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Local Intellectuals: Lacito Okech and the Production of Knowledge in Colonial Acholiland

  • Patrick W. Otim


In 1953, Lacito Okech, a precolonial royal messenger, Christian convert, and colonial chief, became the first Acholi to write and publish a history of his people. The book was instantly popular, inspiring many other Acholi to write histories of their respective chiefdoms. However, although these works constitute the bulk of vernacular Acholi histories, scholars have not paid attention to them, partly because of language limitations and partly due to limited scholarly interest in the history of the region. This article uses Okech’s life and book to explore important questions about the production of local history in colonial Acholiland. In particular, it explores Okech’s adroit manipulation of his complex circumstances at the intersection of the roles of messenger, convert, and colonial employee, his dilemmas as a local historian, and the influence of his roles as an intermediary between the Acholi on the one hand and the Church Missionary Society and the colonial regime on the other on his writing of history.

En 1953, Lacito Okech, messager royal avant la colonisation, converti au christianisme et chef pendant la colonisation, devient le premier Acholi à écrire et à publier une histoire de son peuple. Le livre a été immédiatement populaire, inspirant beaucoup d’autres Acholi à écrire les histoires de leurs chefferies respectives. Cependant, bien que ces travaux constituent la plupart des histoires vernaculaires acholi, les chercheurs n’y ont pas prêté attention, en partie à cause de leurs limitations linguistiques mais aussi à cause de leur intérêt limité pour l’histoire de la région. Cet article utilise la vie et le livre d’Okech pour explorer des questions importantes sur la production de l’histoire locale dans l’Acholiland colonial. En particulier, il explore la manipulation habile d’Okech de sa situation complexe à l’intersection des rôles de messager, de converti, et d’employé colonial et analyse ses dilemmes en tant qu’historien local, et l’influence sur son écriture de l’histoire par ses rôles d’intermédiaire entre les Acholi d’une part et la Church Missionary Society et le régime colonial de l’autre.



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Local Intellectuals: Lacito Okech and the Production of Knowledge in Colonial Acholiland

  • Patrick W. Otim


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