JOPOL 4(2021)

On Being Acholi in Kampala: Performing the Ugandan ‘Norzern Connection’
Nico Nassenstein

This contribution aims to shed light on the performance of Kampala citizens whose origins lie in Acholiland, Northern Uganda. In quiz nights, ceremonies such as graduation parties, weddings and in bar talk (narratives in local bars), Acholis often construct and perform a specific kind of “Northernness”, pronounced [nɔ:zənəs], when speaking like a Ugandan Northener. This concept can be understood as an ironically employed, colonial-based scheme, which acts to create the Other’s Other; in relation to Central Ugandans and so-called Westerners, i.e. people from Western Uganda. Building on strong accents, warrior images, emblematic t-shirts, Facebook heritage groups, transgressive play and jokes, this contribution looks at an ethnicized urban performance that is very common in contemporary Uganda.

Keywords: Othering, Acholi, coloniality, mimetic performance, alterity