In August 1986, Alice Auma, a young Acholi woman in northern Uganda, proclaiming herself under the orders of a Christian spirit named Lakwena, raised an army called the “Holy Spirit Mobile Forces.” With it she waged a war against perceived evil, not only an external enemy represented by the National Resistance Army of the government, but internal enemies in the form of “impure” soldiers, witches, and sorcerers. She came very close to her goal of overthrowing the government but was defeated and fled to Kenya.
This book provides a unique view of Alice’s movement, based on interviews with its members and including their own writings, examining their perceptions of the threat of external and internal evil. It concludes with an account of the successor movements into which Alice’s forces fragmented and which still are active in the civil wars of the Sudan and Uganda.
Yoweri Museveni battled to power in 1986. His government has impressed many observers as Uganda's most innovative since it gained independence from Britain in 1962. The Economist recommended it as a model for other African states struggling to develop their resources in the best interests of their peoples.
But where was change to start? At the bottom in building resistance committees, or at the top in tough negotiations with the IMF? How was it to continue? Was it in the restructuring of the national army, in increasing respect for human rights, in the reform of education, in tackling AIDS, or in getting Ugandans to speak a common language? Was it in building more viable survival strategies for the poorest Ugandans or in restructuring the national constitution? The last five years have shown a radical approach to Uganda's dilemmas.
Holger Bernt Hansen and Michael Twaddle previously edited Uganda Now. It was brought together at a significant moment just as President Museveni was gaining power in 1985-6. It was so much in demand that it even entered the magendo market on the streets of Kampala. The book, which is still in print, was described by The Canadian Journal of African Studies as ‘virtually a mini-encyclopedia of Uganda’ and by The African Studies Review as ‘the best overview of Uganda's trauma in the last two decades.’
The editors have assembled another team of Ugandan and international scholars to review the dilemmas of introducing revolutionary changes in an African country deeply affected by structural adjustment plans which have been imposed from outside.
The Combing of History
David William Cohen University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress D16.C55 1994 | Dewey Decimal 901
How is historical knowledge produced? And how do silence and forgetting figure in the knowledge we call history? Taking us through time and across the globe, David William Cohen's exploration of these questions exposes the circumstantial nature of history. His investigation uncovers the conventions and paradigms that govern historical knowledge and historical texts and reveals the economic, social, and political forces at play in the production of history.
Drawing from a wide range of examples, including African legal proceedings, German and American museum exhibits, Native American commemorations, public and academic debates, and scholarly research, David William Cohen explores the "walls and passageways" between academic and non-academic productions of history.
Controlling Anger examines the dilemmas facing rural people who live within the broader context of political instability. Following Uganda’s independence from Britain in 1962, the Bagisu men of Southeastern Uganda developed a reputation for extreme violence.
Drawing on a wide range of historical sources including local court records, statistical survey analysis, and intensive fieldwork, Suzette Heald portrays and analyzes the civil violence that grew out of intense land shortage, the marginalization of the Gisu under British rule, and the construction of male gender identity among the Gisu. Now available in a paperback edition with a new preface by the author, Controlling Anger is an important contribution to rural sociology in Africa.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa has defined the childhoods of an entire generation. Over the past twenty years, international NGOs and charities have devoted immense attention to the millions of African children orphaned by the disease. But in Crying for Our Elders, anthropologist Kristen E. Cheney argues that these humanitarian groups have misread the ‘orphan crisis’. She explains how the global humanitarian focus on orphanhood often elides the social and political circumstances that actually present the greatest adversity to vulnerable children—in effect deepening the crisis and thereby affecting children’s lives as irrevocably as HIV/AIDS itself.
Through ethnographic fieldwork and collaborative research with children in Uganda, Cheney traces how the “best interest” principle that governs children’s’ rights can stigmatize orphans and leave children in the post-antiretroviral era even more vulnerable to exploitation. She details the dramatic effects this has on traditional family support and child protection and stresses child empowerment over pity. Crying for Our Elders advances current discussions on humanitarianism, children’s studies, orphanhood, and kinship. By exploring the unique experience of AIDS orphanhood through the eyes of children, caregivers, and policymakers, Cheney shows that despite the extreme challenges of growing up in the era of HIV/AIDS, the post-ARV generation still holds out hope for the future.
Hölger Bernt Hansen Ohio University Press, 1998 Library of Congress HC870.D48 1998 | Dewey Decimal 338.96761
Uganda's recovery since Museveni came to power in 1986 has been one of the heartening achievements in a continent where the media have given intense coverage to disasters. This book assesses the question of whether the reality lives up to the image that has so impressed the supporters of its recovery. What has actually happened? How successful have the reforms been thus far? What are the prospects for Uganda's future?
Essays by the top scholars in the Weld span the breadth of the issue, from Uganda's growth out of poverty to development at the grass roots level. Developing Uganda replaces the myth and misinformation the last decade has witnessed with a realistic scrutiny by those who have studied it with care and caution.
Believing that charity inadvertently legitimates social inequality and fosters dependence, many international development organizations have increasingly sought to replace material aid with efforts to build self-reliance and local institutions. But in some cultures—like those in rural Uganda, where Having People, Having Heart takes place—people see this shift not as an effort toward empowerment but as a suspect refusal to redistribute wealth. Exploring this conflict, China Scherz balances the negative assessments of charity that have led to this shift with the viewpoints of those who actually receive aid.
Through detailed studies of two different orphan support organizations in Uganda, Scherz shows how many Ugandans view material forms of Catholic charity as deeply intertwined with their own ethics of care and exchange. With a detailed examination of this overlooked relationship in hand, she reassesses the generally assumed paradox of material aid as both promising independence and preventing it. The result is a sophisticated demonstration of the powerful role that anthropological concepts of exchange, value, personhood, and religion play in the politics of international aid and development.
Abducted at the age of eleven, Evelyn Amony spent nearly eleven years inside the Lord’s Resistance Army, becoming a forced wife to Joseph Kony and mother to his children. She takes the reader into the inner circles of LRA commanders and reveals unprecedented personal and domestic details about Joseph Kony. Her account unflinchingly conveys the moral difficulties of choosing survival in a situation fraught with violence, threat, and death.
Amony was freed following her capture by the Ugandan military. Despite the trauma she endured with the LRA, Amony joined a Ugandan peace delegation to the LRA, trying to convince Kony to end the war that had lasted more than two decades. She recounts those experiences, as well as the stigma she and her children faced when she returned home as an adult.
This extraordinary testimony shatters stereotypes of war-affected women, revealing the complex ways that Amony navigated life inside the LRA and her current work as a human rights advocate to make a better life for her children and other women affected by war.
Best books for public & secondary school libraries from university presses, American Library Association
In Idi Amin’s Shadow is a rich social history examining Ugandan women’s complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amin’s military state. Based on more than one hundred interviews with women who survived the regime, as well as a wide range of primary sources, this book reveals how the violence of Amin’s militarism resulted in both opportunities and challenges for women. Some assumed positions of political power or became successful entrepreneurs, while others endured sexual assault or experienced the trauma of watching their brothers, husbands, or sons “disappeared” by the state’s security forces. In Idi Amin’s Shadow considers the crucial ways that gender informed and was informed by the ideology and practice of militarism in this period. By exploring this relationship, Alicia C. Decker offers a nuanced interpretation of Amin’s Uganda and the lives of the women who experienced and survived its violence.
Each chapter begins with the story of one woman whose experience illuminates some larger theme of the book. In this way, it becomes clear that the politics of military rule were highly relevant to women and gender relations, just as the politics of gender were central to militarism. By drawing upon critical security studies, feminist studies, and violence studies, Decker demonstrates that Amin’s dictatorship was far more complex and his rule much more strategic than most observers have ever imagined.
This is a history of the early days of Uganda. The account has an African focus because it shows the British takeover through the experiences of an extraordinary leader.
“At this spot in the year 1901 the British flag was first hoisted by Semei Kakanguru, emissary and loyal servant of His Majesty the King. He built here a boma which was for a short time the headquarters of the district. From this beginning came the establishment of peace and the development of orderly progress in this part of Uganda.”
Michael Twaddle was shown this plaque in 1963 by a local government official who said “That man created the Uganda we Ugandans are fighting for today.” And yet the local people had had the plaque removed to a bicycle shed.
How do people regard an African who had an active role in the creation of the imperial state? Was this man “a hero,” “a collaborator,” “a warlord”? The reaction of colonial officials was mixed. One considered him “…in point of general intelligence, progressive ideas and charm of manner…far above all other natives in the Protectorate…” Another dismissed him, along with his companions, as “no better than Masai or Nandi cattle lifters.” And yet another viewed him as “undoubtedly…a partial religious maniac.”
The story of this man is an example of the dilemma for a whole generation of East Africans at the turn of the last century. This book has been compared in its importance to Shepperson’s and Price’s Independent African.
In southern Uganda, ritual healing traditions called kusamira and nswezi rely on music to treat sickness and maintain well-being. Peter J. Hoesing blends ethnomusicological fieldwork with analysis to examine how kusamira and nswezi performance socializes dynamic processes of illness, wellness, and health. People participate in these traditions for reasons that range from preserving ideas to generating strategies that allow them to navigate changing circumstances. Indeed, the performance of kusamira and nswezi reproduces ideas that remain relevant for succeeding generations. Hoesing shows the potential of this social reproduction of well-being to shape development in a region where over 80 percent of the population relies on traditional healers for primary health care.
Comprehensive and vivid with eyewitness detail, Kusamira Music in Uganda offers insight into important healing traditions and the overlaps between expressive culture and healing practices, the human and other-than-human, and Uganda's past and future.
Since 1986, the Acholi people of northern Uganda have lived in the crossfire of a violent civil war, with the Lord’s Resistance Army and other groups fighting the Ugandan government. Acholi have been murdered, maimed, and driven into displacement. Thousands of children have been abducted and forced to fight. Many observers have perceived Acholiland and northern Uganda to be an exception in contemporary Uganda, which has been celebrated by the international community for its increased political stability and particularly for its fight against AIDS. These observers tend to portray the Acholi as war-prone, whether because of religious fanaticism or intractable ethnic hatreds. In Living with Bad Surroundings, Sverker Finnström rejects these characterizations and challenges other simplistic explanations for the violence in northern Uganda. Foregrounding the narratives of individual Acholi, Finnström enables those most affected by the ongoing “dirty war” to explain how they participate in, comprehend, survive, and even resist it.
Finnström draws on fieldwork conducted in northern Uganda between 1997 and 2006 to describe how the Acholi—especially the younger generation, those born into the era of civil strife—understand and attempt to control their moral universe and material circumstances. Structuring his argument around indigenous metaphors and images, notably the Acholi concepts of good and bad surroundings, he vividly renders struggles in war and the related ills of impoverishment, sickness, and marginalization. In this rich ethnography, Finnström provides a clear-eyed assessment of the historical, cultural, and political underpinnings of the civil war while maintaining his focus on Acholi efforts to achieve “good surroundings,” viable futures for themselves and their families.
The Moon in Your Sky: An Immigrant’s Journey Home brings to life the remarkable story of Annah Emuge. Growing up in Uganda under the rule of Idi Amin, Annah and her peers faced hardships few of us can imagine, living with the constant threat of soldiers breaking into their homes, raiding and pillaging as they pleased.
Annah found strength in her relationship with her mother, Esther, and in her relationship with God. Esther encouraged Annah to educate herself and “go out into the world.” Annah’s faith led her to James, an evangelical preacher who became her husband. The two left Uganda for the United States when James received a scholarship to study at Ohio University, only to be stranded there with two small children when the Ugandan government collapsed. The loss of his dreams, along with the realities of American life for African immigrants, proved to be more than James could withstand, and he succumbed to alcoholism.
How Annah overcame the trials she endured in the land she had thought would hold only promise for her and her family is a riveting story of perseverance that will inspire any reader. Annah’s sorrows give depth to the great joys she experiences as she not only survives but triumphs, working to make both of her countries better places.
Stephen Bunker challenges the image of peasants as passive victims and argues that coffee growers in the Bugisu District of Uganda, because they own land and may choose which crops to produce, maintain an unusual degree of economic and political independence.
Focusing on peasant struggles for market control over coffee exports in Bugisu from colonial times through the reign and overthrow of Idi Amin, Bunker shows that these freeholding peasants acted collectively and used the state's dependence on coffee export revenues to effectively influence and veto government programs inimical to their interests.
Bunker's work vividly portrays the small victories and great trials of ordinary people struggling to control their own economic destiny while resisting the power of the world economy.
How can children simultaneously be the most important and least powerful people in a nation? In her innovative ethnography of Ugandan children—the pillars of tomorrow’s Uganda, according to the national youth anthem—Kristen E. Cheney answers this question by exploring the daily contradictions children face as they try to find their places amid the country’s rapidly changing social conditions.
Drawing on the detailed life histories of several children, Cheney shows that children and childhood are being redefined by the desires of a young country struggling to position itself in the international community. She moves between urban schools, music festivals, and war zones to reveal how Ugandans are constructing childhood as an empowering identity for the development of the nation. Moreover, through her analysis of children’s rights ideology, national government strategy, and children’s everyday concerns, Cheney also shows how these young citizens are vitally linked to the global political economy as they navigate the pitfalls and possibilities for a brighter tomorrow.
Blessed with fertile and well-watered soil, East Africa's kingdom of Buganda supported a relatively dense population and became a major regional power by the mid-nineteenth century. This complex and fascinating state has also long been in need of a thorough study that cuts through the image of autocracy and military might.
Political Power in Pre-Colonial Buganda explores the material basis of Ganda political power, gives us a new understanding of what Ganda power meant in real terms, and relates the story of how the kingdom used the resources at its disposal to meet the challenges that confronted it. Reid further explains how these same challenges ultimately limited Buganda's dominance of the East African great lakes region.
Preaching Prevention examines the controversial U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative to “abstain and be faithful” as a primary prevention strategy in Africa. This ethnography of the born-again Christians who led the new anti-AIDS push in Uganda provides insight into both what it means for foreign governments to “export” approaches to care and treatment and the ways communities respond to and repurpose such projects. By examining born-again Christians’ support of Uganda’s controversial 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the book’s final chapter explores the enduring tensions surrounding the message of personal accountability heralded by U.S. policy makers.
Preaching Prevention is the first to examine the cultural reception of PEPFAR in Africa. Lydia Boyd asks, What are the consequences when individual responsibility and autonomy are valorized in public health initiatives and those values are at odds with the existing cultural context? Her book investigates the cultures of the U.S. and Ugandan evangelical communities and how the flow of U.S.-directed monies influenced Ugandan discourses about sexuality and personal agency. It is a pioneering examination of a global health policy whose legacies are still unfolding.
More than ten million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition globally each year. In Uganda, longstanding efforts to understand, treat, and then prevent the condition initially served to medicalize it, in the eyes of both biomedical personnel and Ugandans who brought their children to the hospital for treatment and care. Medicalization meant malnutrition came to be seen as a disease—as a medical emergency—not a preventable condition, further compromising nutritional health in Uganda.
Rather than rely on a foreign-led model, physicians in Uganda responded to this failure by developing a novel public health program known as Mwanamugimu. The new approach prioritized local expertise and empowering Ugandan women, blending biomedical knowledge with African sensibilities and cultural competencies.
In The Riddle of Malnutrition, Jennifer Tappan examines how over the course of half a century Mwanamugimu tackled the most fatal form of childhood malnutrition—kwashiorkor—and promoted nutritional health in the midst of postcolonial violence, political upheaval, and neoliberal resource constraints. She draws on a diverse array of sources to illuminate the interplay between colonialism, the production of scientific knowledge, and the delivery of health services in contemporary Africa.
During the first decade of this millennium, many thousands of people in Uganda who otherwise would have died from AIDS got second chances at life. A massive global health intervention, the scaling up of antiretroviral therapy (ART), saved them and created a generation of people who learned to live with treatment. As clients they joined programs that offered free antiretroviral medicine and encouraged "positive living." Because ART is not a cure but a lifelong treatment regime, its consequences are far-reaching for society, families, and individuals. Drawing on personal accounts and a broad knowledge of Ugandan culture and history, the essays in this collection explore ART from the perspective of those who received second chances. Their concerns about treatment, partners, children, work, food, and bodies reveal the essential sociality of Ugandan life. The collection is based on research undertaken by a team of social scientists including both Western and African scholars.
Contributors. Phoebe Kajubi, David Kyaddondo, Lotte Meinert, Hanne O. Mogensen, Godfrey Etyang Siu, Jenipher Twebaze, Michael A. Whyte, Susan Reynolds Whyte
For the first decade of the twenty-first century, every weekend, people throughout Uganda converged to participate in ebimeeza, open debates that invited common citizens to share their political and social views. These debates, also called “People’s Parliaments,” were broadcast live on private radio stations until the government banned them in 2009. In Talkative Polity, Florence Brisset-Foucault offers the first major study of ebimeeza, which complicate our understandings of political speech in restrictive contexts and force us to move away from the simplistic binary of an authoritarian state and a liberal civil society.
Brisset-Foucault conducted fieldwork from 2005 to 2013, primarily in Kampala, interviewing some 150 orators, spectators, politicians, state officials, journalists, and NGO staff. The resulting ethnography invigorates the study of political domination and documents a short-lived but highly original sphere of political expression. Brisset-Foucault thus does justice to the richness and depth of Uganda’s complex political and radio culture as well as to the story of ambitious young people who didn’t want to behave the way the state expected them to. Positioned at the intersection of media studies and political science, Talkative Polity will help us all rethink the way in which public life works.
Can the revolutionary government of Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement put Uganda back on the road from decay to development?
These informed assessments put the present situation in context. The contributors assembled as Museveni’s guerrillas were launching their final bid for power. They have finalized their contributions in the light of the Museveni government’s initial period of power.
Contributions by Ugandan academics and politicians interlock with those by scholars from across the world who have a concern for Uganda. Historians examine the period of colonialism. There are political studies of the quarter century since independence. There are detailed analyses of the economic realities for the Ugandan government in the period of international debt. The central role of education in national development is given due prominence.
Ali A. Mazrui ends the book by asking ‘Is Africa Decaying?’ The editors have put the consideration of the case of Uganda’s recent history within the context of Africa’s development crisis. Uganda has presented in an aggravated form the crisis common to many other African countries: infrastructural breakdown, mounting foreign debt, military regimes and waves of refugees.
What Is Africa’s Problem
Yoweri K. Museveni University of Minnesota Press, 2000 Library of Congress DT30.5.M87 2000 | Dewey Decimal 320.9676
Women and Politics in Uganda
Aili Mari Tripp University of Wisconsin Press, 2000 Library of Congress HQ1236.5.U33T75 2000 | Dewey Decimal 305.42096761
Uganda has attracted much attention and political visibility for its significant economic recovery after a catastrophic decline. In her groundbreaking book, Aili Mari Tripp provides extensive data and analysis of patterns of political behavior and institutions by focusing on the unique success of indigenous women’s organizations.
Tripp explores why the women’s movement grew so dramatically in such a short time after the National Resistant Movement took over in 1986. Unlike many African countries where organizations and institutions are controlled by a ruling party or regime, the Ugandan women’s movement gained its momentum by remaining autonomous.
The Year of the Gorilla
George B. Schaller University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress QL737.P96S3 2009 | Dewey Decimal 599.8840967571
This seminal work chronicles George B. Schaller’s two years of travel and observation of gorillas in East and Central Africa in the late 1950s, high in the Virunga volcanoes on the Zaire-Rwanda-Uganda border. There, he learned that these majestic animals, far from being the aggressive apes of film and fiction, form close-knit societies of caring mothers and protective fathers watching over playful young. Alongside his observations of gorilla society, Schaller celebrates the enforced yet splendid solitude of the naturalist, recounts the adventures he experienced along the way, and offers a warning against poaching and other human threats against these endangered creatures. This edition features a postscript detailing Schaller’s more recent visits with gorillas, current to 2009.
“Whether the author is tracking gorillas, slipping past elephant herds on narrow jungle paths, avoiding poachers’ deadfalls, or routing Watusi invaders, this is an exciting book. Although Schaller feels that this is ‘not an adventure book,’ few readers will be able to agree.”—Irven DeVore, Science
The Year of the Gorilla
George B. Schaller University of Chicago Press, 1988 Library of Congress QL737.P96S3 1988 | Dewey Decimal 599.8846
"A sensitive and articulate observer, [Schaller] is at his best when he is describing the forest itself . . . . This is an exciting book. Although Schaller feels that this is 'not an adventure book,' few readers will be able to agree."—Irven DeVore, Science