Gulu through the war and recovery

Friday April 3 2020

Where is Gulu shows photographs of child soldiers.

Where is Gulu shows photographs of child soldiers. PHOTO | ADNREW I KAZIBWE | NMG 

ANDREW I KAZIBWE
By ANDREW I KAZIBWE
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Gulu, a district in Uganda’s northern region is mostly known for the Lord’s Resistance Army war, led by rebel leader Joseph Kony. Now Soenke C Weiss pays tribute to the town in an exhibition titled Where is Gulu?

Websites mainly show gruesome images of death, suffering and casualties.

Capturing the years 2003, 2018 and 2019, the photo exhibition is on at the Kigali Centre of Photography in Kacyiru.

Weiss visited Gulu, a district in northern Uganda, bordering South Sudan, where he captured, and documented the lives of the once war-torn area.

The town hasa population of over 150,000 people, most of whom are Acholi. The exhibition, which opened on February 29, depicts present daily life and the rebuilding of Gulu. The small photographs draw keen attention to the pictures.

From intimidating images of child soldiers posing with guns, to town transport activities, family group pictures and daily chores within homesteads, Weiss shows the reality of fixing a broken society.

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People living in the town, which is still healing from the war, hold on to hope for a better future. However, healing from the physical and emotional wounds has not been easy and alcoholism, domestic violence and unemployment are some of the problems there.

Weiss, a journalist turned filmmaker, has been documenting life stories. In 2014, as Rwanda marked the 20th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi, Weiss directed Ibyiza Birimbere, his second independent film.

The award winning photographer and videographer is also a Pulitzer Prize nominee for his 2007 stage play Butterflies of Uganda.