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History; Bua Atyeno, The Disciplinarian


He was a male Lango born around 1860 – 1863 in present day sub county of Apala. He was a member of Abwor clan whose father was Okwir Cong. It is believed that Bua Atyeno’s mother was not a Lango but a woman married from the present day Ethur ethnic group, the present Abim district. The Ethur share a lot in common with Abwor clan of Lango and currently Abwor Clan Head in Lango oversee them under Cultural leadership. The two clans are cousins and they share relatives across the borders of Otuke and Abim districts.

Bua Atyeno had two brothers only without a sister, the brothers were; Okullo Onaa and Ocwet. All the family members by then were not baptized, though in his migration westwards to present day Alito sub county, it is believed that Bua Ayteno was enrolled into Christianity by a Lay reader in Alito called Obote Acitacio and was baptized by an Anglican priest Canon Rev. Opito who was stationed in Aboke Parish. Bua Atyeno migrated from the present day Anepmoroto in Orum sub county outside Otuke district Headquarters and moved through Adwari, Apala, Ogur sub counties and settled in present day Alito sub county (Alito had been under Ogur sub-county, later Alito which included the present Aromo sub county was carved out of Ogur).

His work life and experience: Bua Atyeno was a humble man, with a lot of respect and he was to a certain extent a quiet man. He used to meditate a lot to himself which gave him a lot of wisdom. He was a man of peace, who wanted an environment of peace to prevail to all under and around him above all he also loved children though, by the time of his death his ancient Lango attire was terrifying to children and no child could withstand the sight of him in his typical Lango attire which was a hallmark to his name.

He could not tolerate to a cry of a child, while with a mother, especially male children, that woman would receive punishment of a stern rebuke. He was a disciplinarian at all levels without mercy bordering the Mosaic law of ‘an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth’, for that he was both loved and feared by clan mates a like. He applied this rule religiously in the case of killing a clan mate, this was because the society was still primitive, but he had already worked with the British. The name ‘Atyeno’ is not a heroic name but some different explanations are assigned to it as follows; a) It is believed that the name was adopted because his mother went to labour in the evening and he was given birth in the late evening b) He carries all his activities late in the evenings when there is no suspect of any happenings in case of punitive actions to be admonished. He used to carry single handedly punishments to his subjects late in the evenings when it involved killing in order to bring the situation to rest and peace c) Whenever, he was destined to set for a journey, he would not take it during the day but wait until late evening and then he sets off. This action also earn him the name ‘Atyeno’. Bua Atyeno was a Defacto leader of Abwor clan around 1895 up to late 1950s. he used to visit all his subjects wherever they were, keeping the family line in mind during his visits. He would visit the current districts where his clan mate are, starting from; Olilim, Orum, Omoro, Adwari, Apala, Ogur, Alito, Aboke, Iceme and he would end his clan visits in Ngai sub county. He made all these journeys on foot. The migration of members of Abwor clan from Anepmoroto went through the named sub county and ended in Ngai and one of the elders who led them was Anyima Kokorom. Anyima Kokorom left some of his clan mates as follows while on his way to Ngai; in Aboke, he left Alele the father of Pilipo Oder (the family of the modern day, first Awitong of Abwor (Late Supreme Court Justice H.A.O Oder), in Apala he left Opio etc. He used to cordially coordinate his work as a clan leader with other leaders of other clans such as Owiny Akullo, Odyek Owidi etc. According to his surviving son, in whose compound he was buried, Bua Atyeno worked in Kampala as an asikari in the Colonial court in the 1940s. thereafter he returned to Lango and continued to work in Lira in the Central Native Court (CNC) under the Colonial District Commissioner. He was also assigned to inspect ‘Dero Kec’ (granary stores) meant to keep food grains and seeds in case of famine in the sub counties, e.g., of Apala, Chawente. Bua Atyeno had twin babies who died at infancy and had another boy named Ogweno. This was when he was in Alito, Apala parish. He died at an advanced aged of about 100 years on 12th/December/1968, by then he was weak and blind but yet loved by all. He was buried in Bar Ongin, Ayala Parish, Alito sub county, in the home of his nephew Mr. Dayali Moses.

Typical Lango Attire – Bua Atyenos’ Wear Bua Atyeno loved to wear Lango traditional attire he never adopted the Whiteman’s fashion, he continued to wear Lango traditional attire till his death in 1968 (see caption of his photo). It consisted of: a) Tanned goat’s skin for a dress. He used to tie it around his waste to cover his ‘manhood’ b) The head gear for a hat which is also made of goats skin c) Neck bracelets d) Several armlets worn above the elbow and on the wrists – both sides e) Ankle gingles, which always made sounds to announce his approaching – both sides f) Sandles made out of hides g) Short handle stubbing spear with ling blades long pointed sharp ‘roko’ h) A shield for protection, which was also made out of hides This attire gave Bua Atyeno the uniqueness in the whole of Lango, since he alone wore it.


By: Tom Allan Opii – Ocen



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