Friday, 21 August 2009

The 2010 Lugbara Culture Dialogue

John Middleton, Born 1921, Died 2009 (Rest In Peace)


1. Theme: “Preserving the Legacy of Lugbara Culture, History and Identity to Promote Development and Enhance Unity among the Lugbara People”

2. Venue: EKARAKAFE CATHOLIC MISSION HALL in Ezuku, about 2 KM away from Vurra Customs Border Post that is near Congo

3. Date: Friday 12th February 2010

Main speaker: JOHN MIDDLETON (unfortunately died early 2009. May his Soul Rest in Peace. He was 87 Years old and had studied and written majorly about five African cultures namely the Lugbara of Uganda en Eastern Zaire, Igbo plus Lagosians of Nigeria, Akan of Ghana, Swahili of Kenya en the Shirazi of the Zanzibar Protectorate. A family member could be invited to represent him.

Moderator: Livingston Obba

Other speakers:
Rt. Rev. Joel Obetia
Dr. Erick Adriko
Vurra County Community Development Officer
Alaka and Moses Adriko
Vurra Chief Elder
Mr. Abiria Jackson
Mr Amatre Jimmy
Mr. Nyati Elkana
Rev. Lameck Wadia
Dr. Sam Okuonzi

5. Guest of Honor: Hon. Simon Ejua

6. Invited Guests:
Elim Pentecostal
Full Gospel Church

History Teachers from Primary Schools in Vurra County
and the Head of History Department in National
Teachers College (NTC), Muni

Students from Vurra SS, Okufura SS, Arivu SS, Anyavu
SS, Logiri Girls SS, Nile College, Ocoko Girls SS, Ajia SS,
Muni Girls SS, NTC Muni

Ten Elders selected from the following areas:
Arivu, Ajia, Logiri, Upper Vurra, Ayivu County, Terego,
Maracha, Koboko, Madi, Aringa and Democratic
Republic of (CongoDRC)

d. Ten Politicians (with various Political Leanings) from
Arua District

e. Journalists

f. Others to make a total of about 150 Participants

(Arrival at 9.00 AM):

1. (10.00 AM - 10.45 AM) ‘Profile of Lugbara: Overview/Facts/Leadership’ By Mr. ABIRIA Jackson

2. (11.00 AM - 12.00 PM) ‘The Culture, History and Identity of Lugbara’ By Opi OYAA Nahory/ John MIDDLETON was supposed to talk on this topic but unfortunately passed away in early 2009. May his Soul Rest in Peace!

3. (12.00 PM - 12.30 PM) ‘The Role of Cultural Library in Community Development’ By CDO

4. (12.30 PM - 1.00 PM) ‘Difference between a Library, a Museum, and a Community Centre’ By Mr. AMATRE Jimmy/ Mr. NYATI Elkana

5. (2.00 PM - 2.30 PM) ‘Using Culture as a Medium for Development’ By Sam OKUONZI

6. (2.30 PM - 3.00 PM) ‘When Does the Cultural Values, Norms, and Superstition apply in Conflict Resolution’ By ALAKA/ Moses ADRIKO

7. (3.00 PM - 4.00 PM) ‘The Relationship between Lugbara Traditional Religion, and Western or Eastern Religious Doctrines' By Rt. Rev. Joel OBETIA, Bishop of Madi and West Nile Diocese

8. (4.00 PM - 4.30 PM) ‘How can Lugbara Preserve their Identity?’ By Mr. AYIKOBUA Edward

9. (4.30 PM) Conclusion By the Guest of Honour, Hon. Simon EJUA, Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for Vurra Constituency


(Any Changes in the Programme will be communicated) GOD Bless!

Drawn by CHARLES K. BUA, Coordinator/Director IMCCL Ltd (08/08/2009) and Edited by Aiko

In Memoriam: Renowned Africanist Scholar John Middleton
Published: March 27, 2009

New Haven, Conn. — John Middleton, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and an internationally renowned Africanist Scholar, died on February 27th 2009 after a brief hospitalization. He was 87 years old. Middleton's field work and major ethnographic writings on African cultures forged new anthropological perspectives on their political and social structures. He conducted five major field studies in Africa: among the Lugbara of Uganda and Zaire; the Igbo and Lagosians of Nigeria; the Akan of Ghana; the Swahili of Kenya; and the Shirazi of the Zanzibar Protectorate. Out of this research came three classic studies: "Tribes Without Rulers" (co-edited with David Tait, 1958), which offered insights into the structure and functioning of tribes not subject to a unified political power; "Lugbara Religion" (1960), which explored how belief systems can be — and have been — manipulated for political reasons; and "From Tribe to Nation in Africa" (co-edited with Ronald Cohen, 1970), which dealt with the gap between the state and society in that continent caused by colonialism and perpetuated into modern times. The latter volume became a standard textbook used in courses on Africa and political studies. He also authored and edited well over 100 other articles and books. In a 1999 interview in the journal Current Anthropology, Middleton noted that one of the most important things he learned doing fieldwork was "you can do utterly nothing without people telling you what they want to tell you. And they decide how to do it, as the leading partners in a joint task of learning, as when they decided to tell me the myths of origin. You see, I would sit on the great rock near my house and ask people, ‘Who lives there? Who lives there?' because you could see the landscape laid out in front of you — you could see 100 miles with thousands of little villages. And they'd say, ‘Well, now you've got to learn how we came here.' And everybody started telling me myths. People tell you what they want you to learn."

Born in London, England, in 1921, Middleton received his B.A. in English from the University of London in 1941. He was called up for service in the fall of that year, and, after receiving officer training, was sent to East Africa to serve in an infantry battalion in the colonial army there. In fact, Middleton recalled in his Current Anthropology interview, "I first saw Africa from the deck of a troop-ship in Freetown Harbour, in Sierra Leone, one day in late 1942. It was during a lightning storm, and we had to remain on board looking at the green hills around the city through dismal curtains of rain, while sweating from the humidity." He told the interviewer that his experiences in Africa definitely influenced his field of study. "Had I gone to Malaysia, I might have ended up studying Southeast Asian societies."

After the war, Middleton received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford in 1949 and 1953 respectively. He held several positions before coming to Yale in 1981: Lecturer of Anthropology at the University of London 1953-1954 and 1956-1963; Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Capetown 1954-1955 and at Rhodes University 1955-1956; Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University 1963-1966 and at New York University 1966-1972; and Professor of Anthropology at the University of London, 1972-1981. At Yale, Middleton chaired the Department of Anthropology 1983-1986 and the Council on African Studies 1983-1988. He received a joint appointment in Religious Studies in 1987. He retired from Yale in 1991, but continued to remain active at the University and continued to do research and publish.

Middleton served as the acting co-director of the International African Institute 1973-1974 and 1980-1981, and served as Editor of the institute's Journal Africa 1972-1979. He received the institute's Gold Medal for Service to African Studies in 1979. He was president of the then-new Association for Political and Legal Anthropology 1983-1985.
He was a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the American Anthropological Association and the Association of African Studies. He was also a member of the American Society for the Study of Religon and the Association of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth.

Middleton is survived by his wife, Michelle Gilbert; his daughter, Jane Middleton; and his grandaughter, DeeDee Middleton.

OLE (Witchcraft in the Heart)

'Ole' means indignation, envy or annoyance at sinful behaviour. Invocation of ghosts is done by a living person, typically an elder; but anyone whose father was dead might do so. He sat near his shrines in his compound and thought about the sinner's behaviour. His thoughts were known by the ghosts and they then sent sicknessto the offender. It was said "he thinks these words in his heart", he did not threaten or curse the offender. For a senior man to do this was part of his expected role. It was part of his 'work' to 'cleanse the lineage home'. Indeed, an elder who did not do so when justified would have been lacking in sense of duty towards his lineage. A man might invoke the dead to send sickness against any member of his family cluster and his minimal lineage, whether living in the family cluster's compounds or not. Within the family cluster were included lineage members, their wives and attached kin such as sister's sons. A man was thought not to invoke against sister's sons living elsewhere: to discipline them was the duty of their own elders where they lived... A living man was thought to invoke the dead because he felt the sentiment of indignation over sin...

There were various forms of witches. Some, the most common, walked at night, often in the guise of a rat or other night animal, or as a moving light; others walked about and defecated blood in their victim's compound. In the morning the victim would wake up aching and sick and might die unless the witch removed his witchcraft. Lugbara people understood that a witch's motive was 'ole' which meant that anyone could be a witch. It was said that a man felt envy at seeing others eat rich food when he had nothing, at seeing other men dancing and admired by women while he stood alone, or at seeing other men surrounded by kin and children when he had none of his own. But the sentiment of 'ole' was more than mere envy. It was resentment at failing to achieve selfish personal ambition. In Lugbara Culture, high status and prestige were traditionally acquired only or almost only through position in the lineage and by age, the two usually going together.

(Excerpt from "The Lugbara of Uganda" by John MIDDLETON)