Other names: oburengo, esaasi
The enyimba is a gourd rattle measuring 30 cm in length; its diameter varies from between 15 and 25 cm. The gourd comes from the Cucumis, which is widespread in the region. The fruit is harvested when it has reached the desired size. It is dried out for several weeks and then the top is cut off and a few small stones are placed inside the gourd. The gourd is then shaken long and hard to loosen the soft flesh inside and make it easier to remove. Once the gourd has been hollowed out, the stones are replaced with the seeds of the Canna (lily). Nowhere in Ankole does the gourd have a wooden handle as the thinner neck of the gourd itself serves that purpose. The opening in the gourd is closed with any kind of suitable material.
Everywhere in Ankole, except among the Ziba, small sound holes (round, cruciform or crescent-shaped) are cut or burnt into the gourd rattle.
The enyimba used to be played only by men in the past but now it is also played by women. The instrument is used as rhythmic accompaniment to dance music (together with drums and other rattles) and ritual music (solo in the emandwa cult).
Among the Ziba, Nyambo and Tagwenda one instrument is used per player but the Kooki hold one enyimba in each hand. The rhythms the latter play are much more complex because they are able to combine different rhythms with both hands.
The Iru call the enyimba an oburengo.
for more information see also: VAN THIEL, Paul, "Multi-Tribal Music of Ankole. An ethnomusicological study including a glossary of musical terms." Edited by the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Annales, Sciences Humaines, nr 91, 1977, 234 pp.
© KMMA/Paul VAN THIEL