Focusing on the period 1894 to 1995 and drawing on both written and oral sources, this article explores the origin, ethnic identity and settlement of the Nubians since their advent in Uganda. Ugandan Nubians abandoned some aspects of their former African traditional customs and adopted new ones borrowed from the Arabic culture, constituting a unique and distinct ethnic group. Using a historical research design and adopting a qualitative approach, the article articulates the fluidity and formation of the Nubian ethnic identity on one hand, and the strategies that the Nubians have used to define and sustain themselves as a distinct ethnic group in Uganda. The article therefore suggests that the question of the Nubian identity in Uganda, through tracing their origin, ethnic identity and settlement since their advent, goes beyond the primordial understanding of ethnicity that tags ancestral location or settlement pattern, language, family history to a particular group claiming itself ethnic.
Key words: Ethnicity, Nubians, Nubis, origin, identity, settlement.
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