Kakwa people

Last updated

Total population
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Uganda.svg  Uganda 246,000
Flag of South Sudan.svg  South Sudan 134,000
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  DR Congo 42,000
Kakwa, English
Significant minority:
Sunni Islam and Animism
Related ethnic groups
Other Karo people
The geographic distribution of the Kakwa people (approx.). Kakwa people Uganda DRC South Sudan.png
The geographic distribution of the Kakwa people (approx.).

The Kakwa people are a Nilotic ethnic group and part of the Karo people found in north-western Uganda, south-western South Sudan, and north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly to the west of the White Nile river. [1] [2]


Demography [3] [4]

The Kakwa people are a small minority but a part of the larger Karo people, an intermarried group that also includes the Bari, Pojulu, Mundari, Kuku, Ngepo, and Nyangwara. Their language, Kutuk na Kakwa, is an Eastern Nilotic language. [5]

The major cities of the Kakwa people are the city of Yei and Morobo County (South Sudan), Koboko District (Uganda), and Imgbokolo and Aba (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The Kakwa people sometimes refer to themselves as "Kakwa Salia Musala", translated directly as "Kakwa three country's" a phrase they commonly use to denote their 'oneness' in spite of being politically dispersed among three countries. [6]

History [3]

According to the Kakwa oral tradition, they migrated out of East Africa (Nubian region) from the city of Kawa in between the third and fourth cataracts of the Nile. First into South Sudan, and from there southwards into Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. [1] Some of the Kakwa who bordered Uganda, converted to Islam, accepting the Maliki school of Sunni theology in the medieval era. They were annexed into the Equatoria region claimed by the Egyptian Islamic ruler Khedive Ismail (Isma'ili Pasha) by his descendant Tewfik Pasha in 1889. As the British colonial empire [7] expanded into East Africa and Egypt, the region with Kakwa people became a part of the Uganda Protectorate. [1]

General Idi Amin was born in Kakwa ethnic group. Idi Amin -Archives New Zealand AAWV 23583, KIRK1, 5(B), R23930288.jpg
General Idi Amin was born in Kakwa ethnic group.

The Kakwa people rose to international prominence when General Idi Amin, [8] of Kakwa ancestry, assumed power in Uganda through a military coup. [9] He filled important military and civil positions in his administration with his ethnic group, [9] [10] [ self-published source ] [11] [6] and Nubians. [12] He arrested and killed officials from other ethnic groups such as the Acholi and Lango people, whom he doubted. [1] Idi Amin also supplied arms and financed the Sudanese Kakwa people in the first civil war of Sudan. [13] The Kakwa officials in Idi Amin regime were later accused of many humanitarian crimes. After Amin was deposed in 1979, many Kakwa people were killed in revenge killings, causing others to leave the area and fled to Sudan. [1] However, they have now returned to their native areas in the West Nile region of northern Uganda. [14]

Ethnic violence

Dinka men with spears, necklaces and bracelets Dinka-man med spjut, halsband och armband. Kodok. Sydsudan - SMVK - 000493.tif
Dinka men with spears, necklaces and bracelets

For most of the South Sudanese Civil War, the fighting was focused in the Greater Upper Nile region. After the clashes in Juba in 2016, the fighting largely shifted to the previously safe haven of Equatoria, where the bulk of SPLM-IO forces went for shelter. [16] Accounts point to both sides targeting civilians on ethnic lines between the Dinka and the dozens of ethnic groups among the Equatorian who are historically in conflict with the Dinka, such as the Karo, who include the Bari. [17] Witnesses report Dinka soldiers threatening villagers that they will kill all Kakwa people for their alleged support to Machar and killing Pojulu people while sparing those who they find can speak Dinka. [18] A UN investigation said rape was being used a tool of ethnic cleansing [19] and Adama Dieng, the U.N.'s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, warned of genocide after visiting areas of fighting in Yei. [20]


[3] The traditional Kakwa livelihood has been based on cultivating corn, millet, cassava, fishing and cattle. The traditional villages of Kakwa are linked by their lineage, with males forming councils of elders. Polygyny is accepted and practiced, while Christian and Islamic traditions form part of the Kakwa people’s [cultural value systems and living style]. [1]

Countries where Kakwa are located

Cultural food consumed by the Kakwa people

See also.



Kanyara secondary school.


Related Research Articles

The Nilotic peoples are people indigenous to the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages. They inhabit South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, the eastern border area of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. Among these are the Burun-speaking peoples, Teso people also known as Iteso or people of Teso, Karo peoples, Luo peoples, Ateker peoples, Kalenjin peoples, Karamojong people also known as the Karamojong or Karimojong, Datooga, Dinka, Nuer, Atwot, Lotuko, and the Maa-speaking peoples.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Equatoria</span> Region in South Sudan

Equatoria is the southernmost region of South Sudan, along the upper reaches of the White Nile and the border between South Sudan and Uganda. Juba, the national capital and the largest city in South Sudan, is located in Equatoria. Originally a province of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, it also contained most of northern parts of present-day Uganda, including Lake Albert and West Nile. It was an idealistic effort to create a model state in the interior of Africa that never consisted of more than a handful of adventurers and soldiers in isolated outposts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Equatoria</span> State of South Sudan

Central Equatoria is a state in South Sudan. With an area of 43,033 square kilometres (16,615 sq mi), it is the smallest of the original South Sudanese states. Its previous name was Bahr al-Jabal, named after a tributary of the White Nile that flows through the state. It was renamed Central Equatoria in the first Interim Legislative Assembly on 1 April 2005 under the government of Southern Sudan. Central Equatoria seceded from Sudan as part of the Republic of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. The state's capital, Juba, is also the national capital of South Sudan. On October 2, 2015, the state was splited into three states: Jubek, Terekeka, and Yei River. The state of Central Equatoria was re-established by a peace agreement signed on 22 February 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mundari people</span> Ethnic group of South Sudan

The Mundari are a small ethnic group of South Sudan. They are a part of the Karo people, one of the Karo ethnic Group

Kaya is a city in Central Equatoria, South Sudan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anyanya</span> South Sudanese separatist rebel army

The Anyanya were a southern Sudanese separatist rebel army formed during the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972). A separate movement that rose during the Second Sudanese Civil War were, in turn, called Anyanya II. Anyanya means "snake venom" in the Ma'di language.

Yambio is a city in South Sudan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keliko people</span> Ethnic group

The Keliko or Kaliko are an ethnic group in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with immigrants in Uganda. Most members of the Keliko are Christians. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they are called kaliko umi, more especially from Laibo, Mado, awubha awuzi and so on. There is a slight pronousation between Kaliko people in South Sudan and those in the DRC.

Bari is the Nilotic language of the Karo people, spoken over large areas of Central Equatoria state in South Sudan, across the northwest corner of Uganda, and into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Aringa are a Central Sudanic ethnic group primarily residing in the rural areas of Yumbe District, located in the northwestern corner of Uganda. They are also found in other regions of the West Nile sub-region. The Aringa people are considered the indigenous inhabitants of their lands, which were later settled by a group known as the "Nubians." Their language, also called Aringa, belongs to the Central Sudanic language family. According to the 2014 Census of Uganda the Aringa numbered 494,626 people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pojulu people</span> Tribe of the White Nile Valley

The Pojulu is a tribe of the savanna lands in the White Nile Valley, in the Equatoria region of South Sudan. They are Nilotic people and part of the Karo people — which also includes Bari, Mundari, Kakwa, Kuku, Nyangwara, and the Karo Tribes Of Omo Valley in Ethiopia such as the Banna, Hamer, Mursi, Kara, Dassanech, Arbore, Nyangatom known as the Omo Karo peoples.

The Karo is a group of Eastern Nilotic tribes that straddles the Nile in South Sudan and is predominately found in Central Equatoria, and as far South as Uganda and South-West as Democratic Republic of the Congo. Karo comprises Yangwara, Bari, Pojulu, Kuku, Mundari and Kakwa. They have been erroneously called Bari-speakers by C. G. Seligman, a British ethnologist, whose first contact with Karo was likely with the Bari during British colonial rule in Sudan. Seligman categorised the six ethnic groups as "Bari Speakers" for research purposes as he did so for "Dinka Speakers, Nuer Speakers, Lou Speakers, Moru Speakers and the Azande Speakers". These other groups however, have not adopted the categorization coined by G. Seligman for ethnic identification. It is only the "Bari Speakers" who are erroneously defined as speakers of Bari language.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Demographics of South Sudan</span>

South Sudan is home to around 60 indigenous ethnic groups and 80 linguistic partitions among a 2021 population of around 11 million. Historically, most ethnic groups were lacking in formal Western political institutions, with land held by the community and elders acting as problem solvers and adjudicators. Today, most ethnic groups still embrace a cattle culture in which livestock is the main measure of wealth and used for bride wealth.

Clement Wani Konga is a Mundari leader who fought in the Anyanya independence movement in the south of Sudan in 1969−72. He then joined the army of Sudan and rose to the rank of major general. In 2004 he made peace with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and was appointed interim governor of Central Equatoria in South Sudan. In August 2015 he was dismissed from his post by president Salva Kiir Mayardit. He continued to be active as chairperson of the Mundari Community.

Ethnic violence in South Sudan has a long history among South Sudan's varied ethnic groups. South Sudan has 64 tribes with the largest being the Dinka, who constitute about 35% of the population and predominate in government. The second largest are the Nuers. Conflict is often aggravated among nomadic groups over the issue of cattle and grazing land and is part of the wider Sudanese nomadic conflicts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Morobo County</span> County in Central Equatoria, South Sudan

Morobo is one of the six counties in Central Equatoria state, South Sudan. Morobo County borders Uganda and Congo. The county is mainly occupied by Kakwa speaking people, Keliko and Lugbara. The people in Morobo are local farmers working for food. Morobo is part of the green belt and also acts as a breadbasket for Yei and Juba.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yei River State</span> State of South Sudan from 2015 to 2020

Yei River State was a state in South Sudan that existed from 2 October 2015 to 22 February 2020, when it became a part of the state of Central Equatoria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yei River County</span> County in Central Equatoria, South Sudan

Yei River County is an administrative area in Central Equatoria with a large population of people who settled in that particular county.

Operation Thunderbolt was the codename for a military offensive by the South Sudanese SPLA rebel group and its allies during the Second Sudanese Civil War. The operation aimed at conquering several towns in Western and Central Equatoria, most importantly Yei, which served as strongholds for the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and helped the Sudanese government to supply its allies, the Ugandan insurgents of the WNBF and UNRF (II) based in Zaire. These pro-Sudanese forces were defeated and driven from Zaire by the SPLA and its allies, namely Uganda and the AFDL, in the course of the First Congo War, thus allowing the SPLA to launch Operation Thunderbolt from the Zairian side of the border. Covertly supported by expeditionary forces from Uganda, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, the SPLA's offensive was a major success, with several SAF garrison towns falling to the South Sudanese rebels in a matter of days. Yei was encircled and put under siege on 11 March 1997. At the same time, a large group of WNBF fighters as well as SAF, FAZ, and ex-Rwandan Armed Forces soldiers was trying to escape from Zaire to Yei. The column was ambushed and destroyed by the SPLA, allowing it to capture Yei shortly afterward. Following this victory, the South Sudanese rebels continued their offensive until late April, capturing several other towns in Equatoria and preparing further anti-government campaigns.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emmanuel Adil Anthony</span> South Sudanese politician

Emmanuel Adil Anthony is a South Sudanese politician and the governor of Central Equatoria State since June 29th, 2020.


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