LET'S SAVE THE FUTURE: Acholi Traditional Reburial Ritual
On September 21st, 2014, the world celebrated International Peace Day under the theme “the Right of Peoples to Peace”. In northern Uganda, a region emerging from over two decades of brutal civil conflict between the Lords Resistance Army and the Government of Uganda, there is relative peace, but real peace and justice remains elusive for many.
At the height of the war, an estimated 2.8 million civilians were displaced into over 250 squalid and ill-protected internally displaced person (IDP) camps stretching across the Acholi, Lango, Teso and West Nile sub-regions. Several thousands of civilians lost their lives in horrific, brutal and un-natural ways and the majority remain buried in the place to which they had been displaced. One such instance was a horrific massacre committed in Lukodi by the Lords Resistance Army on 19th May 2004.
With the return to peace, the survivors have gradually returned to their ancestral homes and believe the people buried in the camps too need to return home with a decent re-burial, as was the practice before the camp life.
Early last year the Survivors of the Lukodi massacre, through their Association Lukodi Massacre Survivors Association, approached Ker Kwaro Acholi (Acholi Traditional Institution) and the Justice & Reconciliation Project (a non-governmental organization working with war affected communities), and requested support for the exhumation of the remains of their departed loved ones for decent re-burials, so that their souls can attain everlasting peace.
The exhumation and reburial event took place at Lukodi, Bungatira Sub-county, Aswa County in Gulu district on the 20th August 2013 supported by Traditional leaders, Justice and Reconciliation Project, and Refugee Law Project.
Refugee Law Project's National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC) documented the exhumations and reburials and now brings you a documentary “Lets Save the Future: Acholi Traditional Reburial Ritual” to showcase the traditional peace building practice of the Acholi and how such local resources are being used to confront the multitude of post-conflict transitional justice challenges in northern Uganda.