Edeke – god of calamity is Christian God in Ateso

Papa, it is fascinating how the modern day Christian God is referred to in Ateso as Edeke. This is because, before Christianity arrived in Teso, among the Iteso, Edeke was reportedly originally the god of calamity, who was dreaded and when things went wrong, it was the norm that Edeke was propitiated.

“If sickness fell on a family, if rinderpest killed the cattle or drought withered the crops, Edeke was angry and must be propitiated.”

J. C. D. Lawrance in his book “The Iteso”

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So, I wonder, papa, when Iteso Christians worship the Christian God as Edeke, do they have a different connation for the Christian God that they now call Edeke, different from the original Edeke?

Papa, do they think of Edeke as the God of love, for example, as opposed to the original Edeke, the god of calamity who needs appeasing?

Papa, do they think of the Christian God as the almighty who will quiet and reign in the restless spirits of Iteso ancestors without there being the need to propitiate the Iteso Edeke original? Do they really?

You see, papa, in the past, among Iteso rituals to appease the spirits of our ancestors, included offerings such as:

“Food and beer are often placed near the graves of dead relatives. The offerings and celebrations at the memorial ceremonies (asuban) are designed to keep on good terms with the spirit of the deceased, which in some manner might cause harm… The spirit of important men may last for many months or years and must be propitiated at several memorial ceremonies.”

J. C. D. Lawrance in his book “The Iteso”

Due especially to Christianity, papa, it has become the norm in Teso to do one asuban for the deceased; and moreover done in such a manner that exogenous Christian rituals dominate.

Papa, I think that time is neigh for us Iteso to better reconnect with our roots.

You, papa, Ejakait Engineer George William Obityo Owaraga, Chief of the Ikaribwok Isekelio Clan of the Iteso and King George of Entebbe, rested on the early morning of 1st November 2020, nearly only five months ago.

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As your daughter and also your cultural mother, I who is named Alinga after your late mother Joyce Mary Alinga, I am wondering, papa, about your asuban(s). Papa, for I aspire to keep on good terms with your spirit and to keep your legacy alive.

2 responses to “Edeke – god of calamity is Christian God in Ateso”

  1. I completely agree with you, until we Africanize our way of life, Our God shall always be dominated by fights with the “Christian God” lacking time to serve us. I share your pensive proclamations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is quite strange to hear the fact that Edeke is a god of calamity. I grew up knowing that edeke is God the creator….and no one has ever explained to me the fact…and i believe 90% people don’t know the real meaning or hidden meaning of Edeke up to date.
    We really need to emphasize on learning ateso deeply.


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