It is not a secret now, that many facets of my rather ‘mysterious’ life, as my friends would say, give every indication that in fact, I was in the lineage of chief-hood. That is to say, if the British could have just held on to their piss and maybe avoided East Africa, I could have been a Chief and most probably presiding over the council of Jodongo this very second. But as fate would have it, it couldn’t happen.
Nonetheless, this did not stop me from digging deeper in a bid to find out why exactly my birthright was stolen. Unlike Esau in the Bible, my passion sandwiched between my drive to find answers and my mission to regain my birthright took a detour to an interesting world of discoveries.
This world is full of people with Heroic names, most of whom have not earned even a syllable. The idea is for names to mean something more than just the whim of our times, the fashion of an era and the political and social aspirations of our parents. For instance, Madhatter wanting to name his daughter ‘silence’ so that when she turns into a murderer they will just say ‘silence is killing them’.
That’s the loud thought of an artist but not of my African born and bred parents. They are few things tabooed and forbidden in African culture. One of them is a river that forgets its source, as the Yoruba people would say, which eventually dries up. Maybe that’s why rivers have names. So that they don’t forget their sources. Why then would someone name this particular River, ‘Babito’?
Over 3400 years ago, one Rukidi Isingoma-Mpuga Labongo, son of Olum, the undisputed leader of the migrating Luo assumed absolute power over the lands that now comprise the territory known as Uganda. He and his people had entered Uganda from Sudan towards the last decades of the 14th century and he founded an empire and aristocracy that was forever to be known as the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara through posterity (Historically known as Babito Dynasty).
It is here that actually Obama’s leadership seeds were sown. We are getting closer here. The word Babito itself originates from an area about 10 km north of Bunyoro, across the River Nile, in Acholi. Because they came from the place called Te-Bito, the Bantu referred to them as BaBito.
Described as ‘irresistible, awful, marvelous people’, the people of Bunyoro-Kitara spread their shadows over the areas they occupied and as imprinted in history, they immensely impacted the societies they passed through. This explains some of the strands in my DNA. For the record, they (or should I say we) won by refusing to surrender, grinding our enemies down in logic-defying, self-depleting wars that over the ages demoralized vastly superior forces into giving up. We refused to surrender to British imperial forces, which as a result decimated my ancestors’ population on a genocidal scale.
Long story short, I am the last King of the Babito Dynasty. While within my arteries and veins runs the blood of the modern-day Dinka, Nuer, Anuak, Shilluk, Wau, Acholi, Lango, Alur and Padhola people, so is the intelligence, socialist, generous, driven and aggressive nature of the Babito Dynasty Kings who preceded me. Same as Obama’s. The oratorical skills, the penchant for the extravagant and appeal to the crowd are right out of the standard caricature of the Babito Kings. He sucked that juice from us. Hence the homologous and indistinguishable similarities between Obama and me.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the short story of my name.