Over Ugx 4 Billion Needed to Beautify Heritage Sites in Lango Top story

4711 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
The sites include Barlonyo Memorial, Got Ibuje-Tyen Olum, Kungu also known as the Jubilee site and Got Otuke among others, which carry years of history for the northern Uganda sub region.

Lango Cultural Foundation also known as Tekwaro Lango is searching for 4 billion Shillings to construct and beautify heritage sites in the region. The plan is in line with resolutions made by the Lango Conference four years ago.

Dr Richard Nam, the Prime Minister Tekwaro Lango says several cultural sites have been identified for construction and renovation across the region.  The sites include Barlonyo Memorial, Got Ibuje-"Tyen Olum", Kungu also known as the Jubilee site and Got Otuke among others, which carry years of history for the northern Uganda sub region.

One of the selected sites, Barlonyo Memorial, is the scene of the worst atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA rebels during their two decade fight. Over 300 civilians lost their lives and over 500 children were abducted by the rebel outfit in 2004.

A mass grave, a monument erected in honor of the dead, and a vocational technical school currently stand on the site which, according to Dr Nam, is a living testimony of LRA's brutality in northern Uganda.  The site attracts more than 10, 000 visitors annually.

Dr Nam is optimistic that once beautified and turned into a tourism heritage site, Barlonyo Memorial can become a key source of revenue for the cultural institution.
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Got Olum, a hill located in Ibuje Sub County in Apac district is another heritage site that was identified as a key area that needs re-development. The site bears visibly notable human footprints believed to belong to Olum, known in writings as the father of Labongo and Gipiir and regarded as by the Lango as the first man on earth.

Also listed is Kangai, a site in Dokolo district, considered the area where the famous King Kabalega of Bunyoro and King Mwanga of Buganda got arrested for resisting colonial rule. Dr Nam explains that the site is historical and brings together several people from South, West and the Northern Uganda and the European world to memorize their imperialistic endeavors.

Another great heritage site in Lango is Kungu in Apac district which is recognized as the initial point where the Christian Missionaries entered Lango sub region. It is this point that the Lango believed that Kungu marks the beginning of transformation, commencement of education, western religion along with the coming of colonial rule in the region.
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Key sites will also be developed in honor of great personalities from Lango who have shaped the history of Uganda, East Africa and Africa in general. They include John Akii Bua, the first Ugandan Olympic gold medalist, Field Marshal Okello who is known to have led the Zanzibar revolution ousting the Arabs with only his club and former Ugandan president Apollo Milton Obote.

Dr Nam says part of the money would be used to construct a Hall of Fame in honor of the gallant sons and daughters of Lango.

Former Oyam District Speaker Benson Dila says this plan is long overdue adding that such heritage sites should be taken up by government for the promotion of Uganda's tourism sector.
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Dila notes that government does not give adequate support to cultural institutions in the country, and that such plans should be treated as a priority to enable Lango cultural institution generate revenue.
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Yokoyayiro Apita, an elder from Lira town scornfully notes that government had abandoned such historical and cultural sites in Lango to lie in ruins. He argues that all these historical sites have far-fetching impact in the history of Uganda and the world. Apita observes an urgent need for preserving and protecting the sites.


About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.