The art of self-writing: the negotiation of indigenousness of the Maragoli community in Uganda
Paper short abstract:
We focus on the documentation produced by the maragoli community to obtain the Ugandan ID card and citizenship. The art of telling their story represents a set of attempts to negotiate and (re)validate their "indigenousness" through multiple and sometimes contradictory bureaucratic self-writing.
Paper long abstract:
The art of self-writing: the negotiation of indigenousness of the maragoli community in Uganda
In Uganda, 15,000 people defined or self-defined as Maragoli have been unable to acquire identity cards through the mandatory national citizen registration process that has been implemented since 2014. Originally from Kenya, most Ugandan maragoli settled in Western Uganda in the second half of the 1950s, years before independence. Their ethnic group however is not listed among the "indigenous" groups recognized under the 1995 constitution that modifies the eligibility criterion for citizenship (it now includes only ethnic groups settled in Uganda prior to 1926). This article addresses the process of negotiating indigenousness to be granted citizenship. We will see that the Maragoli claims to citizenship come with the ongoing construction of a narrative account of their origins and contribution to Ugandan development. We will see that the documentation produced by the Association of the maragoli community in Kigumba highlights the development of an art of telling their story (Noiriel) that represents a set of attempts to negotiate and (re) validate their "indigenousness" through multiple and sometimes contradictory bureaucratic self-(re) writing (Mbembe; Awenego-Dalberto, Banégas)
Storytelling and social order in Africa