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Nov 25, 2005

The Gungu People

Written by Administrator

gungumap.jpgName of language: Lugungu

Name of People Group: Bagungu

Name of Area: Bugungu

Location within country: The Gungu people (Bagungu) live on the northeastern shores of Lake Albert near the Nile, in the bottom of the Great Rift Valley where it is hot and dry. Some Bagungu also live in the hills above the valley. They reside in the Hoima and Masindi districts, in Buliisa, Biiso, and Kigorobya subcounties.

Geography and Climate: Savannah, arid scrubby grassland and tropical forest. Hot dry summer (3 months of no rain), rest of the year low sporadic rainfall, daily temperatures average 27 – 35°C.

Altitude: 650m

Geographic Co-ordinates: 2.2° N 31.4° E

Population: Approximately 49,000

Life Expectancy: 44.9

Cultural Information: Traditionally fishermen and pastoralists, most Bagungu live in mud houses with a grass roof. Owning a large amount of cattle is an indication of wealth. Polygamy is common. Transportation is mainly by bicycle, foot, some minivans and buses/lorries. There are no large towns or hospitals in Bugungu. There are only a few primary schools and one secondary school in the area.

Diet: Cassava, sweet potato, fish, and beans.

Main St Buliisa.jpgMain Street in Buliisa (Gungu, Uganda)

Economic Status: The people are very poor. The Bagungu have been marginalised by the surrounding Runyoro people and very little development has occurred in the area. Health care, sanitation and accessible water are greatly needed.

Alternate language names: Rugungu, Lugungu

Language & Literacy Information:

  • 25% are monolingual
  • Second languages are Runyoro (60%) and English (30%).
  • Adult Literacy rate: 40% (UNESCO 1995)
  • Attitude towards literacy is positive.
  • No books or instructional materials existed in Lugungu prior to the current language work.
  • Although there are schools, the attendance rates are low and literacy is a real need.
  • Literacy in the mother tongue is greatly desired, but literacy workers are needed.
  • Literacy rates among women are much lower than among men.

Religion: Christian, Muslim. Approximately 30% of the Bagungu practice a form of traditional African animism, and an additional 60% claim to be Christians but also practice animism.

big loadIn Uganda they waste no space. (Uganda)
History: Language work began among the Bagungu in 1996. The Bible is available in Runyoro, the neighboring language of wider communication but only the educated can read it. Many years ago missionaries brought the gospel and about five denominations have churches in the area. Unfortunately, less than 5% attend church, and perhaps less than one percent would be considered active, practicing believers. Traditional religion which binds the people in fear is still very real.

The Church of Uganda (Anglican) is active in Bugungu, as are Baptists and Pentecostals. There are also two Roman Catholic parishes. The language used for sermons and hymns in most churches is Runyoro, the dominant language to the south, but few Bagungu understand it well.

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