The Karamojong are found in the district of kotido, kaabog Abim and Nakapiriti in the north-Easter part of Uganda .they are part of the Atekerin speaking people of Uganda. The origins of the word karamoja are quite uncertain but a legend from Teso and Karamojong itself asserts that the two names iteso and karamongo were derived during their migrations-within Uganda.in their early migrations the Atekerine are said to have come by way karamoja
Those who remained live today where the Karamojong .the term is said to have been derived from aka rima ajong; “meaning the old en have got tired “because the Karamojong did not manage to proceed as far as the other people of their stock .
The social system of the karamoja was centred around the clan system and they langi and they shared similar cultural elements with langi and iteso
The karamoja would not worship for the sake of it.in time of trouble, sickness or misfortune, the sake of it.in times of trouble, sickness or misfortune, the ancestors grave with all their children and grandchildren and there they would milk the cow, bring out the tobacco and kill an ox .the content of the ox’s stomach were smeared over the people and over the people and over the burial stones chanting as follows, our father help us ,what shall we do , Are our cattle to die ,Are our children to die, we have never disobeyed you oh God hear us give us life
Before a boy could announce his intention to marry, he had to prove to the elders of the village that he was already a man. In early times, when lions and elephants still teemed across the southern
Karamonjo plains, the boy had to set out alone armed only with a spear and hunt and kill single hundred one of the lions or elephants that roamed the plains. The boy would prove the achievement by reporting to the elders at a formal meeting called a BARAZA. He would show the blood on his spear blade and also present the animal’s trail. The remaining problem now would be to find sufficient cattle to pay the bride wealth. Upon proving his manhood, the boy would be given a bull by his father.
Way of devorcing
Normally,if divorce had been agreed upon,the woman would go down on her hands before the husband and he would pour cold water on her back. There after,she cpuld return to her father and the father would repay thr bride wealth.when this had been done,the man would return a bull to the woman’s father.this bull was killed and all the relatives would joinin eating it ,even the former husnand would take part in the eating ,teh womans father would smaear the smear the woman with the dung of the entrails to let those concerned understand that she was there and then free woman.if she had not given birth.she would maintain the dress of a married woman.she could also wear any ornament she liked .a divoerced woman could by customs re-marry.
Children were given the names of their ancestories. In fact to be more exact, the eldest child would get the name of the grandfather; the next would get the grandmother; and third was named after a great aunt or uncle; and so on. This implied in effect that the karimonjo did not have particular names for particular sexes. Children could also be given other names by the midwives who assisted in their births on account of the conditions prevailing during birth. For instance, a child could be named lapero if it was born at night. However, such names were more often than not, tentatively conferred and acceptance or refusal was said to be demonstrated by the child sucking contentedly or crying. If the mother did not have enough milk to feed baby, it would be given be given goat’s milk administered from a small gourd shaped like a feeding bottle.
The karimojong were pastoralists by nature and their love for cattle was intense. Cows were regarded as a means of livehood and for paying bridewealth. Among the karimojong the bridewealth was high and it was paid in cows. Brides were very expensive items. Bridewealth ranged from fifty to one hundred heads of cattle. It was due to this and the custom of spear-blooding; that the karimojong usually resorted to cattle raiding. To most of them spear-blooding was necessary when as the initiate stage and desired to get married.
Karimojongo food consisted of milk and defibrinated blood. It was usually supplemented with meat millet, sorghum and beans. When the cows or goats died they would eat the meat but they would not naturally kill them for food. When they ate meat, they did it thoroughly; the whole carcass save hides, horns and hooves was consumed. The children were usually given milk from the age of six month when breast milk became inadequate.
They would get the blood by bleeding cows. This was done by percing the jugular vein by shooting an arrow at it.The blood would then be collected in calabash. It was stirred with a stick until the fibrin separated from it. It was removed and given t0 dogs during times of plenty but during the dry season, people would cook it and eat it. The bloody liquid which remained was mixed with an equal volume of milk and the mixture was not cooked in any way .It was simply drunk. In the rainy season when there was enough grass for grazing, this kind of meal was taken only once or twice a week. Millet and maize flour tended to predominate among the rest of the dry season food.
Political set up
The karamajong segmentary socient leadership is vestesd in the elder and the plan is the basic unit of political administration.the heads of the different clans constituted the council of elders which is responsible for administering justice,setting disputes,maintaining law and older,and punishing law breakers
When a member of the village dies ,there is unrestrained weeping .if a woman losts a child through any cause, she could often attempt suicide.women are known to keep a special cord in the grain baskets for this purpose.it is unsual for s man in karamoja to attempt suicide but it is common for women even in the event of loss or faillure of crops.Near Latome ,there is a stream called “STREAM OF HANGING “by the banks of this stream .it is said that bodies were costantly found hanging from trees
Photos taken by mandrill African Safaris tour guide
Information written by mandrill african safaris content writter officer
House set up and range distrubtion always 100maway from one house to another
More pictures of karamajong people and dressing cord