Ghosts of Kanungu

Fertility, Secrecy & Exchange in the Great Lakes of East Africa

Richard Vokes

Shortlisted for the Herskovits Award, this book throws light on secrecy and violence in Uganda, Rwanda and the Great Lakes area of East Africa.
Date Published :
October 2013
Publisher :
Boydell and Brewer
Series :
African Anthropology
Illustration :
18 black and white, 9 line drawing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781847010728
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.25 inches
Stock Status : In stock


On 17 March 2000 several hundred members of a charismatic Christian sect, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God (MRTC), burnt to death in the group's headquarters in the Southwest Ugandan village of Kanungu. Days later the Ugandan police discovered a series of mass graves containing over 400 bodies on various other properties belonging to the sect. Was this mass suicide or mass murder? Based on eight years of historical and ethnographic research, Ghosts of Kanungu provides a comprehensive and scholarly account of the MRTC and of the events leading up to the inferno. It argues that none of these events can be understood without reference to a broader social history of Southwestern Uganda during the twentieth century, in which anti-colonial movements, Catholic White Fathers missionaries, colonial relocation schemes, the breakdown of the Ugandan state, post-war reconstruction, the onset of HIV/AIDS, and the transformation of the regional Nyabingi fertility cult into a Marian church with worldwide connections, all played their part. RICHARD VOKES is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Adelaide, Australia Uganda: Fountain Publishers (PB)


Prologue: The End as a BeginningIntroductionOn Fertility & MisfortuneThe Many Lives of the Nyabingi SpiritGenesis: Building the NetworkNumbers: Religion in the Time of AIDSChronicles: The History of an African-Initiated ChurchRevelation: The Last Days of the MRTCEpilogueAppendix: Marian Literature Used by the MRTC

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