Contested citizenship, religious discrimination and the growth of Nubian identity in Northern Uganda
Nubians are the people who first lived along the Lower Nile Valley near present Aswan High Dam in Egypt, where they developed one of the oldest and greatest civilizations in Africa. Having had a distinguished career as slave captors and soldiers in the Equatoria Province of the Turko-Egyptian Government, Emin Pasha brought them to Uganda from where they spread to Kenya, Tanganyika, and Somalia while serving as soldiers of the British colonial government. Today, Nubian communities are found in all these countries, but in northern Uganda, their citizenship and legitimacy is highly contested, leading to human right’s violation, discrimination, and conflict. This paper discusses the history of the Nubians in northern Uganda with a view to illustrate how contested citizenship and religious discrimination helped to build their ethnic identity and sustain it among people who view them as aliens and relics of European colonialism. I conducted key informants’ interviews, used archival records, and reviewed a host of secondary data to conclude that Nubians in northern Uganda face discrimination on the basis of their history and religion but rather than cry foul, they have used these to forge an identity and defend their citizenship.
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