The people of Kalongo are from the Acholi tribe. The Acholi people (also spelled Acoli) are a Luo nation found in Magwi County in South Sudan and Northern Uganda (an area commonly referred to as Acholiland), including the districts of Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Nwoya, Lamwo, and Pader. Approximately 1.47 million Acholi were counted in the Uganda census of 2014, and 45,000 more were living in South Sudan in 2000.
The presumed nominal forebears of the present-day Acholi group migrated South to Northern Uganda from the area now known as Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan by about 1,000 AD. Starting in the late seventeenth century, a new sociopolitical order developed among the Luo of Northern Uganda, mainly characterized by the formation of chiefdoms headed by Rwodi (sg. Rwot, ‘ruler’). The chiefs traditionally came from one clan, and each chiefdom had several villages made up of different patrilineal clans. By the mid-nineteenth century, about 60 small chiefdoms existed in eastern Acholiland. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Arabic-speaking traders from the north started to call them Shooli, a term which was transformed into ‘Acholi’.
Their traditional communities were organised hamlets of circular huts with high peaked rooves, furnished with a mud sleeping-platform, jars of grain and a sunken fireplace. Women daubed the walls with mud, decorating them with geometrical or conventional designs in red, white or grey. The men were skilled hunters, using nets and spears. They also kept goats, sheep and cattle. The women have accomplished agriculturists, growing and processing a variety of food crops, including millet, simsim, groundnuts, peas, sorghum and vegetables. In war, the men used spears and long, narrow shields of giraffe or ox hide.
During Uganda’s colonial period, the British encouraged political and economic development in the south of the country, in particular among the Baganda. In contrast, the Acholi and other northern ethnic groups supplied much of the national manual labour and came to comprise a majority of the military, creating what some have called a “military ethnocracy”.
Many of the Acholi soldiers who joined the Kings African Rifles (KAR), the British colonial army, were deployed to the frontlines in southeast Asia especially in Singapore and Burma during the World War II where they held British positions against an intense Japanese offensive. Notable among the Acholi soldiers who made the ranks were Gen. Tito Okello-Lutwa, Brig. Pyerino Okoya and Lt. Gen Bazilio Olara-Okello.
Kalongo Deaconry has impacted on the lives of many people since it was established through, for example, education. A number of those individuals have gone on to achieve great success and become leading members of the community. Below is a list of just a few of those people:
- Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo is a Ugandan lawyer and judge. He has been the Chief Justice of Uganda since 20 August 2020. He served as the Acting Chief Justice of Uganda from 22 June 2020 and was a deputy Chief Justice from 30 September 2017.
- Okot John Amos – member of parliament for Agago North
- Hon. Anthony Okelo Opwa, the second Luo-speaking Acholi (a Catholic) to enter Makerere College 1931 -1933 after Ericka Lakor (a Protestant) 1926-1929. He was appointed treasurer of Acholi district and later elected to represent Acholi district in the LEGCO.
- Hon. Jino H. Obonyo (a Catholic) former member of parliament for Agago and one of the member for the constitutional conference in London.
- Jino Owiny was among the people who contributed materially to the construction of Kalongo Catholic Church.
- Dr Ambrosoli who was dedicated and an inspirational missionary in Kalongo and the Acholi sub region,
- Hon. Prof. Dr. John Joseph Otim (a Catholic) former member of parliament for kitgum East (Agago), Cabinet Minister (1980-1985) currently Senior Presidential Avisor – Agrculture.
- Hon. Prof. Ogenga Latigo was the leader of opposition in the Ugandan Parliament from 2006 to 2010
- Hon. Franca Akello Women MP Agago
- Hon. Odonga Otto MP
- Hon. Otto Markmot MP Agago south
- Hon. Peter Okwera former member of the constituency Assemebly
- Hon. Miss Lowila women MP Pader district
- Hon. John Amos Okot former MP Agago
Other prominent and respectable sons and daughters of Kalongo through their service and dedication to the deconry and people include:
- Father. Malandra
- Pasquale Olwoch who supported the establishment of St Charles Lwanga School
- Sister Eleta
- Sister Kamila
- Brother Angelo
- Mr Marcelo (renowned farmer and agriculturalist)
- Jino Owiny who served the mission for over 50 years
- Mr Micheal Ojwang
- Mr Albino Okello
- Mr Nicholas Opiyo
- Mr Paulo Akera
- Mr Eture Iboto
- Mrs Anne Jane Otim
- Mr John Oyaro (Head Master)
- Mr Kamilo Oyaro
- Mr Benjamin Omara
- Catechists and other prominent people from Kalongo, Kitgum, Patongo, Pader, Paimol, Gulu, other parts of Uganda and indeed the world.