The Karamojong people



I am writing this down because I have interacted with the Karamojong people and appreciated their uniqueness and richness in the culture as a way of life as a people. The Karimajong are believed to have migrated from as far as Ethiopia and get their name from the words Ekar Ngimojong meaning “got tired and stopped.” The people who continued walking are known as the Itesots. So it’s common knowledge that the Karamojong people and the Itesots are related. They put on Asuka. This is largely because of their nature as pastoralists and the Asuka can easily provide warmth in areas where it cold while grazing.

These people stay in Eastern Uganda in the districts of Kotido, Kaabong, Amudat, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Moroto and Abim. They are pastoralists and value their cattle so much. They stay in homesteads known as Manyatta which consists mostly relatives. Sorghum is their main staple food and a house without sorghum and cattle is not respected. Sorghum is used in making their favorite local brew called “Ekweete”.

The love for cows is exemplified in many ways; the karamojong used to ask for bride price as big as 100 cows and they also greet in the name of cows as a sign of respect. The men will also move many miles away to the green belts of Kapchorwa and beyond and leave their families behind to find pasture for the cattle. The most interesting part is that a young bull (Emong) is identified and a bell (Ekadong) put in its neck (that bull cannot be slaughtered for food, cannot be killed, stolen, or asked as bride price) to mark it as a treasured bull. If anyone raids on it, it will be followed wherever it’s taken no matter the distance and brought back. Stealing the bull with the Ekadong is equal to waging a war against a family.

Women don’t own cows in the karamojong culture but are given lactating cows to provide milk for the young children. The women own the land and spend most of their time cultivating it as they are responsible for feeding the family.

The Karamojong love animals and while they love (d) hunting, they had designated hunting areas to protect some animals from extinction. They have different traditional instruments they use in their homes that include;

  • Spears; these are used for hunting, fighting and protecting the home.
  • Ebur (Food flask); made of wood and animal skin. It’s used to keep food especially dried meat. They can keep it for over a year.
  • Etuo; this is a calabash used to keep milk
  • Adere; this is a calabash well shaped and used as a plate to eat food.
  • Ngitoroi; Tired on the men’s legs while dancing. Dances amongst the Karamojong include the Edonga dance.
  • Ebela; this a walking stick and is mostly used by the elders.

The Karamojong have different ethnic groups of people that included the Ethur (mostly found in Abim district), the Dodoth (found in Kaabong and are a result of intermarriages with the SouthSudanese), the Bokora (found in Napak), the Mathenike (found in Moroto), the Ik (found in Kaabong), the Upe (found in Amudat), the Pian (found in Nakapiriripirit), and the Tepeth (found in Moroto). The Ik and the Teleth live in mountains.

The Karamojong people value marriage and have a very beautiful traditional marriage ceremony called “Ekiitan”. Initially in the past, the father used to identify a bride for the son from a family they like most however things have changed. Today when a karamojong young man identifies a woman to marry, he will inform his parents who will write to the parents of the girl. Thereafter a day will be set where the parents of the boy visit the parents of the girl and negotiate bride price. And while in the past over 100 cows were asked as bride price, today due to poverty and other reasons, the number of animals depend on the negotiations between the two families.

In most cases relatives contribute to the bride price because they look at the wife as a wife to the clan and not for the individual.

Adultery isn’t accepted as you could even be killed. And if a woman was divorced, she would return the bride price paid for her and take all her children with her. This has changed however as the constitutional court of the republic of Uganda ruled against the refund of bride price.

Karamoja is full of many attractions including Mt. morungore (Home to the Ik) where you can have a panoramic view of Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan, Mount Moroto (Home to the Tepeth). Here you can see cattle graze at as high as 2500m above sea level. There is also a volcanic mountain called Mount Kadam which is the 2nd highest and lies partly in the Upe wildlife reserve. The Karamoja region is one of the best destinations for cultural tourism as you will find very entertaining dances from the karamojong warriors and visit the smallest indigenous tribe in Uganda, the Ik people. There are known for their unique huts that go as far as 2metres under the ground and are also famous for bee keeping. You will be treated to a whole different way of constructing houses with the Manyattas (Homesteads with huts facing each other) that will give you a roller-coaster experience.

Karamoja region is also blessed with Kidepo National park with a variety of wildlife including Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, and is the only home to Cheetahs for the domestic tourists who may want to see a cheetah roaming the wild and charging at lightning speed to catch its prey! What next?? Go and visit Karamoja!

Story written by: Pius Muhamya

Photography: Pius Muhamya

The War We should all Hate

​I remember being in the house that night. My Ex had visited and we had had very bad sex I must emphasize. All of a sudden a sound of gunshots that were being fired from a distance woke us up amidst ringing noises of neighbors that could easily tell we were under siege. We ran for our lives!

As we ran through the plantations and bushes to save our lives at least for another minute, bullets rained and from a distance you would see the terror looks of rebels on army trucks each driving in zig-zag to find the right target! The fear accrued from that single sight of rebels would mean you would easily breathe your last albeit accidentally if you envisioned a soldier coming close even when no gunshot was fired.
There was fear, trembling, hopelessness as the wild became dark and the sight of dead bodies became unbearable and torture in itself. I and my friend decided to get a place to hide and a few minutes before we made a decision, a rebel must have seen a standing man in our radius and right away started to fire bullets in our direction at a nonstop rate. We quickly took cover (who doesn’t know this cover thing here in Uganda associated with soldiers in war) on the ground. I could hear and even see bullets passing an inch above my head.  When the bullet sounds fell silent, we ran to an abandoned mud house some of our friends refusing the suggestion and only opting to help close us from outside with a nail lock so that no one suspects they are people inside.  How wrong we were!

With extreme darkness covering the room at the time we entered, we thought we were only two people. However as we would later learn there was a boy who had hid close to a hole; you know those “holes” in mud houses (a son or daughter of a minister won’t know what am talking about) and as the worst lack would have it, we were called in the rudest ways to come out of our hiding. It was coming to morning now but I had not blinked throughout the night.

Out we moved, three of us, and worst of all I had a panga and one of them noticed. I swear I still can’t remember where that panga came from. Why does he have a panga? He exclaimed, does he want to kill us? Trembling with fear and shaking my head horizontally as though attacked by a ghost, I said I didn’t know about the panga. They then led us to a line where they were registering everyone who had been captured; they would take away all you had (phones, bags, money etcetera) and give you a big stick like “Kiboko” and then send you to join the bigger group.

By the look of things now, they had set up a camp at a place that was formerly a school; chairs, desks and blackboards being sighted. As we jazzed with acquaintances few hours after our capture at the rebel camp, a mean looking soldier came to us and asked why we were discussing and even threatened to drink someone’s blood if we continued to do so (he had a bucket and sword in his hands). The big headed thing in me asked why and that’s when hell broke loose for me! I was dragged to the ground and pulled on my knees like 50metres away and before I could blink, a bucket was on my neck and a sword in my neck. That was within a second! A damn second! I remember I said, “God receive my soul”.

Now this fool had dug a few centimeters inside my neck. He asked, “do you now know why Tumbavu?” I first fell silent and acted as though dead. He then asked again but now with more rage. I responded with a faint voice, “Yes Sir! “And I apologized.  He pulled the sword out of me and I hurriedly touched my wound (a hole) to stop bleeding. I remember I added some soil. Damn!

We slowly walked away with my friends insisting to go and have a sight of what the other rebels were up to. I had my friend Rogers who always insisted. If you know how T.I behaved himself in movie #ROOTS5. They peeped and with luck came back alive. The news was we were in a valley and the rebels had deployed all artillery on the whole upper side of the hill to smash any possible enemy. You would clearly see mambas, tanks and high level machine guns.

Our shelter is in a class now and we are so many people and all of young people. They did not mix young with old people and I still don’t know why. My two new friends (a girl and a boy) were crying profusely. I reached out to them and told them to stop crying. They wouldn’t stop! It’s now that told I them how I was actually in a worse situation having greeted death with the right hand and escaping with the left hand. I still had a fresh wound, still bleeding, and with few hopes of healing soon. I told them to think of the grief of their mothers who couldn’t even see them (their children) or even be sure that their children were still alive. They sobbed for a few minutes.
In the middle of the night we moved out to see what was happening and to our astonishment saw our friend Josh with a gun. I still don’t know why it had to be you Josh! And he was not willing to help or even show sympathy let alone allow us to get close to him. There were people with in the camp that they were planning to rush to exile. For a moment I wondered where our mighty UPDF that had kept peace beyond the boundaries of our country was. I asked a lot of questions (inwardly of course) and sometimes broke down because of what had befallen us, a blood war!

No one amongst the rebels wants to listen or even give a damn whether you die in the next minute I tell you. To them it doesn’t even matter how you die; bullet, hunger, suicide, sword, disease??? I mean no rebel in this world cares about human life not even a government soldier especially when the war is tense. In the morning, people would be flogged, beaten, girls raped, I still don’t know why but every day it happened. That morning, a group of people were brought to the camp amongst them two whites. Of course you wouldn’t talk to any even when you knew them, would you? Any person talking to another or suspected to have talked to another for a little while would be suspected, accused and in a matter of minutes convicted for planning a rebellion or escape. Each crime attracted death. Did you hear that right? And the warnings (indiscriminate killings daily) being enough, you wouldn’t want to risk.

The group of people were taken into a tunnel (call it cave “Empuku”) in the inside of the hill and if am to report they are alive, that would be the biggest call it greatest optimistic stunt Mother Nature has ever seen. I really hope they survived but I never saw them AGAIN, I only saw the soldiers that took them to the tunnel. As the clouds turned dark and hopelessness ensued, something happened that would bring a quick sincere hearty smile that at least took over my life for a minute. A new people were being brought to the camp and far away on top of a cliff, I saw my mother. It was a complete spectacle!

All the life in the wild from the day the bullets rained and I ran out of my house to protect my life at least for one more minute, I had not seen my sisters, my brother, my father, my cousins or even any relative. It had been the darkest time of my life. For a moment, and indeed many times during that tragedy, a lesson was learnt: “whether in government, in opposition or in none, there is one thing that we should never wish for or allow to happen, a war or a military coup”. I realized that there is a WAR WE SHOULD ALL HATE, a MILTARY COUP. Fellow youth, all Ugandans don’t be like a young monkey that wishes to see a forest that has caught fire because it wants to see what it looks like. This is our country and in all disagreements and at all times when we feel we are tired, let’s look at that one percent chance to solve our conflicts peacefully.


Ugandan Citizen and Photographer at Marine Photography.

The Revolution of Wireless Internet in Bars, Hotels and Restaurants

I have been impressed recently by the growing number of Hotels, Bars and restaurants that have invested in Wireless Internet. I can clearly say this has diversified the hospitality and hotel business in Uganda with a touch of Technology whose impact on growth of the sector and the Ugandan economy at large can’t be underestimated.

Last week I was in Mbarara and I was particularly struck that all the Bars, restaurants and Hotels that I visited provided free WiFi to their customers . With the increasing need and use of the internet in the country and world, this has given a competitive edge to those that have that incentive. First and foremost, its easy for customers to identify with such places and also market them through customer kind of marketing. This is killing two birds with one stone. Customers loyalty especially among the young people that identify too much or are either too addicted to the internet find these places both perfect and convinient to hangout. You will indeed be astonished to learn the number of people flock these places just to access the internet and catch up with friends and what is happening in the world.

That of course shows how it has been a big plus especially to clients. Information sharing has been made so easy with WiFi and existence of high speed internet only adds a good taste to an already existing range of apps available for usage particularly in Uganda.

If a survey was to run now, you will find out that almost half of the population in Urban areas owns a smartphone in Uganda. If your guess is as good as mine, it was only inevitable for Bars, restaurants and hotels to introduce free internet access in a bid to pull customers to their side. And at this rate if you find WiFi at a #washingbay you shouldn’t be surprised as this is the way to go.

With increase in the number of Telecom companies providing cheap internet, it also becomes easy to finance such an investment. However there are organised that are still stuck in the wild (either seeing the Internet as an enemy to their businesses or completely unnecessary). I remember a friend of mine who used to make a stop at Cafe Ark before reporting at work to finish online assignments because they was no such fast internet at her workplace. This informs why organisations should find this a lucrative venture to aid their workers complete assignments on time and efficiently, respond to emails timely, grow their careers by taking on online courses and collaborate easily in a fast changing world. I have seen many Journalists collaborate on whatsapp, at Hima Cement Ltd almost all departments have whatsapp group for easy collaboration on work related activities. Therefore employers should start looking at the internet and across range of apps as friends and not enemies to their business and therefore empower their employee to use such tools to improve their productivity.  Someone may ask, what are the lessons other businesses can learn from the various investments in this Venture (Wireless Internet)? I have exemplified that in a few lines above. Its simple! Embrace Technology.

Well in this information dominated age; in a Society where information capture, sharing and retrieval have become an essential part of our lives all these aided by the Internet, what are we doing to make it easily accessible, affordable and fast?

I invite my friend Mr. Muzaphal Kimbugwe and Willaps Uganda Ltd to write a full blog and answer that question? You will be making good money if you consider providing an enabling environment answering the above questions.

#Technology #WirelessInternet #Business #Trends #Uganda



Nature Photography, my Love!

I  have always loved nature and everyday i want to learn something knew about it. Sunday was another day i wanted to listen to myself and the beautiful scenery surrounding me gave a perfect opportunity to meditate and rethink my life goals and strategies to achieve them. I was not selfish. I took a few shots that you might  love; they speak life, hope, love and beauty. They speak a language of calmness, one that heals, one that gives life to a hopelessly dying souls. I preach peace and gentleness as you enjoy them.

#MubukuRiver #Nature #Photography #Environment #Sunset #Waterfalls


Lying is a bad effort. A wasted effort! An effort that can only yield temporary pleasure but has capacity to cause undesirable and irreversible unpleasant effects.


This will probably be my least read post, but oh well.

“If you love her / him, lie to her / him. The truth will hurt her / him.”

“I lied to protect you.”

“You don’t need to know the truth.”

Whatever happened to the good old “the truth will set you free”. I do not understand why people convince themselves into believing that telling lies will save them from one situation or other. In telling lies, what starts off as a simple altercation will escalate very quickly into a really sticky and / or hairy situation. Lies do nothing but drag you deeper into a web that you may never be able to get out of or an irredeemable situation. Or if you do, you may need the help of a Horcrux, a Titan’s might and the intervention of a Scandinavian god. I believe that lying is tedious  work…

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When will Farmers in Ruyonza embrace Modern Farming?

From the time i was a toddler, i have learnt that people in my birth place Ruyonza survive almost entirely on agriculture. I have now grown as a man, read a lot about modern farming techniques, farm management, market analysis and so on. What still troubles me however is, are my own people ready for the changes happening to farming and agriculture in our country and in Africa. The challenges we face are new ranging from infertile/over-exhausted land fields, lack of information on markets, producing wrong crops and quantities for available markets, outdated farm management practices, lack of associations (formerly cooperatives) that bring farmers together and boost their bargaining potential, impassable roads that make transportation of farm produce to markets difficult, inequality in technology usage and innovations to mention but a few.

Using  an example of  my birthplace (Ruyonza), farmers still grow mostly what they can eat or trade locally, the way they’ve always grown it. It will be Maize, beans, ground nuts, Cassava, sweet potatoes as usual in the March/July season and then Millet, Maize, beans and sorghum in the September/January season. Shocking?? This has  never changed.

There are new crops and animal breeds running like fire in the Ugandan markets for example passion fruits, poultry, bee keeping, Fish farming, Improved Zero grazing; all these have eroded  a place i call home. Commercialized agriculture is only picking up with coffee being one  of the crops giving good money to the poor Ugandans living in Ruyonza Ibanda District. There is  a big gap in access to information on markets in that at a point a farmer doesn’t know how much of their produce the market needs and what they are going to be paid for their produce on the market.

Imagine a small scale farmer who can discover easily that Cassava and carrots are expected to fetch a high price this year. He/she can also contact fellow small scale farmers to grow the same crops at different times of the year while employing modern farming techniques (like Irrigation and use of  fertilizers) and supply in bulk consistently to a customer who needs supply of Cassava and carrots all year round. And if they are assured of sale at harvest, they will do whatever it takes to maximize their yields. If government could also organize agricultural improvement talks and demonstrations at least quarterly at all sub counties, it could be easy for farmers to know what crop varieties to grow in the available soils without making losses in crops that fail to mature as desired because they were grown on wrong soils.

When information is made accessible to everyone and can flow easily the cost of doing business in agriculture reduces as well as the cost of managing risks involved with agriculture. So, how  is Pius contributing to Technology usage and commercialization of agriculture in Ruyonza? I am glad am taking part this  year with Fish farming and Piggery in March, start with 2 Saanen goats (If you can get me the goats contact me) as understudy . I am also reading about passion fruit growing and I am weighing in the prospect of adding #passionfruits to my many projects I am running this year. And as a graduate of Information Technology, I am not planning to leave #Tech out of the farming equation; always using my phone to consult, open up discussions on improving agricultural yields, learning new ways of farming, attending online seminars, streaming to educating and insightful videos that talk agriculture and organizing #Agricultural seminars at my sub-county and task district agricultural and environment officers to educate  people on Agriculture and changing trends. I remain your truly Ruyonzan Pius Muhamya.









Nature and its beauty is always around us

Have you ever?

Have you ever posed and breathed relentlessly in awe of the wonderful things God put around us? This happens to me often. I am a candid admirer of nature and its surroundings; its through this that i get a piece of mind. Many times my heart, body, mind and soul is lost to the outrageous beautiful images and sights of nature that i can’t hear even the loudest of sounds.

Have you ever?

Have you ever sacrificed an evening of your life just to make a walk as you appreciate what is around us? The beautiful bird species and their thrilling sounds beautifully made to unlock the most hidden mysteries in you, the tall and short standing trees that make you wonder the kind of jewelry they wear and the kind of Vaseline they smear; the different insects swinging around the bushes and the glittering butterflies moving in a zigzag as they joke around and play; the miracle of the streams of water that burst from the earth to form the amazing wells, springs, lakes, rivers and oceans which all give humanity meaning.

Have you ever?

Have you ever picked your camera (never mind if its a phone camera) to just capture the beauty of nature that is around you? The ever changing cloud colors, the healing view of the sunrise and sunset, the sparkling gaze of lightning, the vibrant sights of wildlife in Ugandan national parks, and the garden-fresh crops that grace Uganda and feed her through their incarnation each season.

During Christmas Holiday like i have done always every time i get a chance took some of these photos that will live in my memory for a longtime. Enjoy the magical gaze of nature crafted in Ruyonza Village Ibanda District a place where my story begins!

The Warthog #Wildlife Sensitisation Talk

Tomorrow is the day our feet, soul and spirit will grace the land of Ruyonza to honor and show solidarity to many courageous men and woman who have suffered a scare of #Jackals for the last three and a half weeks without giving up. For me its an opportunity to en-kindle belief and hope among the many people in our community to commit to pursuing their dreams without fear of the beautiful beasts of the Wild.

Today on the last day before we welcome Ruyonza Youth Education Initiative (RYEI) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to take us through the #wildlife sensitization, i take the opportunity to talk about an animal that has been my funniest since i started visiting the National parks of #Uganda: “The #Warthog”.

  • Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are nonetheless remarkable animals. They are found in most of East African countries. I have seen them in Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National parks and just gazing at the run with their tails straight-up was captivating.  They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling.

    Physical Characteristics
    Males weigh 10 to 22 kilograms more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).

    The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog’s large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge.

    Sparse bristles cover the warthog’s body, although longer bristles form a mane from the top of the head down the spine to the middle of the back. The skin is gray or black (or yellowish or reddish, if the warthog has been wallowing in mud). The long tail ends with a tuft of bristles.. As the young run in single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. Warthogs trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.

    when water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy places. As part of their grooming they also take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let tick birds pick insects off their bodies. Warthogs live in family groups of a female and her young. Sometimes another female will join the group. Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate. Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody.

    Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals

    The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.

    Funny bits

  • It’s interesting that before giving birth to a new litter, the female chases away the litter she has been raising and secludes herself. These juveniles may join up with another solitary female for a short time before they go on their own.
  • The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag
  • Female warthogs only have four teats, so litter sizes usually are confined to four young. Each piglet has its “own” teat and suckles exclusively from it.
  • Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat. Although the young are suckled for about 4 months, after 2 months they get most of their nourishment from grazing.
  • The warthog has poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but its senses of smell and hearing are good.

Lions and leopards are the warthog’s chief enemies. Warthogs protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack.

This marks the closure of the #Online #Countdown to the #Wildlife Sensitization Talk. I thank everyone who has contributed his/her efforts to ensure we reach this far. And i want to assure you of a successful event tomorrow. To all Ugandans out there, have respect for animals and work together with the necessary authorities to ensure they are protected and conserved.



#RYEI #Wildlife