The importance of well researched and well written books can not be overestimated. One such book is “The Iteso”, by J.C.D. Lawrance for Eria Paulo Engulu, M.B.E., Chief Judge of Teso in the 1950s and his people.
Since I got to learn of and to acquire “The Iteso” (photocopy of the full book), I feel blessed in terms of having a valid and a strong connection with my ancestry and my roots from whence I am descended.
The book is a great reference point for me in all aspects. For example, in the 1950s when the book was written, the Iteso were the second largest first nation of Uganda. We are now the fifth largest. Whatever happened?
Also, in the 1950s, Iteso, my people, were described as “a wealthy and progressive community.” We are now arguable among the least wealthy, economically and materially; and perhaps, the least progressive community, judging by the manner in which we are allowing the ethnocide of our culture. Whatever happened?
“The Iteso”, by the way, articulates changes among Iteso and in Teso over a 50-year period. Here is a review of the book that I largely agree with.
When I am called upon to advise and to contribute to how those seeking to practice our culture, it is from this book that I seek wisdom. One such instance is when I am asked or would like to know the appropriate Teso practice for welcoming a new born child into a family and into a clan, including naming ceremonies.
Yes, I recently became ija (aunt) again and needed to check the appropriate gifts to give. I now know and I am going to gift accordingly. Unfortunately, not all of the traditional gifts will I be able to gift, in which case I will have to improvise and this itself will be fun!