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Title: Social upheaval and the struggle for community : a study of the Ugandan Madi
Author: Allen, Tim
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1993
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The Madi of Uganda's Moyo District (formerly Madi Sub-District and Madi District) have experienced continuous social upheaval in the 1980s. There is, however, nothing new about upheavals in the Uganda/Sudan border region. It is necessary to appreciate ramifications of these past traumas in order to understand the Madi responses to more recent events. The introductory chapters of this thesis give an idea of the difficulties involved in researching among people living in extreme conditions and also provide general information about the region, stressing its ethnic complexity. Part One then takes the reader back to the late nineteenth century and discusses the effects of colonial rule. It is shown that the population which ended up being classified as Madi was made up of lineages which had formed alliances with Turco-Egyptian forces, and others that had taken refuge from armed raiders. Madi tribal identity was in large part a creation of the Protectorate administration. The connections between Madi cultural forms and government were further reinforced by the effects of sleeping sickness control programmes, and the education provided by Catholic missionaries. It is argued that a legacy of these experiences was that Madi notions of collectivity assumed external regulation, ideally in the form of 'good' government. Part Two overviews the events of the 1980s. It describes how the Madi fled into Sudan because of brutal persecution. In Sudan they lived for several years as refugees, most of them in 'official' settlements. From 1986 the settlements were attacked by armed groups, and the Madis were forced to flee back into Uganda where the National Liberation Movement had come to power. During the late 1980s, various guerrilla factions resisted the NRM in northern Uganda, including the Holy Spirit movement. Numerous raids were launched into Mayo District. There were also incursions from the north by both the SPLA and Sudan Government forces. In the early 1990s the situation remained unstable, and the economy was still largely cut off from the rest of the country. Madis have had to find ways to cope. They have had very little external assistance following repatriation. They have been thrown back on their own devices. Information is provided about coping strategies, and agricultural production is examined in some detail. Part Three deals with the problems that Madis have faced 1n trying to establish viable communities. It comments on local conceptions of moral probity, and explains how Madi perceptions of affliction are connected with ideas relating to social accountabilty. Pressures on the cult of ancestor veneration are described, and the influence of biomedicine, Christianity and of Acholi possession cults is noted. The frequent possessing of women by wild spirits is analysed. Part Three ends with a series of case studies of incidents involving the torturing and killing of witches. It is explained how this could be a form of social healing, and it is suggested that a new kind of participatary democracy introduced by the NRM is enabling the Madis to establish vigilante groups to protect their neighbourhoods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available