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Ugandan Independence Day Celebration

Ugandan Independence Day is Monday, October 9, 2023. It was on that date in 1962

that Uganda got its independence from the United Kingdom and elected Milton Obote

as their first Prime Minister.

Two children sitting down on pews an knitting

The west became aware of the territory that would become known as Uganda in 1875.

The official Eurocentric narrative is that it was “discovered” by the explorer Henry

Stanley. Kind of hard to discover a place that is already inhabited though. By 1888 the

government of Britain gave authority over the territory to the East Africa Company. In

1890 the territory was given the name Uganda and became, officially, a British

protectorate. To our way of thinking today it is absolutely appalling that a European

nation would control another territory like that, but I cannot deny that American history is

also full of the same history with our handling of our indigenous populations.

The reason Europeans were interested in the area is that Uganda is rich in natural

resources, but is particularly known as the pearl of Africa because they produce a lot of

the worlds most natural gemstone, the beautiful and valued pearl. Other exports that

were a key part of the economy in the twentieth century were tea, coffee, and cotton.

Europeans were interested in exploiting the resources for commerce.

muliple people getting ready to hand out flyers to the community
Wopi Boston hosted Christmas day 2022 Ugandan event

Uganda remained under British control until the mid twentieth century. After the Second

World War empires around Europe began breaking up. This sparked protests, both

urban and rural, in Uganda agitating for political change. It took a little time but, by the

fifties, Britain allowed Africans to sit on the legislative council, which was a first step

toward representative government by the people who were being governed.

Incrementally, changes were made and progressed toward establishing a nation that

would function independent of Great Britain. By the time the sixties rolled around, that is

when everything changed.

In 1961, a general election was held, and a year later, in 1962 a sovereign state called

Uganda was born. There have been some trials with independence. And some of the

leaders have had their challenges. In 1995 there was a new constitution enacted. This,

while purportedly a document promoting freedom and restoring most traditional kings,

but only with a say over cultural matters. This constitution was greeted with skepticism

and turned out to not have been a document to guarantee human rights to the citizenry.

In 2005 Ugandans decided to return to multiparty politics after years of political


two children smiling and posing for the camera with WOPI Boston tshirts

Despite a challenging history of colonialism, which can be very destructive to a nation’s

identity, and the challenges of becoming a self governing nation, Uganda has great

pride in its cultures and does celebrate its Independence Day as a symbol of their

identity and heritage. Celebrations involve parades and performances as well as native

food and drink. There are performances that reflect the country’s vibrant and interesting

history with indigenous costumes and great pride.

By Julie Morse

We at WOPI want to remind you of our partnership with the Aliguma Foundation! If you would want to help us fund our efforts with helping children and family's obtain food, repairing houses and roads, and recreational sports for the children within Uganda...

Head to our FUND US tab!

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