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Title: Oral literature and its social background among the Acholi and Lango
Author: p'Bitek Okot, J.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1963
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This thesis is based on literary texts I collected in Acholi and Lango Districts of Uganda between April and October 1962, and those found in the published works of the following authors: J.P. Abe 'Ododo Acholi (Acholi Folk Tales in verse) in Acholi Magazine No. 4 1953. Mr. Abe also lent me his tape recordings of nanga songs; R. S. Anywar, Acholi ki ker Megi 1948; R.M. Bere 'An Outline of Acholi History', Uganda Journal Vol. II No.1, 'Land Tenure among the Acholi' Uganda Journal Vol. 19 No.l; Miss C.B. Cave 'Cardok Acholi' (Acholi Proverbs) in Acholi Magazine No.3 (1952); T.L. Cox 'Lango Proverbs', Uganda Journal Vol. 10; J.H. Driberg The Lango (1923); Rev. H.E. Lees Gang Fables (1930); Rev. Fr. A. Malandra Tekwaro Acholi (1946), 'The Ancestral Shrine of Acholi' Uganda Journal Vol. 7; Rev. Fr. P.A. Negri 'La Tribu niloltica delgi Acioli' La Nigrizia 1932, 1933, 1934. D. Oceng 'Land Tenure among the Acholi' Uganda Journal Vol. 19 No.l L. Okech Tekwaro ki ker Lobo Acholi (1953). D. Ongo 'Buk pa Kwari wa' (The Books of Our Ancestors - songs) Acholi Magazine No. 3.; Rev. Fr. v. Pelligrini Acholi Macon (1949); Rev . Fr. Tarantino 'The Origins of the Lango' Uganda Journal Vo.1. 10, 'Notes on the Lango' Uganda Journal Vol. 13 No. 2. A.C.A. Wright Fifteen Lango Folk Tales (l958), 'Lango Folk Tales - an analysis' Uganda Journal Vol. 24, 'The Supreme Being among the Acholi' Uganda Journal Vol. 7. A select bibliography is appended. The Introduction consists of brief descriptions of Acholi and Lango countries, and the political , social and economic organizations, and the recent history of the two peoples. There is a critical examination of Dr. F. Girling's claim that the Kings of Bunyoro had suzerainty over Acholi. In chapters 2 - 5, I examine Acholi and Lango myths and the historical songs of two Acholi dances: otole and bwala, and the mwoc - praise names , and also Lango Age - Sets songs . An attempt is made to give a sociological explanation for the striking contrast between the Acholi and Lango "in the conspicuous presence in the former and the no less conspicuous absence in the latter, of native history and tradition" (Codrington, R.H . The Melanesians,(l891), p.47). Chapters 6 - 9 consider Acholi Funeral Dirges , the Lango do not have special funeral songs; chants at ancestral spirit shrines in Acholi and Lango; and songs sung at spirit possession dances. Chapter 6 consists of a critical examination of views put forward by other students of Acholi and Lango religous ideas; and a classification of Acholi and Lango spiritual beings . A table of Acholi chiefdom Joks is appended. In Chapters 10 - 12, I consider songs of the Orak dance of the Acholi , Acholi and Lango proverbs and Folk tales as social sanctions and means of inculcating moral ideas. Throughout I have tried to discuss the texts within their proper social contexts, paying attention to the performers and the audience whether in dancing, singing or telling folk tales. Due to shortage of funds (the Acholi District scholarship was terminated in March 1962, and my field work was financed from personal loans and part time jobs) I was unable to do much work among the Lango. For most of the Lango texts I have therefore relied on the available literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Literature (non-English) ; Other languages ; Acholi ; Lango ; proverbs ; song ; dance ; native history