Lugbara People

The Lugbara people are the Sudanic people who occupy areas of west Nile region as well as the neighboring country-the Democratic Republic of Congo but are part of the languages of East Sudan of the Kerich, Madi, Lugbara and the Avukaya.

They mainly speak Lugbara language (a Central Sudanic language) not very different from the one spoken by the Madi with whom they share a number of similar cultural practices and are said to have migrated from an area known as Rajaf within Juba region or Baar in Bari.

Therefore, these people are also found within South Sudan where they are referred as the “Mundu” and other names, thought to have inhabited Laloyi and Baar region. They occupy the West Nile region of Uganda in districts of Yumbe, Arua, Koboko and Maracha and categorized into a number of dialects that include Vurra, Ayivu, Aringa and Maracha but other tribes like Kakwa and Madi are related to the Lugbara in dialect.

The Lugbara were initially known as the Madi but due to the intrusion of the Arab Slaves from Khartoum in the middle and end of the 19th Century, the word “Lugbara” was created. These people have strange but interesting beliefs, for instance they believe that God created the World locally referred as “Meme” and the womb of Meme was filled with all living things of the World then one day a gazelle burst the stomach of Meme with its hoof thus making all the creature in the World to come out but man was the last thing to come out of the Womb.

Not only that, the legend also points that the first humans were actually super humans known as “Gboro-Gboro” and Meme who gave birth to twins-O’duu (a girl) and Arube (a boy) but Meme later died after siring the mentioned twins. When they grew up, the twins got married to one another and gave birth to a number of children who later multiplied through generations resulting to different clans-Jokodra, Mutalem, Lebenyere and Telebye.

The cultural symbol of the Lugbara is the “leopard” and are the predominant keepers of guinea fowls in Uganda. They are settled subsistence farmers with cassava being their traditional staple food much as they also cultivate different root crops, sweet potatoes, millet, pigeon maize (mainly used for brewing beer), peas, legumes, simsim (sesame) and sorghum. Before cassava became their staple food, they used to manage hunger and famine when the cereals like millet and sorghum failed due to drought in the 1960s, these cereals used to be their staple food while cattle, goats and chicken are reared.

When it comes to marriage, members of the same clan are not allowed to get married to each other and marriage is conducted by transfer of bride price (inform of cattle) from the groom’s family to the Bride’s close patrilineal kin. These people also believe in sorcerers ad witches that are considered strong. In most cases, witchcraft is connected to the lineage system as that system has weakened in the late 20th century thus beliefs in sorcery have been strengthened.