Godfreys’ work invites the viewer with earthly colours he paints his cultural experiences and brings to life the rich African culture, the works trigger discussion topics that embed rhythms and patterns displayed. Before Godfrey paints his story he researches on his subject and he is guided by his finds. In his painting titled “IMBALU DANCE” Godfrey shares one of Africas unique tribe ceremony from the area of Mountain Eligon in Eastern Uganda
People of North Bugisu (Bagisu) originated from a man known as Mugisu, the son of Masaba,the collective name for the people of Bugisu is, Bamasaba. the name ‘Bagisu’ was mistakenly applied to the entire tribe by the Baganda tribe and the British who were ignorant of the local situation.The origin of circumcision among the Bamasaba is linked to the ‘Barwa’ (Sebei.) The Bamasaba refer to their circumcision as ‘Imbalu. A reason given for the adoption of the ‘circumcision of Nabarwa’ is that Masaba proposed to Nabarwa who replied that she could never marry an uncircumcised man (umusinde or boy). In order to marry her, she proposed he gets circumcised according to her people’s customs. Masaba was circumcised and so became a man (umusani) to get his bride. During the rituals candidates are taken through a traditional pass called (luwanda) where they meet other clans and proceed to the sacred swamps, they are taken to mwidoyi (mud) where they are smeared with clay (itosi). They are called all sorts of names and traditional beer is spat upon them. A day to the circumcision, the elders (basakhulu) clean out the sacred graves and rebuild the shrines as designed and desired by each clan at this stage, each candidate is taken to his mother’s clan (ibwiwana) to announce his intensions to his uncles and receive gifts before they go to the courtyard prepared for circumcision. On the day of circumcision, after elaborate instructions and blessings from elders, the initiates are taken to the appointed grounds by each clan to face the surgeon (umukembi), who uses a double-edged knife to remove the foreskin.“On this day, the dancing is so intense and the candidates are possessed because of the rituals carried out on them, they feel the urge to face the knife, after circumcision, drums are beaten and people indulge in dancing and drinking. The drums are called ifumbo ye kyiguga (the drums of the clans).“The process is quick and professional. The surgeon is a specialist who has been doing this for a long time, he has to accomplish the task in 60 seconds or less, failure to do that will result in punishment. Should the surgeon also hurt the candidate in a way that can endanger the life of the candidate, he will be in trouble. The candidate is also not supposed to shake or fear during the process, lest they face punishment and are deemed weak,” The imbalu cycle that began with the ‘isonja’ singing and dancing then terminates with the ‘ineema’ confirmation ceremony. The Masaba male, regardless of age, status or wealth is a full man after circumcision and is allowed to marry and beget children and participate in the decision- making process of the clan.