“Bukedi – literally ‘the land of the naked people.'”Joan Vincent quoted by Dr. Ben Jones in his book: “Beyond the state in rural Uganda.”
“Eeeh!,” was my reaction when I read how my homeland got its name. I immediately asked myself, “how come I did not know this?” So, I went on a Google search to find more context on how the name of my homeland came into being. What is the history of the name Bukedi?
I am a borne of Pallisa District, which together with the districts of Busia, Tororo, Butaleja, Kibuku, Budaka and Butebo, form Bukedi Sub-Region (the red strip on the map of Uganda here below).
Taking it for granted that that Bukedi came about from the domestication of naked, perhaps as our English colonisers referred to our unclothed ancestors, I Google-searched for confirmatory sources. Not so, because, apparently, Bukedi is not derived from an English word.
Bukedi, is a Luganda word, according to Janet Lewis, in her book: “How insurgency begins: rebel group formation in Uganda and beyond;” and moreover it is a disparaging Luganda word, according to Philip Briggs and Andrew Roberts in their book: “Uganda.” Interesting, I think.
And yes, it is feasible that Bukedi is a Luganda word. This is because our homeland was at some point colonized by the Baganda, under the reign of the famous or notorious Semei Kakugulu, a Muganda, who was a mecernary or a warrior or a statesman, depending on if you were the English colonialists, a Muganda or the colonized.
Needing to confirm, I have made phone calls to people, including Baganda, that I thought should and would confirm that Bukedi is a Luganda word or term that means “the land of naked people.” And, so far, they too are in my boat, so to speak, they did not know that “Bukedi” was a Luganda word and of that meaning.
Sunset in Pallisa
I will continue to investigate and I will revert back to up-date this post, if and when I find out more.