Kakwa people from Yei County, South Sudan, performing traditional dance
The name 'Kakwa' comes after Yeki's third son, Koza ku kala literally meaning ‘bites with teeth’, a phrase
consisting of the verb transitive koza 'to bite', the conjunction ku 'with' and the noun kala 'teeth' (singular
keleyi). Later, the entire Kakwa nation, including all the 12 children of Yeki’s sixth and last son, Zaki, also
adopted the plural form of the agentive ka-kakwa 'the biters' or ‘those that bite.’ The Kakwa also refer to thorns as kakuwa (singular kokoti). In the other aspects of the Kakwa expressions, semantic idioms or proverbs, the word ‘Kakwa’ translates into 'rebels', 'fulminating', 'harsh' or 'inimical'. From Mount Liru, Yeki had sent Koza ku kala to the present area of Yei County to found the Kakwa people there and those in other Kakwa areas, such as the Kakwa County and also Ko’buko District. The Kakwa people some times refer to themselves as "Kakwa Saliya Musala", a phrase they commonly use to denote their 'oneness' though they are in three different countries. In Uganda, they known as Bakakwa.
Kakwa boy and a girl
The average population density (which is population divided by area of land) in much of the Kakwa land is 10 to 20 persons per square kilometre of land area, but densities may vary from place to place and from time to time. Currently, for instance, the areas of heavy concentration of population are Yei Town, Nyarilo, Keri, Ora’ba, Ingbokolo, Morobu, Aru, Aba. The entire Kakwa people can be estimated to be just under 500,000 people.
Kakwa boys coming out of river Yei, South Sudan
The Kakwa County which is the main area where the Kakwa inhabitants of the Congo live, has been divided into five sub-counties as follows: (1) Rumu, (2) Inzi, (3) Kumuru, (4) Diso, and (5) Adumi. The largest sub-county is Rumu. These five sub-counties are further divided into still smaller sub-sub-counties. This Kakwa County nicknamed Kakwa Inga, occupies an area of approximately 975 square kilometers within which live approximately 110,000 people (2000 estimate). It shares borders with the Yei County in the Sudan and with Ko’buko District in Uganda to the northeast and east, with the Kaliko County to the west and to the south with the Zaki County.
Kakwa people at Yei town
Kakwa Ima are found in the town of Aba in the Faradje area of the Congo; in 1959, they numbered some 8,344 souls, and occupied a land area of some 476 square kilometers.
Kakwa Dropa are found in the town of Aru.
Map showing where Kakwa people live in Uganda,South Sudan and DRCongo
Kakwa society occupies the region bordering northwestern Uganda, Southern Sudan, and northeastern Congo. The following are the tribes neighboring the Kakwa territories: Zaki, Logo, Baka, Mundu, Keliko, Nyangbara, Muru, Lugbara, Avukaya, Kuku, Aringa, Maracha, Terego, Kuku, Pojulu, Makaraka etc.
The Kakwa Language
The name of the Kakwa language is also called Kutuk na Kakwa (Kakwa)— named after its people. A language in Kakwa is called lokuliye (masculine) or kutu (feminine). Hence, Lokuliye lo Kakwa means the same thing as Kutu na kakwa—Kakwa language.
Kakwa’s Etymological Roots
The etymological roots of the Kakwa words usually consist of two or three consonants. The roots themselves may be monosyllabic (in that most words in their simplest form consist of one syllable i.e. a consonant combination and a vowel as in le (feminine) ‘milk’ since there are no codas in Kakwa. When you know a word, you know both its pronunciation and its meaning—and, of course, also its writing or spelling. If you hear someone utter the sounds represented by the string of letters and don’t know that it means sukuri
(feminine) ‘a chicken’ in Kakwa, you don’t know that word. Synonyms like si’de (feminine) and gbi’dikiye
(feminine) are two words because their identical meanings ‘a chair’ or ‘a seat’ are represented by two
different strings of sounds. On the other hand, two words with different sounds may have same string of
letters (homograph) as in the personal pronoun nà ‘me’ or ‘I’, and in the intimate genitive (possessive)
particle ná ‘of’ (feminine, singular).
Each word is a sound-meaning unit. Each word listed in your mental dictionary must include other
information as well, such as whether it is a noun, a pronoun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, a
preposition, a conjunction, etc. This phenomenon is called grammatical category or syntactic class or
parts of speech.
Kakwa language is not superior to any other language in a linguistic sense. Every grammar is equally
complex and logical and capable of producing an infinite set of sentences to express any thought. If
something can be expressed in one language or dialect, it can be equally expressed in any other language
or dialect. It might involve different means and different words, but it can be expressed. No grammar,
therefore, no language is either superior or inferior to any other!
The Kakwa Writing System
Kakwa has no indigenous writing system of its own but bases its writing system on the Roman alphabet. All
Kakwa forms cited in this book appear in standard orthography. The language is Niloto-Hamitic indicating
that it has elements of the Nilotic and Hamitic languages. But what exactly is meant by Nilotic? Westermann
and others have advanced criteria by which certain Sudanic languages are to be regarded as Nilotic, and
this Nilotic element in the Kakwa language is to be found almost solely in word stems, and very little in
sentence construction. In Kakwa Grammar, the term Nilotic relates to the languages of Dinka, Shiluk,
Nuer, Acholi, Alur etc, and all languages and dialects closely related to any of these languages, and its
presence in Kakwa is evidenced by the surprising number of monosyllabic word stems, both nouns and
verbs, common to Kakwa and to the neighbouring Nilotic languages.
The Kakwa Orthography
Orthography is the set of conventions for representing language in written form. Kakwa employs the English
alphabetical orthography in which symbols are used to represent individual vowel segments rather than
syllables or words. A syllable is a single letter or a group of letters that form one sound Until the advent of the missionaries and the colonialists, the Kakwa had no way for putting their thoughts into
writing in the same understanding we have today. These foreigners introduced the Roman alphabet, with
some few characters borrowed from Greek or German, and the result was fairly satisfactory for producing
the first Bari Bible and Christian songs in Bari. Later, the version of the Bari Bible translated into Kakwa
was called Likilimba or Bayibulu ku Kutu na Kakwa i.e. ‘Bible in the Kakwa Language.’
The first Bari alphabet was revised and slightly changed at the Rejaff Language Conference of 1928. The
resultant code, through open to criticism, seems to fulfill the necessary conditions for practical orthography
for Bari speakers, including the Kakwa people. Elements of this Rejaff Language Conference alphabet are
used in Kakwa Grammar with additions in order to enable foreigners to get a better understanding of Kakwa
Kakwa Mythology of Creation
This is how we were created on this earth. Our great, great grandfather was Mungura. Mungura’s wife was
called Muri. Together, they produced the first living things on this planet: wild animals plus domestic animals.
Next, Mungura and Muri produced twins: these were considered a bad omen at that time, and they were
handed over to a certain Jongbo to throw them away into the bush. However, Jongbo remarked that these
twins who would one day be our fathers. So, she hid them at her home and nurtured them there until they grew. Muri again became pregnant, and this time, she delivered a baby who was cerebral palsy-like: without ears, without a neck, without a head, without hands, without legs. Cried Muri, “I have produced another bad omen. Maa, come and carry this thing into the bush. Take it into the swamp. It is bad. Leave it in the swamp.” Maaagreed but then abandoned the baby on a purugi, a termite-created bare patch of soil usually found in the bushes. This ‘baby’ turned out to be really bad—an epidemic that gave rise to all the diseases and illnesses.
Kakwa women . Circa 1889
As it lay on the prurugi, it one day burst in the sun’s heat, with a very loud noise! This bursting caused Mungurato become ill. Then Jongbo instructed Maa to see Ka’bili, the doctor, to find out what was wrong with Mungura. Maa, in his usual stubborn mood, was reluctant. Jongbo tried again but all in vain: Maa refused to listen. Then Jongbo, herself, ran to Ka’bili for help. She said to Ka’bili, “I had earlier sent Maa to consult with you in order to diagnose our father, Mungura’s illness since he is dying. Please find a cure for him.”
Ka’bili examined the situation and then declared that “Our father is dying. If he dies, Maa will chase him (the
spirit of Mungura) into the bush. The best thing is to prepare kilikize, fill it up with fresh milk, get meze or ‘ferric oxide solution’, and place this inside the milk. When our father dies, Maa will run from the bush on hearing the wailing or crying of the mourners. So, be brave, gather enough strength and aim the kilikize at the middle of Maa’s head. When the kilikize breaks, boast that you have smashed him (Maa) in the brains. Say that you have pierced him so deeply that blood is now gushing out of his head. He will wipe his head and the coagulated milk will be like his brains. He will wipe his head and the meze will be like his blood. So, then it will be him whowill run away instead of Mungura.” Jongbo did as instructed and Maa ran away into the bush admitting that he was spoilt.
Kakwa girls showing their tribal body marks. Circa 1889
This was what then took place: Meko (Buffalo) said that he would follow Maa; Lo’ba (Jackson’s Hartebeest) said that he would follow Maa; the Branded Bushbuck said that he would follow Maa; ’Bo’bu, ‘the Waterbuck, said that he would follow Maa. Mungura’s home was left for Yurukuti who said that she would remain with Jongbo. Kine (Goat) said that he would be with Jongbo. Kebilito (Sheep) said that he would be with Jongbo. Ka'bili, in person, said that she would remain with Jongbo.
After being for sometime with Jongbo, the children (twins) whom she had adopted, became seriously ill.
Jongbo then ran to Ka’bili saying, ‘I have my things here and that Ka’bili should find out what was wrong with them. After diagnosing, Ka'bili suggested that Jongbo sacrifice Yurukuti’s only child as a cure.
The ritual of sacrificing started from there. Shortly afterwards, and quickly, Jongbo carried out the sacrifice and then she hid the bones of the sacrificed child in the backyard garden. When Yurukuti arrived, she did not find her child. “Where is my child?” Jongbo replied that she had no idea. Yurukuti then called and called. She threw herself. She threw herself all over the compound. Then, she ran to the backyard and scooped the ashes onto her body. She scooped and scooped. She soon scooped out her son’s bones.
“Why, Jongbo? I did not know what happened to my child. Now, I know that you are in fact, my enemy.
Jongbo, if you are my enemy like this, for you, never talk again. You should sound as 'biyu-'biyu, at night.
Things should be thrown to you. And, for you Ka’bili, who calls herself as the expert. Now, tell things using your neck. Let pieces of stones be collected, and these will be named so and so, so and so. But, now, your neck will be cut and your head thrown there. When it is now struggling, it will reveal things using the severed neck.”
However, Jongbo shot back saying, “You, Yurukuti! You, Yurukuti! I thought that these things (meaning the
twins) would in the future be our great parents. But since you are now cursing like this, for you—never talk
again. You should sound like this ‘alaallaaaalaaaaalaaaa!’ The cursing of each other originated from there and it affected those twin children Jongbo was raising.
Kakwa man playing horn lute
What the Kakwa call ’dolowe means 'the starting point' or 'the origin' or 'the source.' This point is variously
believed to be around the present Ethiopia-Sudan border, around the Red Sea, or at Kapoeta (at the eastern shore of Lake Turkana). Here, the Nilotic Luo had arrived in sufficient numbers dispersing the ancestors of the Kakwa and other Nilo-Hamitics. These Luo movements were spread over time—perhaps over three centuries pushing the entire Kakwa westwards, across the River Nile, around the 16th century, and eventually they settled at Koro’be [Koru’be] Hill in the Yei County. From Koro’be, the Kakwa then spread over all the areas which they now occupy in Ko’buko District, in the Kakwa County and in the Yei County.
Kakwa Contact with Foreigners. Virtually, nothing was known or written about the Kakwa before the advent of Europeans in the 19th century.
The great son of Kakwa people, General Iddi Amin Dada Oumee, former president of Uganda
The first foreigners the Kakwa encountered were the slavers, explorers, hunters, missionaries, soldiers,
administrators, and social anthropologists. The Arab slavers came from the north while the Europeans and
North Americans came through the Sudan (from the north), and from the southeast—through Uganda. Some Europeans (Belgians and French) came from the Congo (to the west). These people had multitudes of roles in the Kakwa territories: the occupier of one role frequently turned into another. For much of the period between the 1800s and the 1900s, there had been everlasting successions of destruction from slave raids, droughts, locust outbreaks, famines, population movements, rinderpest, meningitis, human and livestock epidemics that afflicted the Kakwa people. This was also the period of the Kakwa contact with peoples of radically different social, economic and technological systems. The following is a brief historical presentation of some of the origins of the contacts with these foreigners.
Kakwa Settlement Patterns
The name for a house in Kakwa is kadi (feminine, plural kadi-zi). The name for home is ’ba (masculine,
plural, ’beŋi) or gbiliŋe (feminine).
Kakwa’s traditional patterns of housing vary with contrasts in terrain, ecology, climate, weather, slope of the
land, kinships, descent, political stability, etc. The most prevalent pattern has been that of dispersed villages
which, together with their extended families, are large enough for various indigenous participation but are
rarely lasting because of the use of short-lived building materials and sometimes specifications for shifting
cultivation and grazing. Until recently, each Kakwa family lived in a kind of community within a growing
stockade known as mari (feminine). The stockade had a gate which could be closed by night or when there
was danger from hyenas, lions or enemies. Today, however, families are clustered together thus constituting
a different kind of homestead.
There are separate houses for humans and for animals. Human houses include:
• koku (feminine) or ‘the kitchen’;
• kadi-zi naga a totoye (feminine) ‘houses for sleeping’; these are usually separate for teenagers,
parents and grandparents.
In addition, there is a unique house known as lomore (feminine) that is exclusively used as a guest house.
Other structures typically found in a Kakwa homestead are:
• apa (feminine) (the food storage structure);
• gugu (masculine) (granary);
• kadi nati (feminine) (the name for pit latrine);
• miŋe (feminine) (a special structure built to milk a cow so that the cow does not kick away the milk or
the milker during the milking process;
• koko or mololo (feminine) (roofed chicken pen);
• mari (feminine) (kraal);
• kadi na lidi (feminine) (roofed and sometimes walled goats' pen);
• kadi na kebiilizi (feminine) (roofed and sometimes walled sheep’s house);
• ayiyi (masculine) (a food storage facility);
• salo (feminine) (a low-walled house with a roof usually sited in the middle of the compound. It is used
as a kind of "common living room", especially valued by the Kakwa of Congo;
• roboŋo (masculine) (shrine stones).
A Kakwa homestead is also always located near a large evergreen tree that serves as parine (feminine)
under which family members can enjoy tilimo (feminine) or shade. In the evenings, family members spend
their time around the communal open fire which is known as pudo (feminine) where the elders tell stories to
the younger group and where the day's activities are discussed and future plans and specific assignments
are made. Another very important consideration in locating human dwellings is proximity to a clean,
permanent and fairly close well in addition to consideration of the distance to a communal grinding rock
surface or to the major farms.
From a Kakwa Family to Kakwa Society
Each of the nearly two hundred or so different Kakwa clans, is built on a pyramidal model with the family as
the lowest entity. Next in this social hierarchy is the extended family which forms another social organization
known as ketimi (feminine, plural, ketimi-to) or gurube (feminine). A ketimi may comprise of two to a
dozen related villages. The final organizational unit is the whole ethnic Kakwa group that the colonialists
named a "tribe" but which is really an "ethnic" or a language group." Therefore, Kakwa the ethnic group is
composed of different clans which, in turn, are composed of assorted sub-clans which, in turn, are
composed of disparate villages and families, which in turn, are composed of a few dozen to hundreds of
The economy of Kakwa people
The economy of the Kakwa was mainly subsistence agriculture but some families also practiced mixed farming. They kept cattle, goats, and sheep besides agriculture. Millet has always been their principal food crop followed by sorghum and a type of bean called burusu.
These were the staple foods of the Kakwa. They have been supplemented by pawpaws, maize and cassava. Cassava is said to have come with the advent of the Belgians and the intrusion of the logo, an ethnic group from Zaire.Pawpaws are said to have been introduced by the British.Millet, sorghum and burusu were traditionally sown in a large field dug on a communal basis, known as vya or litika.
Women figured less prominently in the economy of the Kakwa. Men dug the fields, sowed the seeds, tended the animals, built and repaired the houses. Women would remove the rubbish from the cultivated fields, would also clean and store the crops away in the granaries.The women engaged actively in basket weaving, salt making and pottery.
Salt was made from indigenous plants known as morubo and bukuli. These plants wound be burnt and then the ashes we re put in a container with many holes at the bottom; water would be poured on the ashes. The salty liquid would filter through the holes and out into another container at the bottom.
The Nyangaila clan specialized in iron smelting, making spears, knives, hoes and a variety of other iron implements.
Wealth among the Kakwa was measured in terms of “how many granaries full of foodstuff” one had in one’s compound and the number of the livestock in one’s kraal.In the event of famine, and this was common, people would migrate to another area where there was plenty of food.
Kakwa man, Idi Amin
La’bi variant Uri
In the Kakwa language, the exact word for culture is la’bi or uri (masculine). Hence, la’bi lo Kakwa
translates as culture of the Kakwa or Kakwa culture.
Kakwa Child Naming Ceremonies
Kakwa people do not usually name their children until the last piece of the remaining umbilical cord has
fallen off through the natural process. The naming ceremony usually occurs after three days if the child is a
girl, and after four days if the child is a boy. The naming ceremony requires first, the boiling of shelled laputu
(masculine) or Black-eyed peas in salt-free water and the addition of the traditional solution of the local salt,
kombo (feminine), mixed only in kemo na konyu (feminine) or simsim paste. Moreover, no frying
whatsoever, is entertained while millet serves for the staple bread, ’dilo (feminine).
The baby to be ceremoniously named is brought outside for the first time in the fresh, mild morning sun
known as a-igo (feminine). The elders then formally receive the baby after each one of them has assembled
a number of names that he or she has kept secret till the ceremonial time. Every name proposed is carefully
weighed and discussed in the context of the circumstances surrounding the birth, the parents' marriage
history, and what is happening in and around the village, Kakwa society, and son on, or when that child was
born. Separate names are given for boys and girls each with a unique meaning. After choosing the
appropriate name, one elder (usually the eldest elder man) then formally presents the child to Mount Liru by
pointing him or her toward the legendary mountain with the pronouncement: Liru, ŋiro lolu ilo! (meaning,
"Liru, here is a child for you"--- if the baby is a boy), and Liru, ŋiro nonu ina! (meaning, "Liru, here is a child
for you" --- if the baby is a girl). Invoking the name of this famous Kakwa mountain serves three major
purposes: (1) it formally reminds the child and those assembled that he or she is a Kakwa, and (2) it makes
the child strong, and (3) it enables the child to live as long as Mount Liru. After this ceremony, the infant is
given back to his or biological mother. From this point onwards, he or she is called by the chosen name but
other informal names (including nicknames) can still be used in reference to him or her.
Kakwa Mourning Customs and Rites
The Kakwa people refer to bereavement as gbiye (feminine) (literally, "crying"), and sometimes as mute
(masculine) and deliya (feminine). Until there is death of a close agnate or affine, Kakwa adults do not
normally cry but do so profusely and instantaneously when that occurs. This process is exacerbated by the
presence of certain individuals in the society and village who have distinguished themselves and shriek in
very peculiar and mournful ways to announce that death has taken place in the village. Such a traditional
shrieking sound is known as sire (sira) (feminine) and is normally performed by an adult male. Adult women may also have their own way of shrieking which is referred to as gbililiza (feminine).
Kakwa Burial Rites
When death occurs, the dead person becomes known as opu (masculine) and the burial process is known
as nuga (feminine) or more fully, nuka na ŋutu (feminine) (that is, "burying of a person"), and this normally
occurs in the evenings for ordinary people. However, for people known as Bura or Mata-ki ‘Chiefs’, the
burial ritual is complex and it occurs at dawn. Before that, the dawn time, the Chief’s body is nursed in a
ritual known as muyu na mata (feminine). The burial procedure is always the work of the men who dig gulo
(feminine, plural gulo-mo) (the grave) to a depth of at least two meter and breath of a meter and a half, in a
chosen location. A special hole (some kind of a mini-grave), the size of the actual body, is then dug 180
degrees inside the deepest end of the grave where the body will be placed.
Usually three days after the burial, a special mourning feast called abujo (masculine) or adosu (masculine)
is organized. This feast involves the killing of an animal, usually a bull, ram or a he-goat, depending on the
status of the deceased or and his or her family. The animal thus killed is cooked and distributed randomly
without any special consideration being given to what part of the animal should be consumed by which clan
or lineage. Prior to this feast, the relatives of the dead person and well-wishers continuously supply the
people who turn up for the funeral with free food and drink.
Traditional Kakwa Concept of Religion
The Kakwa people have no temples for worship nor any written doctrines such as the Bible or the Qur’an
(Koran), or the Geeta (the Hindu Holy Book), nor full-time preachers, nor organized religion. However, they do have shrines or oracles that are collectively called uriya (masculine) and these symbolize the spirits of
the dead. These uriya are usually symbolized either by distinctive stones known as roboŋo (masculine) or
by fig trees known as laru (masculine) where periodic sacrifices are made. The ritual of appeasing the dead
through the stones or the fig tree is known as i-ila na roboŋo (feminine) or i-ila na laru (feminine)
The overall concept of religion, as expressed by the uriya (masculine), is that the dead or ancestors can
communicate with the living. Accordingly, if these ancestors "notice" anything going astray among their living
kin, they have the obligation to react by bringing signs that warn of eminent disaster and even punish them
and that something should be done to avoid the event of further punishment. The spirits of the ancestors
also act like angels that follow and guide a living person at all times and places. Therefore, such a spirit can
and should rescue one from a potential or a real problem.
The Kakwa idea of a "supreme being" is what the people know or refer to as Mulete (masculine) whom they see as being the ultimate source of all power and morale order. They conceive of him as having two aspects,
one transcendent and the other immanent evil, an inversion. He is responsible for all forms of death for
death cannot be avoided. His will is immutable .
Son of Idi Amin, Jaffar Amin dancing
An elderly man in Kakwa is known as temezitiyo or Ŋutu logo. He carries a very important and envious
position of power, influence, responsibilities and wisdom. Every Kakwa ketimi (feminine) or gurube
(feminine) or clan, is usually headed by an elder— usually the most senior person— in the clan by virtue of
being the son of the most senior woman ever married into that clan and by virtue of his longevity. He does
not automatically assume this title but, he must earn it by through active participation in clan activities. Such
activities include looking after the affairs of marriage of the clan's daughters, expressing concerns in case
these daughters or any of their children are ill, barren or facing very jealousy co-wives. It is usually also
reserved to those men who by virtue of genealogical position in the lineage, have the custodianship of
certain rites, such as: blessing hunters, blessing the first harvest, becoming Bura (rain-predictor), negotiating
tough issues, arriving at consensual agreements, etc. He also has another mark of office, the aruwe-ta
(masculine), the hereditary ceremonial stick that only the elders in his age bracket are supposed to handle.
Read about it here:http://www.yeda.org/booklet.pdf
Authority and Respect in Kakwa Society
There is no universal authority over the way individuals should conduct themselves in the Kakwa society.
Unfortunately, modern governments, through puppet chiefs and sub-chiefs, have meddled in their subjects'
affairs. These chiefs are mainly concerned with collecting taxes, labour, and other services that were once
outside the traditional everyday life for most Kakwa. Kakwa tradition holds that open violence is wrong
between agnates and close uterine. Women should respect their husbands and children their parents.
Disputes over rights of land, women and livestock occasionally occur at all levels of the lineage but are
settled differently, beginning with the elder of each disputant. Inter-clan sexual relations, adultery and fighting
an elder person are considered incest which may be punished by nyoka (feminine) or endless mystical
Where the relationship is a little distant, a show of overt force or violence may be necessitated but this will
ultimately be settled peacefully because of the concept of lemi (masculine) and agnatic relationships. For
Kakwa, the essence of the exercise of authority, whether between agnates, cognates, affines or neighbours,
is for the relationship to be one in which the junior obeys, fears or respects the senior. All these societal rules
are contained in the general term kuga (feminine) (or respect).
Kakwa Rain Predictors
In Ko’buko District, the Kakwa clans of Bura, Ranju, Okube etc, are renown for being rain-predictors. These people also fall in the category of ’buni or mentalist, shaman, traditional healer, traditional doctor,
witchdoctor, magician, psychic, exorcist, yakanye (feminine) spirit, medicine-men etc. As such they are both
revered and respected in Kakwa society.
Adiyo: Ethnohistory or Events of the Past
Adiyo (masculine, singular adi), the events of the past, is a fairly long dictated genealogical discussion of
relationship with others. This process of conducting the discussion is referred to as ’doto na adiyo
(feminine) or tayi na adiyo (feminine) or kepo na adiyo (feminine). It is also a ritual address, a loud recital of the main facts of different cases and genealogical and marriage relationships, and is conducted during
funeral rites, marriage ceremonies and in communal feats. It is made to both the living and the dead
ancestors of the group. These ritual addresses are always much the same although each clan and lineage
has its own details, and they all provide a focus for the solidarity of the assembled elders and youngsters.
There is always truth in these addresses for any lies are quickly corrected by the assembled elders (who
Art always represents something—communicates information—but this something is never represented in its
literal shape, sound, colour, movement, or feeling. Among the Kakwa, designs, stories, and artifacts have
definite use in day-to-day subsistence activities that are produced primarily for practical purposes or rarely
for commercial use. These forms of art are produced and performed in complete harmony with utilitarian
objectives. The Kakwa derive pleasure from playfully embellishing and transforming the contours and
surfaces of pots, fabrics, wood and metal products. They also recognize and honour the fact that certain
individuals are more skilled than are others in making utilitarian objects and in embellishing them with
pleasurable designs. Therefore, skilled wood carvers, basket-makers, granary-makers, potters, singers,
negotiators, weavers or arrow-makers are all artists.
Kakwa Music, Song, and Dance
The general name for dancing in Kakwa is gboja (or gboza) (feminine, plural gboja-zi) or yali (masculine).
Singing is termed as welo (feminine), and the songs themselves are known as wiri-to or wiri-ta (singular,
In Kakwa society, the social functions of music, song, and dance are viewed in ways such as
• bringing prosperity (in harvesting and hunting);
• celebrating a wedding;
• celebrating a triumphant hunting or defensive/offensive expedition;
• averting a calamity (famine, war, disease epidemic, locusts);
• honouring Mulete or God;
• passing the time, especially when engaging in such routine activities as digging, building, weeding,
grinding grains etc;
• honouring an ancestor
• honouring a first harvest
• honouring a dead Mata lo ka (Rain-chief)
Kakwa Dancing Drums
The Kakwa names for their dancing drums include: buli (feminine) the bass drum’, liliru (feminine) the drum
with the highest pitch or the solo drum, and the pipire (feminine) also known as pilipitimbi (feminine). In
addition to the drums, there is another Kakwa dancing instrument known as yuge (masculine). This wooden
structure provides rhythm to the beat of the drums in any dance. It is the main wooden trumpet which is
curved in one piece from a tree, and is about 140 cm in length and about 25 cm across the open lower end.
Its tip is crowned by a knob in the shape of a truncated pyramid. The embourcument consists of a plain hole
close to the tip but there is no stop in the tip.
When a Kakwa boy passes the laminal youth stage, he develops sire or sira (feminine, plural, sire-si) which
is a possessed personal call which is really "a long falsetto whooping cry, the melody of which corresponds
to the tonal pattern of a word phrase associated with the possessor. It is made in time of danger, in fighting,
and on formal occasions to show the caller's identity. Men also call their sire when returning home drunk, lest
they be mistaken for strangers and shot with arrows, and to show pride in themselves. It is always made only
by the possessor at even at the times of death or danger. To call another man's sira is to insult and belittle
him. Another form of personal identity is called u’duta (masculine) which is possessed by both men and
women. This is usually made during dances in which the individuals praise themselves, their parents, clan
(lineage) or their grandparents and ancestors. In its simplest form, u’duta is a series of talks done in a funny
and philosophical, controversial or proverbial way without being personally directed against anybody or
offending anyone. During dances, women ulate at the tops of their voices but in a jovial excitement. This
excitement is known as gbililiza (feminine).
Kakwa Men’s Costumes
• lo’bu (feminine, plural lo’bu-wa) is the name given to animal skin which traditionally is worn only by the men;
• bolo (feminine, plural buluzi or bolo-zika) is the quiver which is used both for dancing and for storing arrows. A typical Kakwa dancing bolo is made out of the hairy skin of the he-goat. This hairiness is known as punda;
• keye (masculine) is a kind of jazz which consists of a dried gourd which is then filled with seeds or
stones and shaken to enhance the rhythm of the drums and songs;
• diyeri (feminine) is a costume made out of an animal tail;
• agbarala (masculine) and ngbirila (masculine) are similar, and they are metallic dancing costumes
worn at the ankles.
Kakwa Women’s Costumes
The word koropo (feminine, singular kuruputi) stands for leaves. Leaves are traditionally worn by women
as clothing, usually around the waist and covering the front and back below the waist with the sides of the
thighs virtually bare. Despite these uses of organic clothing (leaves and skins), the Kakwa people have been
clean and sanitary in their habits and habitats.
• nyoori (feminine) collectively, refers to traditional beads worn by the women.
• ŋaliya (masculine) the ‘modern’ beads worn by the women
• riye (feminine) various kinds of metallic rings worn around the arms and legs.
• meze (feminine) variant meje, is the solution of iron oxide smeared to protect the body against the
elements and to maintain beauty.
Most of the Kakwa people do not generally adore ornaments except those used by women to enhance their
beauty. Girls perforate both lobes of their ears at a younger and tiny metals in the holes. Where there are no
rings, they insert well-prepared grasses to keep the holes intact and to prevent infection. This process
perforating the ear is known as rumo na suwo (feminine) (literally, "piercing the ears"). In the olden days,
women used also to insert small bracelets through the lower lip and had the cartilage of their noses pierced
for a ring. However, the most common ornaments for women, have been the colourful and different
• ŋaliya (masculine, singular ŋalita) or are beads worn around the waists, ankles, wrists and necks.
In addition to the beads, there were the following riye (feminine), most of which were metallic ones worn on
the ankles and wrists:
• riye nakpe (feminiine) is a collective name for ‘white rings’, such as silver ornaments which were
considered of a higher quality and standard;.
• riye natoru (feminine) or ‘red metals’ include metals such as bronze, copper and gold, all of are rare
in the Kakwa territories.
Kakwa Traditional Games and Sports
There are different ways by which the Kakwa keep themselves fit, strong, healthy or entertained, including
farming, dancing, hunting or tree-cutting. However, there are other common recreational activities which are
also initiational processes to adult life.
A Kakwa concussion rattle consists of two tiny and round fruit shells filled with dry seeds and joined by a
chain or a piece of twisted cloth of about 10 cm in length. One shell is placed in one palm of the hand and
the other is allowed to hang down loosely between the thumb and forefinger or between the latter and the
middle finger. The suspended shell is swung to make rapid rhythmical movement of the arm and hand and to
strike against the fruit in the palm of the hand. The basic motion can be varied and the instrument becomes
capable of expressing intricate rhythmical patterns. Only girls use the concussion rattle while in the open
markets waiting for customers, or when on the journey to and from the market, or when going to draw water from the wells.
Togoda (feminine) means hunting, and it involves special talents and skills. No distinct class of huntsmen
exist among the Kakwa but there are usually individuals in every clan who distinguish themselves out as
excellent hunters. In general, small game such as alu (masculine, plural alu-wo) (bush rat), muri (feminine,
plural muri-ŋo) (dikdik), ka’bo (feminine, plural ka’bu-zi) (waterbuck), nyamata (feminine, plural nyamaki)
(feminine) (a brown antelope) and other types of antelopes, are hunted for the sake of meat by any man who wishes to do so at any time of the year. However, a more general communal hunting area is usually
designated: it is large, unsettled, ungrazed, and isolated. These areas are known as menu (feminine, plural
menu-wa). Each menu is designated by name; in Ko’buko District, they include Menu na Abundiri, Menu
na Moroto, and Menu na Nyangbiri. These most popular ones are located at the remote corners of the Uganda-Sudan border, in Yei County and in Amadi County.
Mbiyu (feminine) or the sling is a boy's game made from strings obtainable out of the barks of certain special
plants. These strings are then twisted into convenient lengths and roughly 5 mm in diameter. In the middle of
the sling is left a slot large enough to take a given size of rock. In order to aim at a target which may be an
animal or a distant spot, the boy climbs on top of a rock or hillside or on top of a raised and open ground.
Then he brings both ends of the string together and spins the sling over and round his head with the stone,
which acts as the bullet, located in its centre. The name mbiyu actually comes out of the whistling
mbiyuuuuu sound that the bullet makes as it is released and travels in the air to its target. This is a very
competitive sport for young boys, and this competition starts from making the mbiyu itself to practicing with
Turo (feminine) is the name given to the sport of distant shooting. In this sport, boys usually arm themselves
with bows and arrows and, upon climbing up a hill or an anthill, shoot these arrows as far as possible. The
person whose arrow reaches the furthest is the winner.
There are also target practices whereby arrows are shot at the smallest stem of a shrub or a tree from a
designated distance. The object is to see whose arrow reaches into, or closest to, the target or bull's eye.
This target can always be proven by visual inspection or from some missing arrows which might have gone
right through such a target. Sometimes, instead of the true arrows, the younger boys use indiripi
(masculine), which are arrows made from the stems of the Elephant grass. Other arrows known as
undurube (masculine) are made from the fresh stems of the sorghum plant.
Kupe, also known as unyaka (masculine) is a reference to wrestling where Kakwa boys train to become
fighters and to defend themselves. Such training is usually closely supervised and monitored by the olders
boys and no boxing is allowed. Also boys of roughly the same age, weight and height are allowed to wrestle
among themselves. As the training progresses, one person from the lower age and weight bracket might be
allowed to tackle a heavier and older individual in the other group. The object of wrestling is to hold each
other chest to chest and to squeeze these chests until one individual becomes too weak to stand it any
further. As soon as the weaker person falls to the ground, the victor might lie on the defeated person’s chest
and hold his hands to prevent him from ever rising again. If he does maneuver his way to get up again, the
same procedure is performed and by luck, the person who fell down earlier might prevail in the subsequent
chances. A tip to avoid being squeezed too hard is never to allow one’s chest to be too near that of the
opponent's, and to always, to stand with the legs well-spread out to secure some balance.
Another form of wrestling is the one called unyaka (masculine) in which one person attempts to
entanglement the other's legs so that balance is difficult. Again, one can avoid this entanglement by having
the legs stretched away from those of the opposite person. Some boys who feel too young and too light to
wrestle their opponents in the normal fashion, sometimes attempt to charge at their opponents from behind
and without warning. This is not usually accepted.
Wowoki (feminine) is the general name for all types of competitive races or relays which can happen in
sandy places, in wooded areas, in nyamu-nyamu (masculine) (short, flat and fluffy grass), on the way to
and from school, in school play grounds or inside water. To make the sport more vibrant and varied,
youngsters may do the following:
• run backwards
• run on one leg
• run while holding a certain object (water, fruits or rocks) in their hands;
• run with their eyes closed.
Golo (masculine) is the name for soccer or football as it is popularly known locally. Various wild and exotic
fruits serve for balls which are played bare foot and on any dry surface (usually the compound, school yards,
roads, abandoned gardens, paths, on the nyamu-nyamu (masculine), and so on. One of the most popular
balls is made out of the dried fibres of banana stems which are then twisted round and round in several
layers inside a shallow and circular hole; this eventually forms a ball capable of rolling and being kicked
about. However, the most popular but rare organic ball is kulayi (masculine) (the bladder) which may be
obtainable from a slaughtered cow, bull or even a goat or sheep. This organ is first carefully cut off without
puncturing it, then it is rubbed on the ground with the feet to soften it. Finally, the kulayi is blown with the
mouth until it reaches a certain pressure, shape, and size when its mouth is tightly closed with a strong string
or a piece of plastic. This importance of kulayi has makes most Kakwa boys to always hang around a killed
animal (such as during feasts) just so that they can gain access to the bladder which would otherwise be
thrown to the dogs since it is not edible any way. Various fruits of plants also serve as balls
Puu (feminine) is a sport in which bundles of fresh leaves are obtained, and then placed on a slanting rock
surface. A person or a group of person sits on them and slides down the slanting rock surface. As the leaves
wear down from the friction, more and more fresh ones are added to avoid being hurt or abraded during the
Bego (masculine) resembles field hockey, and it is where a round wild fruit is rolled on the ground and
directed with sticks into the opponent's goal in order to score points.
‘Bito na pane (feminine) is an interesting sport like cricket or baseball but the details of how it is played are
The term ’dana (feminine) means "to hide" or hiding, and so, hide and seek activity is a sport of mainly the
children. It is done in the bushes, grasses, houses and in the fields of crops by all sexes. Hiding and seeking
activity is particularly common among the cattle-keeping boys and girls looking for mushrooms, firewood,
and wild vegetables.
The excellent Kakwa woodlands and forests are dotted with certain very lowly-branched, cool and leafy trees or shrubs whose immediate surrounding is usually bare and clean. Boys and girls gather the stems of some creeping plants and tie these above a certain height from the ground onto tree branches to enable them to swing. This pendulum-like technique of using a string or a rope for swinging is known as kiyo-kiyo
Kakwa tribe man, Idi Amin Dada Oumee
Kakwa boys who aspire to become expert drummers in their adulthood, usually learn the art of drumming
termed woko na leri (feminine) by practicing on dry, hollow and sonorous tree stems and branches using
rocks. Except for the absence of drums and songs, the rhythms of these resonant objects or surfaces are the
same as those of the true drums made of elephant skin, goat skin, sheep skin or cow hide.
Swimming, known as muza (feminine), is important to learn. Except for the Congo and the Sudan Kakwa,
there are few large, safe, and permanent water bodies of rivers prevalent in the Kakwa territories which
could offer opportunities for swimming. The spots, referred to as ko’bulu, are usually the deepest parts of
the river, but these may be too dangerous for swimming. Furthermore, some of the few available rivers are
either too rocky, too swift, or too remote to reach. Nevertheless, cattle-keeping boys have devised ways of
swimming even in the shallowest and muddiest of the waters to cool themselves off while the cattle rest
Learning ethnohistory, learning songs, fables, and learning relationships (through marriage or by decent),
are very strongly emphasized and encouraged as a part of the growing and learning process.
Kakwa Mythology of Genealogy
The fraternal twin children Jongbo raised was called Biyu (the boy) and Iba (the girl). The two got together as husband and wife and gave rise to our grandfather, Nyingbo. Loteleme followed Nyingbo as the second child. When these children became of age, Biyu decided to give them a ‘test.’ He made a bow out of the pala plant for Loteleme and a spear for Nyingbo. He instructed the children to shoot at a large target using their respective weapons. It was Nyingbo who was the first to start. But he failed to operate the spear. Next, Loteleme tried to operate the bow but he too, failed to operate it. Wondered Biyu, ‘What can I do now? Okay, Here is the solution.’ He switched the spear to Loteleme and the bow to Nyingbo. Now, Nyingbo was able to successfully operate the bow and shoot at the target, as did Loteleme with the spear. Then Biyu allocated identical numbers of cattle each to Nyingbo and to Loteleleme. He allocated identical numbers of goats for Nyingbo and for Loteleme. He allocated an identical number of chickens for Nyingbo and for Loteleme.
Now, during their hunting expeditions, Nyingbo would come home with a pheasant while Loteleme came
without anything and instead, would pick a chicken at home for food. When Nyingbo returned home with a
muri or Dik-dik, Loteleme would come home without anything and instead he would pick a goat at home to eat. When Nyingbo came home with a ’bo’bu or Waterbuck, Loteleme would come empty-handed and, instead, he would pick a cow from home for consumption. This practice of Loteleme went on and on until he eventually finished all the animals his father had given him. Meanwhile, Nyingbo continued to take good care of his share of the animals and they continued to multiply. Loteleme continued to finish his until only one cow was left.
Then, he thought of a brilliant idea—to demand his brother’s cattle.
This action resulted in enmity between the two brothers and they fought. Nyingbo ran with his children and
cattle—away from Loteleme, to a far away place called Goroo, which was on the other side of a large river. On reaching that river, Nyingbo found that it was flooded to the brim. He then dropped his walking stick and
suddenly the river opened up in the middle. Nyingbo and his entourage rushed across the river, which quickly
closed up—shutting off Loteleme and his children at the other shore of the Goroo. On settling down, Nyingbo started to produce more children.
We, human beings, are the children of Nyingbo. The father of Nyingbo was called Biyu. This is how our birth
has been. Nyingbo’s son who singled himself out as Kakwa’s grandfather was called Guki.
The Kakwa founder, Guki, is believed to have produced three sons: Yeki was the first-born, followed by Okube (Wokube) and Jamo. Only one daughter, called Lindo [song: Lindo na baazi da ya, Likiso na woro kuwaze, na lo yiki mugu, Iya diyo, Sase, Lindo na baazi da...!]. In certain sections of Kakwa, Lindo is known by the name of Apele. Guki and Yeki looked after their cattle a kiyuka i.e. in turns or on alternative days. However, whenever Guki was in the bush with the cattle, he was beaten by the rain. On the days that he was at home, Guki was also beaten by the rain even at home. One day Guki asked himself, Lo ŋiro de kokondra na de gbanda?” (‘Why is this boy mistreating me like that?”). He then sought and got the services of a native doctor to punish Yeki. The native doctor suggested a snake, scabies, smallpox, lightning, lions etc. But Guki refused all these forms of punishment against his eldest son. He insisted that the native doctor look for something else.
Sure enough, the native doctor said that he had come up with something ‘small’ nye lo i riyozu bo na lepe na
“Something small that would get him (Yeki).” Indeed, one day when it was Yeki’s turn to look after the cattle, he was pierced in the foot by the dry stump of the Elephant grass species known as galaka (feminine). When Yeki staggered home with his foot bleeding, Guki remarked: Waŋe ki’do! or ‘You [Yeki] taste it!’ Eventually it was Dikilinya, the largest bull in the kraal that drove the cattle home. In those days, bulls were trained to, in the absence of the cattle-keeper, look after the entire herd and even to corral and lead the cattle home when the sun set.
Still bleeding profusely, Yeki decided to leave his father’s home. His sister, Lindo, joined him and together, they wandered south and southeast following the sources of the rivers and avoiding crossing them. Eventually, he discovered Mt. Liru upon which he settled. Yeki called Mount Liru, Wo’dogo liyo meaning or “My Anti-hill”.
Yeki had bled throughout the journey and he only found the cure for his wound after dipping his foot in a special ‘medicinal’ and ‘magical’ river nicknamed ‘Kakwa Iodine’ near Mount Liru. During his absence, a funeral rite was organized as it was thought that Yeki had died. Later, however, Yeki returned to his father to report his discovery of Mount Liru. “I have discovered an anthill over there, which is beautiful. In fact, while our mother was pouring the ashes under the banana plant, I was able to see that from the mountain. When she was giving you the porridge, I was able to see that. Our white rooster (cock) over here, I was able to see it. I did get this “anthill” which is very beautiful but there are certain “things” on it that speak a confused language and this has disturbed me.’ Yeki sought help from Guki in order to drive away those “things” that had settled on the mountain and that were chatting like Iriyaka or ‘Weaver birds.’ These iriyaka were actually people of a clan known as Kuludi. Guki sought a native doctor’s help who instructed him to give Yeki the plants of pala, uka, and lodore. Yeki was to take these plants and shake them on the parine—the communal place which these strangers used for their recreational purposes. Yeki did as instructed and the Kuludi were driven away from Mount Liru. In those days, people walked completely naked from the head to the toe and from the front to the back. So, whenever they sat, the irritants touched their skins instantly. This chased the Kuludi away from the mountain. However, one woman who had newly delivered a baby, remained. Yeki later adopted this woman’s son, and named him Koyitagele.
After this event, Yeki—again—returned to his father’s home to report on the results of his experiment on Mount
Liru. Soon after words, he requested to be given kapa or ‘things.’ These ‘things’ meant cattle, goats sheep,
chicken, etc. Then he requested that four bachelors be given to him to drive these animals to his new place at
Mount Liru. These bachelors were drawn from the clans of Bonyo, Pere, Kaliwara, Patulu and Dimu--- five of
Before he left, Guki pleaded that Yeki first enjoy the feast on the bull Dikilinya, but Yeki insisted that he would rather take his wealth to Liru before he could come back for the feast. His departure and the journey took four days to reach Mount Liru and another four days to return for the feast—8 days total! Everyday that he was travelling, the brothers back home, would cut a piece of tree to count and mark the passage of that day. After four days and four trees were cut, they reasoned that Yeki had reached his destination. Then on the fifth day, they began to count his return journey—also by cutting down a tree on each day. On the eighth day, they prepared to kill Dikilinya. However, Yeki’s followers discovered that the liver had disappeared. When Yeki returned home, he placed his stick of honour and wisdom into the dissected meat and its liver suddenly reappeared. This action has now prompted a very popular Kakwa and strong swearing saying: Ki do liliŋikindro na kuliya kine, likini a munye na Dikilinya ... “If you lie to me, disappear like the liver of Dikilinya!”
Kakwa tribe man, General Iddi Amin Dada, president of Uganda being bowed to by foreign diplomats
According to the Kakwa, Yeki married Gbele—and together, they produced five sons whose names were as follows:
••• Rigbo (the first-born) gave rise to the Rigbo people found near the River Nile in the West Nile District;
••• Gimara (the second born) founded the Gimara people found near the River Nile in the West Nile District;
••• Koza-ku-Kala (the third born) gave rise to some of the Kakwa of the Sudan and parts of the Uganda Kakwa
and of the Kakwa of the Congo;
••• Lugbare (the fourth born) gave rise to certain sections of the Lugbara people in the West Nile and the
••• Biyo (the fifth born) gave rise to the Ole’ba people of the present Maracha County in the West Nile Province.
Zaki (variant Jaki), was the sixth child from a different mother called Ŋa’da of the Kupera clan. Yeki named
him Zaki because the child was literally zazaki nye i.e.‘brought to him’ from Kupera after the mother had
delivered and raised him for a while within her Kupera clan. Zaki gave rise to most of the Kakwa of Uganda
and to certain clans among the Lugbara tribes of Uganda and of parts of the northeast Congo.
Koyitagele, the adopted son of Yeki from the Kuludi woman abandoned on Mount Liru, founded the clans of Nyaŋi, Tara, Robu, Lurujo etc. He remained with Zaki near Mount Liru and acted as the older brother to Zaki. Wokube, the follower brother of Yeki, founded such clans as the rain-predicting Bura—now found around the source of the Keri River and Keri town, and others found all over the Kakwa territories.
Zaki gave rise to 12 children, all males, as follows:
• So’dogele — remained at Mount Liru and gave rise to the Yoŋosu clan
• Morobu — founded the Yumele clan
• Kembe — founded the clan of ’Dukuliya
• Abe — founded the clans of Matu and Lobule
• Jamo — went to the Anzinzini Hill and founded the clan of Nyaŋiliya
• Jambe — founded the clan of Kuriyo
• Soki — reached the River Nile and founded the clan of Bura in the Rigbo area.
• A’dule —gave rise to the Lugbara clans of Paranga, Otoko, Bura and Uka
• Dombu — gave rise to the Lugbara clans of Paranga, Otoko, Bura and Uka
• Gbenyika — went to Lugeperi and founded sections of the clan of Midiya
• Weri — went to Lugeperi and founded sections of the clan Midiya
• Temeresu — founded the clan of Adibu, after being banished to the Ito Hill and eventually reaching the Keri River. All the progenies of Yeki, Zaki, Kozakukala, Wokube, Koyitagele and Zaki have multiplied to give rise to 200or so Kakwa Clans that now make up the Kakwa Society, Kakwa Nation or Kakwa Tribe.
SOME IMPORTANT DATES IN KAKWA HISTORY
525 BC. The Persians under Cambyses invade Egypt; during the reign of Justinian, many Sudanese kingdoms
are converted to Christianity and churches dot the sweep of the Nile.
571-632 Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him] rises in Saudi Arabia.
622 The Moslem Era (Hegira) begins.
632-661 The beginning of Orthodox Caliphate or Arab Empire.
635 Damascus is captured by the invading Arabs.
635-641 Persia is conquered by the invading Arabs.
646 Egypt is conquered by the invading Arabs.
661-750 Umayyad dynasty is setup by the invading Arabs.
709 North Africa is conquered by the invading Arabs.
713 Spain is conquered by the invading the Arabs.
732 Charles Martel defeats Moslems at Tours, France.
750-1258 The Abbasid dynasty (Golden Age of Arab Empire) is established.
786-809 Harun al-Rashid rises to power.
900-1000 Arab rule in Spain is at its highest; Cordova is the greatest intellectual centre in Europe.
15thC Islam begins to spread, displacing the Christian kingdoms dotted along the Nile
16thC Arabs establish themselves in Dongola, Kordofan and Darfur---located in the present
17thC Arabs make up even part of the Royal Fur Dynasty in the Darfur Region.
1797 Napoleon is victorious at the Battle of the Pyramids which shakes the power of the Mamelukes, the
Caucasian ruling class of Egypt, and paves the way for the rise to power of the Albanian soldier of
fortune, Muhammad Mi.
1819 There is little or no contact with the southern areas of the Sudan, the northern parts of Uganda and the
northeast of the Congo until the 19th century. The Arab interest in the south receives its first real
impetus in when Mohammad Ali, Khedhive of Egypt, decides to invade the Sudan.
1821 Muhammad Mi sends his third son, Ismail, at the head of 10,000 men across the desert and claims
central Sudan is his. For the first time, the name Sudan meaning Land of Blacks begins to take shape
as a political entity.
1841 One of the Khedhive’s expeditionists reaches Gondokoro, followed shortly by the European explorers
Petherick and Miani, who reach Nimule by 1860.
1850 The first Austrian missionaries reach Rejaff, just east of the present City of Juba.
1850s Egypt controls the Sudan as far as Fazogoli, 120 miles south of Khartoum. Meanwhile, merchants,
especially of Dongola stock, acquire arms and penetrate southwards opening up stations for the trade in
ivory and slaves. These trading stations become razzias (slave camps) in all directions with Khartoum
itself the centre of colossal slave trade.
1857 The contemporary Khedhive, Said Pasha, visits the Sudan in person and officially abolishes the slave
trade but his return to Egypt is merely regarded as the signal for intensified slaving activity. Meanwhile,
the slave traders and ivory merchants penetrate the northeast of the Congo through the Bahr el Ghazal.
1860 The Italian ivory trader, Giovanni Miani reaches the Unyama, on the Sudan side of the present UgandaSudan border. Meanwhile, the Maltese trader, Andrea de Bono (Amabile), sets foot on the Ugandan
territories and establishes an ivory camp on the east side of the Nile at Faloro, opposite the present town
of Rhino Camp.
1863 Ismail Pasha becomes Khedive of Egypt and finds himself confronted by a growing European public
opinion in Europe over the slaving horrors of the Sudan.
1864 Sir Samuel Baker, travels up the Nile to Lake Albert.
1867 The Vatican founds the Instituto Veronese dei Figli dei S.Cuore di Gesu per Le Nissioni Africane. The
Comboni Mission works in Egypt, the Sudan and Uganda, and it decides to establish itself first in the
1868 The German explorer, Schweinfirth, visits the Bahr el Ghazal and Wele when the slave trade is at its
1869 Ismail Pasha appoints the British, Sir Samuel Baker, Governor of the area south of Gondokoro.
1871 Sir Samuel Baker officially proclaims the annexation of Equatoria and the abolition of the slave trade— and even proclaims the annexation of Bunyoro but owing to financial difficulties Egypt cannot ratify.
1874 Charles Gordon becomes Governor General of the Equatoria Province succeeding Baker as Governor of Equatoria province of the Egyptian Sudan and annexes the area of Lado District.
1874 In the Bahr el Ghazal, the greatest slaver, Zubeir, raises a private army, and proclaims himself an
independent ruler, defeating a governmental force that is sent to quell him. Ironically, Ismail Pasha
later appoints Zubeir Governor of the Bahr el Ghazal.
1876 Egypt is bankrupt.
1877 Khedive Ismail appoints Charles Gordon Governor General of the whole Sudan; Gordon soon faces
revolt, invasion and disintegration and even death.
1877 The explorers: Scweinfurth, Junker Wilhem, Charles Long, Emin Pasha, Cassati, Stanley and
others travel west of the River Nile even though, except for Junker, few of them actually do more than
skirt the boundaries of Kakwa. However, the day break of November 20, 1877, ultimately establishes
the first recorded incursion into the Kakwa territories by foreigners. By December 21, 1877, Junker’s
raiding expedition has encamped along the boundary between the Kakwa and the Pojulu. Because
of the profitable nature of the raids in the Kakwa area, more and more others are organized with
disastrous results against those who resist the intrusion. Junker confesses: “These raids were
continued during the whole month of December ; as soon as the territories of one chief was
completely plundered we marched to the next hamlets [small villages].”
Then, choosing a spot on the Gulumbi Hill (near Morobu in the present Yei County), and looking toward
the south, the German scientist claims to have discovered mountains in the distance: "The three peaks I
named Jebel Gessi (Mount Liru sic], Jebel Gordon [Mount Wati sic] and Jebel Baker [it is difficult to
discern what exact present mountain or hill in Terego, Maracha or Ko’buko Jebel Baker stands for]. The
most distinct was Jebel Gordon; the ground gradually ascends to the lower hills before it. Other ranges lie
to the south of the two highest peaks of Jebel Gordon, beyond which is the group Jebel Baker. To the
north of Jebel Gordon, the Jebel Gessi, a high conical rock on the mountain ridge, can easily be seen.’
What a confused description by a scientist!
1870s The missionaries C.T. Wilson and R.W. Felkin visit the West Nile emphasizing the potential commercial importance of the slave trade.
1878 The commercial potential of the Congo-basin and outlining regions is supported by elaborate quotations from the early European explorers, such as Schweithfurth, Junker, Stanley, Emin, Patherick, Cassati and Gessi. This prompts King Leopold II of Belgium to mobilize a group of financial interests in studying trading prospects in Africa. The King creates the Comite d’Etudes du Haut Congo in 1878.
1879 King Leopold II pays all non-Belgian capital and he consolidates his hold on the Congo.
1879 Khedive Ismail is deposed and his successor in Khartoum, Rauf Pasha, makes no attempt to put down
the slavery in the Sudan.
1880 Gessi resigns as Governor of the Bahr el Ghazal and Lipton Bey is appointed Governor to replace him.
1880 Emin Pasha is made Governor of the Equatoria and Slatin Governor of Darfur.
1881 Salvation comes to the Sudan from the desert in the name of Muhammad Ahmad, the son of a Dongola boat-builder. He grows into a soft-spoken mystic and soon retires to Aba Island, 150 miles south of Khartoum, to live the life of a religious recluse, proclaiming himself to be the Mahdi, the second great
prophet. As the Mahdi rises, Egypt is in the throes of a financial crisis, bewildered by the nationalistic
uprising under Arabi Pasha on the one hand, and by the English and French on the other. Both events
culminate in the bombardment of Alexandria in 1852.
1882 The venture Comite d'Etudes du Haut Congo is re-named Association International du Congo. Despite its international title, the enterprise is neither international nor national. In fact, it is a springboard for
advancing the King Leopold II’s personal interests and not even the interests of Belgium. In effect then,
Leopold II is the Association and the Association is Leopold II who alone, nurtures it financially.
1883 Emin Pasha concentrates his forces around Lado (Juba) after abandoning one post after another. He
is joined by Junker and later by Cassati, who have been exploring the country to the west of the Nile,
including the Kakwa territories.
1884 The tribes of the Western Sudan rally to the Mahdi’s call for a war against the infidels and despots
and, early in 1884, the Mahdi is master of all Sudan save Khartoum. Britain, who meanwhile has
moves into Egypt, resolves that the Sudan cannot be held, and sends General Charles Gordon to
evacuate Khartoum. No man could have been more ill-fitted for the job, and after 317 days, the
Mahdi’s dervish hordes overrun the city’s defences and raze Khartoum. Egypt leaves the Sudan to
her fate, after appointing Gordon in 1884 to superitend the evacuation of the military and civil
personnel in the Sudan. Five months after the fall of Khartoum, the Mahdi dies of typhus; he is
succeeded by Khalifa Abdallah. Hardly has he come to power than the Sudan is plunged in a series
of civil wars.
1884 The Gedaref and Bahr el Ghazal garrisons fall to the Mahdists and the Emir Karamalla sends Lipton to join Slatin in captivity. Karamalla now decides to capture Equatoria, and marches southwards from
the Bahr el Ghazal.
1884-1885 The Berlin Conference is held. The scramble for Africa following this conference intensifies. Henceforth, rival European powers, coming inland from east and west, begin to converge on the Congo-Nile watershed’s portion of which is the frontier now dividing the Kakwa into the Congo, the Sudan and Uganda.
1885 Khartoum falls and the Mahdists who have occupied Amadi, force Emin Pasha to retreat to Wadelayi
fort on the western side of the Nile.
1888 Emin Pasha is visited by Sir Morton Stanley at Wadelayi and the ex-Governor is rescued from the
Mahdists and taken to the coast of the Indian Ocean.
1890 The Mahdist expedition, under Omar Saleh, ultimately reaches Rejaff. The western outposts which also include the Kakwa territories, are by now also under Dervish (Mahdist) control.
1892 The Belgians are the first colonizing Europeans to arrive to the Congo-Nile watershed, after the
inauguration of the Congo Free State (CFS) in 1885. A Belgian expedition, under Van Kerckhoven, then
establishes itself on the Congo-Nile watershed. Van Kerckhoven dies here but the rest of the expedition
under his deputy, Miltz, advances to Wadelai where they pursuade the remnants of Emin Pasha’s
garrison to join the Belgian Headquarters at Wandi in the present Terego County of the West Nile. From
there, they are sent on a disastrous expedition against the Mahdists at Rejaff, and after left to their fate
as the Nubians!
1892 The Belgians advance from the Congo and capture western Equatoria up to Mongalla. They establish
the Lado Enclave as part of the Belgian Congo.
1892 The French, led by Marchand, occupy large parts of south Sudan (Bahr el Ghazal, western Upper Nile
up to Fashoda) and by 1896, they have established a firm administration in these areas.
1894 Britain proclaims a protectorate over Buganda
1894 (August 14), the Lado Enclave is created by the Agreement between France and King Leopold II. This is
to result in the leasing of the West Nile to Leopold for his life time. It is designed on paper for reasons of
European and not African interests. The Enclave is demarcated by 5 degrees 30' North latitude (to the
north) 30 degrees West of the Greenwich (to the west), Congo-Nile watershed (to the south), and on
the east by the River Nile. King Leopold II, with pressure from the French and lacking sufficient
resources, takes effective control of the Enclave in 1897. In February 1897, Commander, Captain
Chatlin of Belgian Forces defeats the Mahdists at Rejaf and Lado (Juba). Meanwhile, the French feel
free to establish a foothold on the Upper Nile as far as Fashoda. But when both France and Britain fail
to agree on their respective spheres of influence, France despatches a military expedition in 1896 to
gain control of the Upper Nile. The conflict reach a crisis level in 1898 in what has now been dubbed
the Fashoda Incident, when the French commander, Marchand, was confronted by an equally
determined General Kitchener, leading a contingent of British forces to Fashoda. General Kitchener,
fresh from defeating the Khalifates (as the followers of the Mahdists are then called after his death) in
the Battle of Omundurman of September 2, 1898.
1885 The African Inland Mission (A.I.M) is founded in the USA by Arthur Pierson, Charles Hurlburt, Peter
Cameron Scott and others.
1895-1896 The appearance of the Belgians in the Equatoria sets a stage to the eventual ending of the Mahdist rule. The Belgians consolidate their position in the Uwelle area of northeast Congo and in the present West Nile and Congo and the Sudan Kakwa areas. King Leopold II then accelerates his anxiety to annex the territory west of the Nile which coincided with a similar treaty he has signed with the Zande chief, Zamoyi, through whose territory the Belgian columns would march to meet the Mahdi’s followers at Rejaf. Armed with one Kurps cannon, the Belgians leave Dungu for the Nile on December 13 1886, under the commands of Kops, Gehot, Debacker, Sarolea, Cajot, Dupont, Luplume, Gobel and Dr. Rossington. The Belgians who have now aligned themselves with the Nubian Fadhil’s forces soon cut off most supplies to the Mahdist rebels. Then they launch their final assault against the Khalifa’s General Arabi in the famous Battle of Rejaf in 1897. This paves way for the King to administer as part of the Congo, a section of the Southern Sudan known as the Lado Enclave.
1891 The British, Captain Lugard, recruits nearly 2,085 of Selim Bey's forces (and 6,000 dependents) to join the Imperial British East African Company (IBEAC) cause. These were the remnants who had served the British-Turkish Administration in the Sudan under Emin Pasha These new Sudanese or Nubian army is
deployed to man a string of forts throughout the western and southern Uganda and to defend Buganda
against its chief rival, Bunyoro.
1896 Britain proclaims a protectorate over Bunyoro through fear of French encroachment from the west.
1896 From the Pennsylvania Bible Institute, and the Central American Industrial Mission, the first eight AIM missionaries, led by Peter Cameron Scott arrive in Mombasa, British East Africa. By the first Annual
General Meeting, missionaries had been placed among the Wakamba in Nzawi, Sakai, Kilungu, and
Kangundu in Kenya. Peter Cameron Scott dies of black water fever on 8 December.
1896 Liotard, a French Commander overthrows the Dervish (Mahdist) rule in a large part of the Bahr el Ghazal.
1897 Another French expedition starts from Djibouti and moves along the Baro and Sobat Rivers in Ethiopia but fails to link up with the Fashoda Expedition. The French had wanted to annex the South Sudan.
However, an international conflict develops between the British and the French over South Sudan
commonly own as the Fashoda Incident.
1897 Rejaff falls as it is ultimately stormed by the Belgian Commander Chaltin, who thereupon occupies what is later known as the Lado Enclave. The limits of the Belgian expansion eastward are settled by
international agreement roughly the Congo-Nile watershed and a strip of land to Lake Albert in the
Mahagi region. Later, the Lado Enclave is leased to King Leopold II of Belgium for life!
1897 The French Commander, Marchand, leaves Congo Brazzaville to complete the subjugation of the Bahr el Ghazal and extend French authority as far as the Nile. An attempt by the British to rush Sudanese
troops from Uganda to the Juba River, through Somalia and intercept a threatened meeting between
Marchand and another French Commander, de Bonchamps (operating from Abyssinia), leads to a
revolt that has its repercussions throughout Uganda, lasting till 1901!
1898 The last of the first sixteen AIM missionaries leaves Africa. Of the original sixteen three had died, five
had left due to illness and four had resigned.
1898 September, the Anglo-Egyptian force led by General Herbert Kitchener meet the Khalifa’s 60,000
warriors on an open plain outside Omdurman, the new Sudanese city built across the Nile. Khalifa’s
casualties comprise 10,800 killed and 16,000 wounded, and Kitchener enters Omdurman as a conqueror.
1899 (January 19), Britain and Egypt sign a condominium agreement under which the Sudan is to be
administered jointly. In the twelve ensuing years, the Sudan’s revenue has increased seventeen fold,
its expenditure tripled, and its budget reaches a balanced state which is to be maintained until 1960.
1899 (In March), final settlement of the Fashoda Incident is reached by the Anglo-French Agreement when
the spheres of influence of both countries north of the Congo Free State boundary are delimited as
lying respectively east and west of Congo-Nile divide. This limits any further French claims to the Nile.
For its part, King Leopold II continues to actively encourage Belgian explorers to open up ever more
and more river systems and routes along Congo-Nile divide. His attention also turns for the possibility
of commercial and political ambitions in the Bahr el-Ghazal Province. Iron, ostrich feathers, ebony,
timber, fibres, tamarind, gum, honey wax and rubber, are rumoured to abound in that region. Initially,
the Belgians erect administrative posts throughout the Lado Enclave, but they soon face numerous
obstacles, the most important of which are:
1899 Marchand, after an epoch-making march through a hostile country of the Upper Nile, reaches
Fashoda, at the same time that an Anglo-Egyptian force under Lord Kitchener has overthrown the
Mahdists at Khartoum killing the Mahdi himself. The meeting of these two European Commanders in
the Shiluk country is to result in very strained relations between England and France to this period.
1899 France withdraws her claims on Fashoda and an Anglo-Egyptian regime or Condominium in the
Sudan was proclaimed. Since 1899, there have been minor boundary adjustments between Uganda
and the Sudan on the one hand, and Uganda and Congo on the other. The most important boundary
being the ceding of the Lado Enclave by Belgium in 1908 following the death of King Leopold II, and
of the Opari District by Uganda in 1913 in return for the present West Nile District.
1899 The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium is established in the Sudan; in reality it is the British who rule the
Sudan until 1956 when the Sudan becomes independent.
1899 At the beginning of Condominium rule in that year, the Verona Fathers Mission starts work in the
Southern Sudan: Upper Nile Province (in 1901), Bahr el-Ghazal (in 1905) and Equatorial Province (in
1913). Meanwhile, three Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) members go to the Mongalla Province
"following on the lines of the American and Australian missionaries who are already in the Sobat
Valley, the Shiluk country and the Bahr el-Ghazal."
1901 Bimbashi or Major Chauncy Hugh Stigand, a young British officer, handles the problem of the Lado
Enclave created by the Condominium authorities. He introduces arbitrary boundaries to divide the
different tribes in the Sudan and later in the West Nile. Stigand is Weatherhead’s mentor. He hunts
widely in the Enclave. He specializes in native administration. He dies in 1919, at the hands of the
Aliab section of the Dinka. His unfinished book on the Lado (published posthumously as Stingand,
1923), provides an unparalleled picture of the Lado Enclave at the time. He describes many of the
tribes in Northern Uganda and in the Southern Sudan and even draws the tribal boundaries which exist to this day. He also spends much of his time hunting game. Theodore Roosevelt (who later
becomes America’s President after World War II) and Carl Gustav-Jung visit the West Nile area and
are influential contributors to the ivory trade
1902 (January 2), King Leopold II organizes his Compagnie des Fer du Congo Superieur aux Grands Lacs.
The prescribed capital of the company is 25 million francs, designated to build two railway lines: one
from Stanleyville (now Kisangani) to Mahagi on Lake Albert; and the other, from Mahagi to the
navigable Nile at Rejaf or Lado.
1902 February, King Leopard II insists that the Lado Enclave will only be forfeited after his death and that
any Congo-Nile railway through the Enclave be owned and operated by Belgians alone. To live true
to his threats, he dispatches three large consignments of munitions, guns, and equipment for a six
1902 The largest concentration of troops anywhere in Africa, except for the war in South Africa, is put in
place. Collins (1968) reports that: "There were nearly 2,400 Native Congolese troops under 60
European officers ready to defend the Enclave against Britain. The present Southern Sudanese
Headquarters of Juba itself was defended with three Krupp cannon, five Nordenfelt guns, and a
machine gun. In the interior, the Yei post was fortified with two Nordenfelts and a machine gun."
Thus, both the Fashoda Incident of 1898 and Leopold’s ambitious defence of the Lado Enclave in the
middle of 1902, would have sparked World War I in Africa!
1906 The Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) starts work at Malek in 1906, and opens a Bush School in
Yei (in 1917), Juba (in 1920), Maridi and Yambiyo (in 1921), and in Lui (in 1924). The Rev. L. H.
Gwynne supervises the C.M.S. work in the Southern Sudan and at Khartoum. The girls’ school which
opens at Maridi (a town in the present Muru area), meets with more success than at Yambiyo (in the
Zande area). In fact, Maridi has been intended at an early date to become the largest educational
centre in the South.
1907 The Belgian Administration now abandons many of its key posts in favour of those closest to the
accessible roads. The Congolese hold only five stations scattered along the road from Congo-Nile
watershed (which runs from Keri Town, Baaze to Lasu) through the centre of the Enclave to the Nile
at Juba. That road roughly corresponds to the present Aba-Lasu-Yei-Lainya-Juba road. Although
the Lado Enclave is denied of rubber, its wooded rolling hills separated by well-watered streams
flowing amidst lush vegetation, is ideally suited for elephants. As Collins (1960:218) reports: "nowhere
in Africa were elephants in greater concentration than in Lado." Consequently, the expenses of the
Belgian administration had to be offset by Lado Enclave’s only major product--- ivory. Ivory continues
to be collected by the Belgians as government monopolies as is done under the Mudirs of the
Equatoria Province, such as Sir Samuel Baker, Gordon and Emin Pasha. In fact, labour services
were committed to payment in the elephant tusks. Promotion is given to those Belgian officers who
are assiduous in its collection. Sometimes, only those hunters who first secure the proper elephant
hunting licences at Boma or Brussels are permitted to shoot legally in the Enclave. When the British
attempt to persuade Leopold to abandon the Upper Nile and the Lado Enclave sooner rather than
later, His Majesty is visibly upset. He tells his baron (the Belgian Foreign Minister), that the Enclave
"is my glory, [panache]; its occupation has been my objective for years; I have dedicated my energies
to it; rather than renounce it, I will resort to violence.”
1910 (June 16), at precisely 9:45 A.M., the former Lado Enclave ceases to exist. The ceremony declaring the end of the enclave was held in Yei Town.
1912 Led by John Stauffacher, the first A.I.M. missionaries settle in Kasengu, Belgian Congo, (now
Democratic Republic of Congo).The British Governor General of the Sudan at the time, Lord Cromer, assures the Arab North that no proselytism or conversions into other faiths would take place in the Muslim areas. He, therefore, considers that missionary societies would fulfill a more useful role in the Southern Sudan than in the Northern Sudan as follows:
1914 The British establish Uganda Protectorate in West Nile. The first District Commissioner (DC) of
West Nile, is Alfred Evelyn Weatherhead (1914 to 1922). Before that, he was in South Africa. Jack H. Driberg, is the Assistant District Commissioner (ADC), as well as academic analyst and anthropologist. Driberg dies in 1947 and a friend describes him as ‘a romantic figure, gay, versatile, and adventurous—an Elizabethan.’
1918 First A.I.M. missionaries reach to Mvara, Uganda, and begin preaching among four unnamed unreached tribes.
1919 Kakwa’s, Rembi, leads the Allah Water or Yakanye uprising in the West Nile. The water is described by the White-men as a hallucinogen, an aphrodisiac, a drug which raises previously teemed men to warfare,
violent opposition to British imperial rule in West Nile. Ole’ba is the centre of Rembi’s activities. Anne King
(1970) gives the most extensive published historical account of the yakanye. Several West Nile puppet
Chiefs are believed associated with the yakanye, and these are exiled to Ankole and Masindi. Louise
Piroet, in his Historical Dictionary of Uganda, 1925) writes: ‘... the British officials were supposed to be
faced with possible widespread rebellion. Many chiefs were found to be implicated in yakanye and were
believed to be involved in plotting against the government... At this stage, the cult appeared to pose a real
danger and measures were taken against it. Several chiefs were exiled to Ankole until 1925, and Rembi
himself was caught and hanged’ (Piruet, 1995, p.3678).
1924 Mounting Egyptian nationalism in the period after World War I culminates in the assassination, in the
streets of Cairo, of Sir Lee Stack, Governor-General of the Sudan; British reaction results in the expulsion
of all Egyptian officials from the Sudan.
1925 The first professional labour recruiters (British and Indians) arrive in Arua, and the first labour system
becomes established in West Nile.
1925 McConell does the first full length ethnographic essay on a West Nile tribe, the Lugbara. There are also articles on la Nigrizia, the internal journal of the Catholic missionaries—the Comboni (Verona) Fathers on the Lugbara.
1930 The following parts of the Bible are first published in the Kakwa language: Kuu na’bo Naga Mako [The Gospel According to Mark in Kakwa of Congo] (Tentative Edition), London, British and Foreign Bible Society, 1930, p. 63p; and Jamet Lo’but/Gbeti Lo Luka [St. Luke in Bari (Kakwa)] (Tentative Edition),
London, British and Foreign Bible Society, 1930, p. 96p.
1936 After the Anglo-Egyptian entente of this year, a few Egyptians are allowed to return to the Sudan in minor posts. But the signing of the 1936 agreement stimulates Sudanese nationalists who object both to the
return of the Egyptians and to the fact that other nations are deciding their destiny. Expression of this
feeling is seen in the formation of the Graduates' Congress, under the leadership of Ismail al-Azhari.
1942 First Ugandan ordinations by the A.I.M. go to Reverends John Donyi and Silvanus Wani—all of them
1945 Two political parties emerge in the Sudan: the National Unionist Party (NUP) led by Ismail al-Azhari, who demands union of the Sudan and Egypt. It has the support of Sayed Sir Ali al-Mirghani, head of a
powerful religious sect. The Umma Party, backed by Sayed Sir Abdur-Rahman al-Mahdi, demands
unqualified independence and no links with Egypt
1949 Church Missionary Society (CMS) invites AIM to take over Opari and Torit in Sudan. Paul Buyse leads the first team into southern Sudan.
1950s The social anthropologist John Middleton studies the Lugbara in Uganda.
1953 (February 12), Britain and Egypt sign an accord ending the Condominium Arrangement and agreeing to grant the Sudan self government within three years. The agreement also provides for a Senate for the
Sudan, a Council of Ministers, and a House of Representatives, elections to which are to be supervised
by an international commission.
1953 Elections are held during November and December, resulting in victory for the National Unionist Party
NUP, and its leader, Ismail al-Aihari, becoming the Sudan’s first Prime Minister in January 1954. The
replacement of British and Egyptian officers in the Sudanese civil service by Sudanese nationals, follow
1955 (December 19), the British Parliament votes unanimously that the Sudan should become "a fully
independent sovereign state". British and Egyptian troops leave the country on January 1, 1956; the same day a five-man Council of State is appointed to take over the powers of the Governor General until a new constitution is agreed. It is interesting to note that all the Colonial Governors of the Sudan have been British Army Officers, and they include:
• Lt. Colonel Sir Stewart Symas (January 10, 1934 - October 14, 1940)
• Major General Sir Hubert J. Huddlestone (October 15, 1940- April 7, 1947)
• Sir Robert G. Howe (April 8, 1947 - March 10, 1955)
• Sir A. Knox Helm (March 11, 1955 - January 1, 1956)
1956 Civil War breaks out in Sudan, forcing the missionaries to leave. The Sudanese Government takes over the mission schools.
1960s The anthropologist Aidan Southall studies the Alur in West Nile.
1960 (June 30), the Belgian Congo achieves independence under the name of “Republic of Congo” or “Republic of the Congo” (Republic du Congo). The name “Congo” meaning “hunter” is coined after the Bakongo ethnic group, living in the Congo River basin.
1960 (January 17), Patrice Lumumba, the Prime Minister of the Congo, is assassinated and the country is thrown Into political and social chaos.
1962 Sudan Government enacts Missionary Society Act which restricts activities of missionaries. And
1964 The Simba Rebellion in the Congo results in many Congo Kakwa feeling into Ko’buko and Yei areas.
1966 Joseph Mobutu changes his country’s official name to “Democratic of the Congo”.
1971 President Mobutu renames his country the Republic of Zaire.
1971 President Joseph names his country “Zaire”, from the Portuguese mispronunciation of the Kikongo word nzere or nzadi, which translates to “the river which swallows all rivers.”
1972 Joseph Mobutu renames himself Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga.
1972 A.I.M's International Council meets for the first time. Temporary cessation of war in Sudan permits AIM pastors to re-establish work to East of Nile. AIM and other missions set up ACROSS to work West of the Nile.
1972 (March 14, 10 A.M.) The first Cabinet of Amin’s Military Regime in Uganda, looks as follows:
Awoŋo (H.E. Idi Amin Dada), President and Head of the Military Council.
1. Hon. J.M. Byagaire, Minister of Public Services and Local Administration.
2. Hon. Y.A. Eŋur, Minister of Culture and Community Development.
3. Hon. Dr. J.H. Gesa, Minister of Health.
4. Hon. A.K. Kironde, Minister of Planning and Economic Development.
5. Hon. W.O. Lutara, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
6. Hon. W.L. Naburi, Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
7. Hon. P.J. Nkambo Mugerwa, Attorney General.
8. Hon. Lt. Colonel O'bitre-Gama, Minister of Internal Affairs.
9. Hon. F.L. Okware, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Co-operation.
10. Hon. E.W. Oryema, Minister of Mineral and Water Resources.
11. Hon. E.B. Rugumayo, Minister of Education (he defected in 1973).
12. Hon. E.B. Wakhweya, Minister of Finance.
13. Hon. Wanume Kibedi, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kibedi defected to London in 1973, and Colonel
Michael Ondoga, formerly ambassador to Moscow in 1971, took over the post of the Foreign
14. Hon. Engineer J.M.N. Zikusoka, Minister of Works, Communications and Housing. The Military Police (MP) is headed by the Baka man, Major Hussein Marella. The Public Safety Unit (PSU) is headed by Ali Toweli. Mohammed Hussein is head of the Criminal Investigations Unit (CID). The State Research Bureau (centre) is headed by Lt. Colonel Francis Itabuka assisted by Major Farouk Minawa.
1977 Ugandan bishops elect the Kakwa, Silvanus Wani, as the new Archbishop replacing the Acholi-born,
1979 (May) Wakombozi or so-called liberation forces from Tanzania, accompanied by Ugandan exiles, enter West Nile in May 1979.
1979 (June 3, at about 4pm), the Wakombozi accompanied by Ugandan exiles, officially enter Ko’buko, by
which time nearly the whole of Ko’buko has emptied into Zaire (now Congo) and into the Sudan, joined
by thousands of other tribes-people as --- as Refugees.
1980s Harrel-Bond, a British sociologist, comes to the Yei River District to study ‘the West Nile Refugees‘
1983 The Southern Sudan Liberation Army (SPLA) plunges into the Kakwa area of Yei, following a period of tremendous agony, suffering, loss of lives and destruction of properties.
1990s Tim Allen comes to West Nile to study West Nile’s ‘Returnees’.
1997 (May 17), Laurent-Desire Kabila overthrows President Mobutu. He changes the name of his country back to Democratic Republic of The Congo-Kinshasa (the capital of Congo/Zaire). His former allies soon turn against him, however, and his regime is challenged by a Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebellion in
August of 1988. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad and the Sudan intervene to support the
new regime in Kinshasa. From this date until 2006, much of the country’s eastern portion remains
insecure. In the ensuing confusion, the Kakwa territories are rendered a killing ground.
2001 (January 16) President Laurent Kabila is shot and killed at his desk in the presidential palace. Later
twenty-six men re sentenced to death for their part in the killing, 64 receive jail terms ranging from six
months to life, and 45 are exonerated.
2006 Elections are held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Joseph Kabila takes 45% of the votes and his main opponent Jean-Pierre Bemba takes 20%. A two-day fight between the two camps ensues
and in August in the streets of the capital, Kinshasa: 16 people die before police and the UN mission,
MONUC, takes control of the city.
2006 (October 29), a second round of elections between Kabila and Bemba is held and Kabila triumphs
receiving 58% of the vote to Bemba’s 42% . Tensions still remain very high in this volatile, vast and