Added: August 2, 2014 – Last updated: September 2, 2017


Speaker: Holly E. Hanson

Title: Privatized Public Healing

Subtitle: Women’s Narratives of Escaping Violation in Kampala’s Violent Times

Conference: 128th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (January 2-5, 2014)

Session: 42: Revisiting Idi Amin: Man, Myth, and Memory

Place: Washington, D.C., United States

Date: January 2, 2014

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | African History: Ugandan History


Link: -


Speaker: Holly Hanson, Department of History, Mount Holyoke CollegeResearchGate

Abstract: »The years of Idi Amin’s rule contributed to the collapse of social order in Uganda. Political institutions lost their meaning, economic institutions ceased to function, hundreds of thousands of Ugandans fled and those who stayed at home experienced brutality and deprivation. Ugandans saw their aspirations of secular modernity undone by violence and brutality related to extreme inequality and a pretense of parliamentary democracy. While outside media at the time (and since) focused on Amin’s personality, many Ugandans have been more concerned about the effect of the violent years on the national character. Ugandans who reflected on the Idi Amin years while he was still in power emphasized the negative transformation in how Ugandans thought, and expressed a hope that the sense of national unity could be regained. In his expose of what he had experienced as one of Amin’s ministers, Henry Kyemba described Uganda as a diseased person. On assuming the Presidency after Amin had been toppled, Yusuf Lule declared that the first task of his government would be to repair “the moral and psychological damage done by Amin’s regime.”
Ugandans took deliberate actions to respond to social illness, which had infected their society with the normalization of violence. People quietly and deliberately re-wove the threads of a social fabric in the way they coped with dire circumstances. They interpreted the violence they experienced in a way that asserted that human beings could treat each other with respect and dignity. This paper discusses one aspect of social illness in 1970s Uganda—violence against women. Based on formal interviews and interactions with friends and colleagues in Uganda between 2006 and 2011, I argue that women’s stories of escaping sexual violation draw on enduring East African understandings of the possibility of public healing.« (Source: Website of the American Historical Association)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of Uganda / History of Uganda (1971–79)