African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 184

Full Length Research Paper

Cultural astronomy in Uganda from the perspectives of the Acholi, Banyankole, Iteso and Lugbara

Bosco Oruru
  • Bosco Oruru
  • Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
  • Google Scholar
Harriet Najjemba
  • Harriet Najjemba
  • Institute of Open Distance and eLearning, College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University, Uganda.
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Caroline Joyce Atim
  • Caroline Joyce Atim
  • Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Management, Makerere University Business School, Uganda.
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Ronald Nteziyaremye
  • Ronald Nteziyaremye
  • Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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Merciline Nayibinga
  • Merciline Nayibinga
  • Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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  •  Received: 27 July 2021
  •  Published: 31 July 2021

Abstract

Cultural astronomy in Uganda has been explored a second time considering another set of four ethnic groups, giving a wide range of perspectives in the subject and setting a baseline for exploring cultural astronomy in other African countries. Qualitative data have been collected using interviews and questionnaire survey, conducted with mutual consent of the respondents. Both purposive sampling and snow-ball sampling of respondents are employed to give opportunity only to those people having relevant information. A sample size of 80 members of each ethnic group is considered, and only those members aged 40 years and above have been approached for responses. Most natural phenomena involving celestial objects are considered mysterious, yet ethnic groups have attempted to explain them in their own ways; an eclipse is interpreted as the fight between the sun and moon as they cross each other’s paths; the moon’s appearance and disappearance on a monthly basis are taken as rehearsal steps towards weather changes; certain stars, clusters and constellations are believed to influence human activities; the moon is an enigmatic object which is thought to have activities on it similar to those on earth; and so forth. Some phenomena are thought to be caused by the actions of the gods. The results show that cultural astronomy is a prerequisite for modern astronomy in most African countries where astronomy education is just starting to take shape. It is prayed that telescope observations and scientific presentations will reach the ethnic communities one day upon acquiring some telescopes.

 

Key words: Astronomy, celestial, culture, galaxies, myths, peculiar, rainbow, Uganda, universe.