Ngikatap is what the Napore in Karamoja are commonly known as. It means poor people who feed on cereals. The name makes these people feel undermined and segregated by fellow Ugandans
Promoting minority groups
By Andrew Masinde
Ngikatap is what the Napore in Karamoja are commonly known as. It means poor people who feed on cereals. The name makes these people feel undermined and segregated by fellow Ugandans. Most minority groups in Uganda are nicknamed, making them feel undervalued. Sometimes, they are not represented politically.
Some have even been evacuated from their homes of residence that include forests, caves and many other places. Today, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, with the theme, “Promoting our norms and values:
A tool for national identity and patriotism.” In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The day provides an opportunity to deepen understanding of the values of cultural diversity and for people to learn to live together better.
Emily Drani the executive director Cross- Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU), says as Uganda celebrates this day, there is need to recognise the diversity of Uganda’s minority groups and that they need to have access to their secret places because this is part of their identity. “Most of these people have their places of worship in the forests but they have been displaced, so they have no access to them
How do you expect them to worship? As CCFU, we are working tirelessly to see that policy-makers form laws that recognise these peoples’ presence and their rights,” she explains.
She says CCFU is mandated to promote the cultural rights of these minority people by recognising their rights in the communities. “In Uganda there are about 65 cultural groups and of these 21 are small ethnic groups, with fewer than 25, 000 people, according to the latest available census figures.
They collectively represent more than 1% of the national population or more than 200, 000 citizens. There are also nine other minority groups with up to 100, 000 people each,” she explains.
She says as an organisation they are focusing on these small groups because they want them to be restored and also see them exercise and enjoy their cultural rights. “Whether minority or unknown, they have a right to express their identity.
With the many meetings we have had with these groups, all they demand for is affirmative action and it is what we are focussing on,” she adds. She also says these groups are denied access to places that are either secret or of cultural significance and if their identity is to be seen, then this right should be looked into. “Some have places of worship and survival in the forest, but if you deny them access to these places, then how can they survive, this is violating their identity,” she stresses. “CCFU is one out of three INTO members in Uganda.
CCFU is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the recognition of culture as vital for human development that responds to Uganda’s national identity and diversity,” she explains.. She adds that since its inception in 2006, the foundation has been involved in various programmes that aim at promoting positive aspects of culture in development
. In 2009, CCFU became a member of INTO and has since benefited from being part of this global heritage movement – learning and sharing experiences with individuals and organisations that share a common passion for preserving and promoting tangible and intangible heritage.
World day for cultural diversity