I feel a powerful connection with the now famous Benin bronzes

Among my favourite events last year, was learning of the existence of the Benin bronzes in museums and art collections in Europe. It confirmed that our black African ancestors were a civilized people. And it significantly debunked the rhetoric of the “uncivilized black African who needed or needs civilizing by the white European.”

Of course, I was thrilled to read that some of the looted artifacts are being returned home to our motherland.

Another of my favourite events last year was the Kara-tunga Tours Ateker Caravan, “an annual cross-border trip among the Ateker Cluster of communities (Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia).” Whereas, I did not physically participate in last year’s caravan, I followed it on social media and it was exhilarating for me to see the videos and pictures; and to read the updates on the caravan.

Photo taken December 2022 at one of the activities that were part of the Ateker Caravan @ Loupa, Karamoja Cultural Association and Kara-tunga Tours

Watching the videos and seeing the pictures from the Ateker Caravan 2022, I was hit with the pleasant realisation that, to date, some of our Ateker people still wear neck beads or rings or jewelry resembling that of the Benin bronzes. It is for this reason that I now feel a powerful connection with the Benin bronzes; as well as with the people of Nigeria, from whence the Benin bronzes originate.

After all, I am of the Ateker people of East Africa. I am Atesot, a female of the Iteso people of Uganda, believed descended and migrated from Ethiopia. I believe there is learning for us, Ateker people of East Africa, from the people of Nigeria and West Africa as a whole; and vice versa.

Yes, I have already reached out to Loupa Pius Da of Karamoja Cultural Association and I have indicated my interest in physically participating in the 2023 caravan. I want to learn more about my ancestry and ancestors, Ateker people of East Africa; and the connections we have with the people of Nigeria and West Africa as a whole.

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