Acholi Cultural Institution Plans Heritage Day

An Acholi dance. The planned for Acholi heritage day will seek to promote and preserve, among others, Acholi dance(Photo by James Owich)

In an attempt to promote Acholi culture, Ker Kwaro Acholi, the Acholi cultural institution plans to set up an Acholi cultural heritage day.

The heritage day is meant to be used to revive Acholi cultural practices which are perceived to be on the decline. These include: bonfires, rituals, dances, dressing, Mato Oput (the traditional justice system) and marriage practices, among others.

The Prime Minister Ker Kwaro Acholi, Ambrose Olaa revealed that plans are underway to designate a day were individuals will showcase their talent in cooking traditional dishes, dressing and games and sports.

Olaa explained that on heritage day families will converge and have the opportunity to interact and learn from each other Acholi cultural practices.

According to the Premier, Ker Kwaro Acholi, has already put up a committee chaired by Simon Oyet, the Nwoya County Member of Parliament (MP) which has been tasked to begin initial planning for the heritage day. The day is planned to be annual and will be held at the palace of Rwot David Onen Acana II, the Acholi paramount chief found in Bar-Dege Division in Gulu Municipality.

Olaa also revealed that Ker Kwaro Acholi is looking for funds to build a cultural centre which will act as a museum and an archive centre were information about the Acholi people and their cultural practices will be archived.

Other facilities at the cultural centre will include; playground, lodging facilities that will be made out of local materials and a conference hall for rent.

In 2014, UN agency, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) documented at least 20 ceremonies and rituals practiced by the Acholi tribe.

The Speaker Gulu Municipal Council, Peter Okwera Onen welcomed the development and said Acholi culture needs to be promoted. He cited the example of many school children and even Acholi leaders being unable to sing the Acholi anthem.

Cecilia Ajom, the Principal Cultural Officer at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development revealed that government had noted with concern that some of the cultural practices are under threat.

Speaking in Koro in Omoro district last year during a cultural function, Ajom said documentation of cultural practices will go a long way in preserving and protecting some of the dying cultural practices.