral in this culture, then I would not think that this rhyme would end in someone crying. Therefore, I think the rhyme was formulated to help teach children to control their bodily emissions.

Apart from that, I also figured that this rhyme had a political message it passed on the kids. In a way, this rhyme is divisive since Obote was an unpopular president among the Baganda. Hence, I would say that parents use support this rhyme to instill hatred for Obote in their children. The question would then be; why is it still being used after Obote’s death? Well, I think it is used more as a campaign against Obote’s political party. I would not be surprised to hear that Baganda children do not support the party to which Obote belonged. This is because they grow up associating Obote to something immoral (farting). Last but not least, I think that this rhyme teaches children to respect elders. I say so because it is always the older kid in the group who performs the rhyme.