Religion and Languages

Uganda'sreligious heritage is tripartite: indigenous religions, Islam,and Christianity.About four-fifths of the population is Christian, primarily divided betweenRoman Catholics and Protestants (mostly Anglicans). Other Christian denominationsinclude the Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, Greek Orthodoxy, Jehovah'sWitnesses, Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Presbyterians. About one-tenth ofthe population is Muslim, and, of the remainder, most practice traditionalreligions. A small number of Abayudaya Jews live in communities in easternUganda, the descendants of converts to Judaism in the 1920s. Large numbers ofSikhs and Hindus live throughout the country. Freedom of religion is guaranteedby the 1995 Constitution.

There are at least 32 languages spoken in Uganda, but English and Swahili both officiallanguages—and Ganda are the most commonly used. English is the medium ofinstruction and of government, access to high office, prestige, economic andpolitical power is almost impossible without an adequate command of the Englishlanguage. Swahili was chosen as another official national language because ofits potential for facilitating regional integration.

Uganda's indigenous languages are coextensive with its different ethnicgroups. In addition to English, French, and Swahili, Radio Uganda broadcasts inmore than 20 indigenous languages including Alur, Ganda, Lugbara, Lumasaba,Rwanda, Nyankole, Nyoro, Soga, and Teso (Iteso). Most Ugandans can understandseveral languages.