The region of Central Africa delimited by the great lakes - including Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika - is occupied by a group of societies who share a common system of cultural features, symbolic representations and practices regarding political power: the institution of sacred kingship. There are some forty Intralacustrine societies characterized by sacred kingships, some already powerful states at the time of the colonial scramble, such as Buganda, Burundi, and Rwanda, while others could at best be considered local chieftainships (See Figure 3.1). In spite of a diversity of political institutions, their common identity has been recognized both in scholarly works preceding the end of the colonial era (Trouwborst, d'Hertefelt, and Scherer 1962; de Heusch 1966) and in the more recent work of local historians (Mworoha 1977; Bujumbara Conference 1982). While all these societies share a hierarchical system of values differentiating pastoralism and agriculture, in full-fledged pastoral aristocracies cattle are distinctly associated with kingship (See Plate 3.1).