The Life and Times of Okot p’Bitek

Keywords: autoethnography; Okot p’Bitek; life; education; work

Abstract

Okot p’Bitek was born on 9 June 1931 to Jebedayo Opii of the Pacua clan in Patiko and Cerina Lacwaa of Palaro-Rajab. In the discussion on his biography, I follow a holistic approach using a chronological methodology which focuses on his education and life until his death on 20 July 1982. I premise my research on autoethnography which is a form of qualitative research in which the author uses self-reflection and writing to explore anecdotal and personal experience while acknowledging and valuing his/her relationships with other people. My personal knowledge of and shared culture with Okot have added value to my biographical structuring. I collected data using questionnaires and personal and group interviews with Okot’s family members, friends and colleagues in Makerere and Nairobi Universities, lecturers in Bristol and Oxford, and teachers in the various schools he attended in Uganda. I also researched his writings and writings about him in various libraries at different institutions, including the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of South Africa, Oxford University, Makerere University and the University of Nairobi, where Okot’s original manuscripts are archived. The data collected is intended to inform scholars about Okot the man. This article is divided into two parts: Okot’s biography and the importance of this biographical study.

Author Biography

Charles Nelson Okumu, Gulu University

Dept of Languages and Literature, Gulu University

Published
2020-05-12
Section
Articles