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Image:Acholiland, Uganda.png
Acholiland, Uganda

Acholi (also Acoli) are the people of the districts of Gulu, Kitgum Pader (known as Acholiland) in northern Uganda, and Magwe County in southern Sudan. The 1991 Ugandan census counted 746,796 Acholi; a further 45,000 Acholi live outside of Uganda.<ref>Acholi: A language of Uganda, Ethnologue</ref>


[edit] Language

Main article: Acholi language

The Acholi language is a Western Nilotic language, classified as Luo, and is mutually intelligible with Lango and other Luo languages.

The Song of Lawino, one of the most successful African literary works, was written by Okot p'Bitek in Acholi, and later translated to English.

[edit] History

See also: Luo

The Acholi are a Luo people, who are said to have come to northern Uganda from the area now known as Bahr el Ghazal in southern Sudan. Starting in the late seventeenth century, a new sociopolitical order developed among the Luo of northern Uganda, mainly characterized by the formation of chiefdoms headed by Rwodi (sg. Rwot, 'ruler'). By the mid-nineteenth century, about 60 small chiefdoms existed in eastern Acholiland.<ref>Webster 1970.</ref> During the second half of the nineteenth century Arabic-speaking traders from the north started to call them Shooli, a term which transformed into 'Acholi'.<ref>According to Atkinson (1994).</ref>

Their traditional dwelling-places were circular huts with a high peak, furnished with a mud sleeping-platform, jars of grain and a sunk fireplace, with the walls daubed with mud and decorated with geometrical or conventional designs in red, white or grey. They were skilled hunters, using nets and spears, and kept goats, sheep and cattle. In war they used spears and long, narrow shields of giraffe or ox hide.

During Uganda's colonial period, the British encouraged political and economic development in the south of the country, in particular among the Baganda. In contrast, the Acholi and other northern ethnic groups supplied much of the national manual labor and came to comprise a majority of the military, creating what some have called a "military ethnocracy." This reached its height with the coup d'état of Acholi General Tito Okello, and came to a crashing end with the defeat of Okello and the Acholi-dominated army by the National Resistance Army led by now-President Yoweri Museveni.

Children in an IDP camp in Kitgum

The Acholi are known to the outside world mainly because of the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony, an Acholi from Gulu. LRA's activities have been concentrated within Acholiland, and populous Acholi remain internally displaced persons.

[edit] Religion

Most Acholi are Protestant, Catholic and, in lesser numbers, Muslim. Nevertheless, the traditional belief in guardian and ancestor spirits remains strong, though it is now often described in Christian or Islamic terms.

[edit] Notable Acholi people

[edit] References

  • Atkinson, Ronald Raymond (1994) The roots of ethnicity: the origins of the Acholi of Uganda before 1800. Kampala: Fountain Publishers. ISBN 9970-02156-7.
  • Dwyer, John Orr (1972) 'The Acholi of Uganda: adjustment to imperialism'. (unpublished thesis) Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International .
  • Girling, F.K. (1960) The Acholi of Uganda (Colonial Office / Colonial research studies vol. 30). London: Her majesty's stationery office.
  • Webster, J. (1970) 'State formation and fragmentation in Agago, Eastern Acholi', Provisional council for the social sciences in East Africa; 1st annual conference, vol 3., p. 168-197.

[edit] Notes


[edit] External links

es:Acholi it:Acholi nds:Acholi pt:Acholis sh:Ačoli sv:Acholi


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