By: David Martin Aliker
Marcus Garvey a Jamaican-born Black Nationalist and leader of the Pan-Africanism Movement once said, “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” In an effort to connect with their history, origin and culture; Ker Kwaro Acoli and the Acoli people intend to build on the success of Acoli Cultural Festival 2017.
The three-day event conducted on December 14-16, 2017 brought together various groups from all corners of Acoli to showcase various aspects of their heritage.
It was a colorful display of music, dance, drama, cuisine, dress, tools and artifacts. The Acoli people will host its second edition of the Acoli cultural festival from December 13th to 15th, 2018.
The theme of ACF 2018 is: “Promoting Acoli heritage for greater productivity” This is a simple, straight but loaded theme.
It hoovers around using heritage to increase output per unit effort of the Acoli people, thus deriving greater dividends from Acoli human effort, skills and knowledge, physical and spiritual attributes, overall taking advantage of “who we are”, “What we have” and “what we do”.
But what is going to be different in ACF 2018 as compared to last years’ ACF 2017?
First and foremost, there is a change in the leadership structure of the Central Organizing Committee (C.O.C). In this years’ ACF 2018 Senior Citizen and Rotarian (PP) Charles Odora Oryem is the Chairman Organizing Committee. The Prime Minister remains the overall Chairman of the Cultural Festival.
The position of Festival Director has also been introduced to guide and coordinate the different events that will be taking place in the 3 days event to ensure quality.
The Program Manager of CEED Benard Loum (Work Horse) has been chosen to serve in this role. Most of you will remember his tireless hard work and attention to detail in last years successful event.
Secondly, a Corporate Affairs Committee (C.A.C) function has also been introduced in this years ACF 2018 organization. The role of this committee is to sell the brand of ACF and mobilize resources and coordinate with other industries and corporate companies.
The Managing Director of Uganda Breweries Mark Ochitti has volunteered his expertise to ensure we have the required resources to make ACF 2018 a success.
Thirdly Authenticity, in last years’ festival many groups improvised from using jerricans as warrior shields to clothes designed as animal skin costumes. This was not in tandem with promoting our culture.
While we expect more exhibitions with a clear demarcation of zones for foods, dances and crafts; the only groups that will perform are those with the right regalia that Acoli use and not improvised options.
Last but not least, ACF 2018 will have Awards to Acoli people who have excelled in the area of this years theme.
An Awards committee has been put in place to identify what to award and eventually who to award for their excellence in special recognition for outstanding performance as an Acoli. This was an idea that was mooted last year but was not possible because of time constraint and resources.
Finally in promoting Acoli contemporary music industry, the Acoli Music Show now takes place at Kaunda Grounds at a defined location that permits those who want to enjoy it as they sip their beers, spirits and local gin within the background of barbeques to give the day a great sense of life and fun.
Unlike last year, it will be free and not be hosted in Pece Stadium. The tentative location identified is the football field behind Gulu Senior Secondary School