Acholi: Cultural Resource Bibliography


Anywar, Reuben S. Acoli ki Ker Meggi. Nairobi: Eagle Press, 1954.

  • A historical account of some of the major precolonial chiefdoms of Acholiland. Anywar provides insight into Acholi history and culture, as well as into the ways in which Acholi intellectuals conceived of their identities in the colonial period.

Ocitti, J.B. Lacan ma Kwo pe Kinyero. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau, 1960.

  • Deriving its title from a proverb that praises the perseverance of the impoverished, Ocitti’s novel tells the story of a young man from a poor family in rural Acholiland who is caught between his strict father and the cruelties of the British colonial regime.

Ocitti, J.B. Acam Toona. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau, 1970.

  • Acam Toona, or “I eat my death,” is a fictional account of the social dysfunction wrought by colonialism and capitalism on Acholi society, with the story focusing on the protagonist’s struggle with alcoholism.

P’Bitek, Okot. Lak Tar. Nairobi: Eagle Press, 1953.

  • Okot p’Bitek is perhaps northern Uganda’s most celebrated literary luminary, best known for his epic poems Wer pa Lawino and Wer pa Ocol. In his novel Lak Tar, or “White Teeth,” p’Bitek satirizes the injustices of the colonial period through the story of Okeca Ladwong, a young man who is forced to travel to Kampala in search of work in order to earn the money to pay his fiancee’s bride price.

P’Bitek, Okot. Wer pa Lawino. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1966.

  • Wer pa Lawino, or “Song of Lawino,” is the lament of an Acholi woman deeply concerned by the changes that colonial rule and Westernization are wreaking on her life and on Acholi society as a whole. It is P’Bitek’s most famous work and considered a classic of African literature.


  • An excellent website for Acholi learners. Among the resources available are podcasts, lists of proverbs, songs and stories, all in the Acholi language.

“Signature TV Filmz” @ YouTube (

  • This YouTube channel contains a huge number of videos dealing with the Acholi language and culture and day-to-day life in northern Uganda, as well as music videos by some of northern Uganda’s most popular musicians, such as Lucky Bosmic Otim.

“Luo Champions” @ YouTube (

  • American and Nigerian movies dubbed into Acholi by Luo Champions are ubiquitous in markets and bus parks in north-central Uganda. But be warned–the speed of the dialogue is enough to make a novice learner’s head spin.


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