By Christopher Nyeko
GULU: The Acholi Paramount Chief Rwot David Onen Acana II has rallied the natives of Acholi to embrace their culture.
Acana made the appeal recently during the commissioning of Muyembe restaurant at Bomah Hotel Gulu city.
According to Acana, the Acholi natives who have abandoned the cultural norms and resorted to other people’s culture are being imitative.
He pointed out that Gulu City has many hotels and restaurants but only a few of them have considered putting aspects of culture and tourism which has been the major tourist attraction.
Acana also condemned what he termed as adulteration of foods in some of the food mart and hotel facilities both locally and internationally.
“I therefore summon all the rich Acholi to engage in positive competition and promote our culture at all levels,” he said.
Muyembe restaurant at Bomah hotel Gulu city is the new extension of the old Muyembe restaurant constructed in the shape of Acholi traditional hut.
Where Acholi local dishes such as Malakwang, Lakoto koto, boo, dek Ngor ki moo Yaa are served and many of the Acholi cooking utensils are kept for tourism as a means of preserving acholi cultural heritage.
While commissioning this cultural home, Rwot praised Hon. minister Hillary Onek Obaloger minister for relief disaster preparedness and refugees who doubled as the area member of parliament for Palabek county for his initiative in promoting Acholi culture.
“Onek has remained so loving, courageous and practitioner of the Acholi rich culture, he put this structure to benefit all of us. We can now point at this as a sign of our heritage preservation” Rwot said.
In his recollection Rwot further said, Acholi people are the architects when it comes to constructing their huts using grass thatched and mud compared to many other Luo communities.
So if all the Acholi are promoting this fashionable traditional hut in their hotel which is being the most loved structure by tourism, our people would have been raised from poverty as many travelers may come to Acholi for a tour.
Hillary Onek however revealed his plan to change his hotel into a therapy home for fighting stress and relieving people.
”I want to make Bomah look like the home of the elderly Acholi woman that is why I have decided to put this pagoda structure made of only grass, clay and woods instead of using modern tile which is not user friendly,” he said.
Now that we have constructed the cultural home, we are planning to develop the local menu which will consist mainly with favorite Acholi dishes such as Mlakwang, Lakotokoto, Kiyoke(Ajabu) Boo, Kwon Kal Moo Yaa which are now on the international menu.
“If our professional chefs cannot make it, we are going to hire elderly women to cook it for our customers, our Acholi traditional foods are being loved at home and globally for its nutritional values,” he revealed.
Irene Adakun the general manager told UGReports that Bomah hotel has been the most loved hotel in Gulu city because of the natural environment such as indigenous tree species, local birds and foods.
Bomah hotel located in Eden road plot 8 Laroo Pece division Gulu city offers services like foods and beverages accommodation, conference facilities, outside catering, garden for recreation and function, health club facilities, Sauna and steam bath, swimming pool, gym, Wi-Fi internet access and tour services.
Alfred Okwonya the Gulu city Mayor said Gulu city has been popularized as Agro industrial city, but the plan to turn it into a tourism and cultural city is under way.
Following wider consultation through our elderly people, Acholi are found indigenous people who love art.
The city has many cultural sites like Gulugulu where the name of the city originated from, Wigot, the home of the Rwot Acana, Gulu cathedral, graveyard where Capt. Tanner who fought the Lamogi people and was killed during Lamogi rebellion in 1915 by Lamogi was buried and the route to fort Patioko,
Other sites include the home of the poet Okot P’ Bitek, Gulu High school where prominent leader like the late Apollo Milton Obote studied, home of Judith Ayaa the female Acholi and Ugandan common wealth medalist who won in 1970 Gulu city is the home of the Patiko people who hosted sir Samuel Baker who later fought to end salve trade in Acholi, during the slave trade the routs passes from Gulu city to Ajulu hill.
According to Okwonga all these historical sites deserve Gulu city to be a city of culture and tourism beside its diverse Agro industrial status.
Recently former ambassador Dr. Olara Otunu proposed that many roads in Gulu city must be renamed and the names of many brilliant Acholi sons and daughters be named after them,
Otunu proposed name like Eronayo wilson Oryem who was the first Acholi to serve at the rank inspector general of police but later he was killed by president Idi Amin, Geoffrey Oryema the son to the late IGP Wilson Oryem he was the popular international musicians whose their legacies are unforgettable, roads must be name after them.
He cited when you go to the United Kingdom all the street names have the historical attachment but in Gulu city roads are being named after renown highway robbers.
As the method to promote Acholi culture the Ker Kwaro Acholi has annually organized for the cultural gala where subjects showcase their talent in different diverse Acholi enriched culture such as dances, songs, religion, education, socialism security, agriculture, home management.
For this year the event will take place on December 15 to 17th in Gulu city after it was paused for 2 years due to corona.