Kakungulu & the Creation of Uganda, 1868-1928

Kakungulu & the Creation of Uganda, 1868-1928

Kakungulu & the Creation of Uganda, 1868-1928

Kakungulu & the Creation of Uganda, 1868-1928


The author examines the life of Kakungulu and his role in the creation of the imperial state. Was this man regarded as 'a hero', 'a collaborator', or 'a warlord'? His story reveals the dilemma for a whole generation of East Africans at the turn of the nineteenth century. North America: Ohio U Press; Uganda: Fountain Publishers


This study began in 1963 in a bicycle shed in eastern Uganda, where a local government official showed me a plaque prepared for erection at Budaka by British colonial administrators but rejected by the local people as no longer appropriate. The plaque ran thus:

At this spot in the year 1901 the British flag was first hoisted by Semei Kakunguru, emissary and loyal servant of His Majesty the King. He built here a boma which was for a short time the headquarters of the district. From this beginning came the establishment of peace and the development of orderly progress in this part of Uganda.

These words were then repeated on the plaque in the Luganda language.

'That man', commented the official, 'created the Uganda which we Ugandans are fighting for today.'

I had heard similar claims made on behalf of several white men involved with the area of Africa now called Uganda during the British colonial takeover in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but none on behalf of any black African. I decided to investigate.

In completing my investigations I have amassed a mountain of obligations. Most of these debts are listed in detail in the endnotes attached to each chapter. But here I must thank my wife Margaret for her love and support throughout the whole period of research and composition; Ibrahim Ndaula for facilitating access to the Kakungulu papers; Professors John Hargreaves, Noel King, M.S.M. Kiwanuka, D.A. Low, Shula Marks, Ali Mazrui, W.H. Morris-Jones, Phares Mutibwa, Merrick Posnansky, G.N. Sanderson, G. Shepperson, Bertin Webster, and other colleagues and students at Makerere and London Universities for their stimulation; the British Academy and the Hayter and Central Research Funds of London University for supporting several visits to Rome and Uganda during the 1980s; staff at the Entebbe Secretariat Archives, Church Missionary Society, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the Mill Hill Fathers, Rhodes . . .

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