Nebbi, Uganda | URN | The King of Alur Kingdom His Majesty Olarker Phillip Raunii III has ordered cultural chiefs to restore ancient fireplaces which were traditionally used as meeting points for dialogue and conflict resolution.
In a three-page dossier, the King expressed concern over the erosion of cultural values and norms which is negatively affecting the level of loyalty Alur subjects have for cultural and royal matters. He attributes the lack of respect for cultural leaders and deviation from cultural matters to modernity.
He says that the revival of ancient fireplaces arise from the recognition of a general loss of good values and ethics, especially among the young generation. According to King Olarker Phillip Raunii III, this will play a pivotal role in harnessing positive cultural resources including norms, traditions, principles, practices and voices in development.
“Our youth are no more and our cultural leaders are just looking on. What has gone wrong? I’m directing you to revive all those fireplaces and youth mentorship sessions in each chiefdom for passing on our values of hard work, respect and communal work,” the document reads.
The Alur Kingdom has 6.8 million subjects from 56 clans. About 800,000 of the subjects are based in the Ugandan districts of Pakwach, Nebbi and Zombo, while six million subjects are spread across the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Omirambe Maractho, the minister of culture in the Alur Kingdom says the traditional fireplaces were used to hold dialogues between and among families and cultural leaders on matters of development and transfer of moral values from one generation to another. He however, says such practices have been eroded over time.
He says the Kingdom is deeply concerned over the infiltration of modernity into traditional values which has driven especially the youth to adopt ways which are compromising most traditional values among others; respect, traditional foods, dress code, communal work, love and unity, honesty and truth-telling.
“We are moving to secondary schools to scale up some of our programs and we are also reaching out to out of school young people with a view of restoring the lost love for culture, and we shall achieve it,” he said.
Vincent Ochaya Orach, the Alur Kingdom Prime Minister says the Kingdom is also engaging the youth in co-curricular activities such as football in which Alur cultural values are propagated to the young generation. He says Alur subjects need to appreciate cultural values.
However, 57-year-old Yofes Olwor, an Alur subject in Nebbi district blames the problem on modernity and the demise of the elderly Alur people who were supposed to be the front runners at keeping and propagating these values. He says cultural leaders should step up their visibility in a bid to restore sanity.
Meanwhile, Charles Ombidi III, the traditional chief of Panyimur Kwonga in Pakwach district welcomed the idea but said much as fireplaces have been confined to rural areas, much of the Alur households are entangled in modernity with less time given to cultural matters.