Growing Up Sexually



ACHOLI (Uganda)


Index Africa Uganda Acholi


Featured: Ik, Gisu, Acholi, Sebei, Bahima/Bahuma [Hima, Bahuma Bajoro], Bachiga, Lango, Nkole, Ganda, Kiziba, Lugbara, Jie, Iteso, Bwamba, Baamba, So, Guang


Among the Acholi (Gulu district, Uganda), “[i]mpotence is attributed to violation of a taboo which forbids mothers to touch a baby’s penis within the first three days of its life (Standing and Kisekka, 1989:p213).

P’Bitek (1964/1997)[1] provides a discussion of the love trajectories of Acholi youth consisting of boys “shooting” or selecting previously unacquainted girls, girls initially (as a rule, incessantly) declining proposals, the start of a “love debate” that may take months. Regardless of age, unmarried men and spinsters had no social status. After a ring token has been “given to” (won by) the male, he might introduce her to the bachelors’ hut, to which she may be pressured by her mother, to find out whether he is “alive”: “If for some reason boy cannot or does not sleep with girl, then boy is not sexually fit. […] and that is the end of the affair between the two”. Pre-pregnancy congress was severely (lethally, physically) punished.









Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] P’Bitek, O. (1964) Acholi Love, Transition17:28-33. Reprinted in Transition 75/76 (1997):182-90