On the 24th/April/2015, Morris Opira Kato commonly known as ‘Won Oluku’ breathed his last from Kitgum Hospital after battling liver failure for a long time. Born in 1969, Opira is remembered for his music talent involving long and educative songs comparable to no artist of his generation.

Below we take a look at the series that made him so popular;

‘Min Oluku’

Set to replicate the situation revolving around the LRA insurgency in the 90’s and early 2000’s, In Min Oluku, Opira narrates the story of a woman (Min Oluku also ‘madamse’ or ‘madam-sella-mama’) who abandons her husband (Won Oluku) and son (Oluku) for a soldier in the army. On that fateful day, Won Oluku wakes up early and leaves for the garden where he waits his wife in vain. Upon returning home he finds their son wobbling uncontrollably. His son tells him that his mother went to the market. This situation forms the basis of this story; the source of ‘Min Oluku’s money inadvertently leading to a chase throughout the song.

In the same verse of the song, it is revealed Oluku’s mother is now gone for two days, Won Oluku decides to go after her evoking the notion of the Acoli tradition of marrying Min Oluku using his father’s own money as a reason.

A regular prelude is introduced at this time;

Min Boy, Min Latina, Min Boyii,

 Liped I Owino, I Owino, Teteyi Makci,

Hmm Macki Leather kitenge eh, Kitenge

Uh Min Boy, Hmm Min Latinaa, Min Boy, Min Oluku,

Liped I Owino, I Owino, teteyi Macki, hmm Macki Leather Kitenge

Satirical and foresighted, Won Oluku takes a deep thought into what he assumes would take his once faithful wife to the market without money.

On arrival at the market, the second verse explores what transpires when they meet during the period of absence. His first impression of the woman is the rather shinny and extremely visible hair style referred to as wet look. Wet look was an importation by Congolese women a.k.a Kongolee. Soldier wives also copied this to avert any possible competition as well as to adopt the trendy style on market at the time. He is also shocked to notice that Min Oluku was donning high heeled shoes, a fast upgrade from sandals. He compares the lipstick she is wearing to the red beaks of the ‘Kidingiding’ bird.

He continues after a short prelude into the third verse to reveal that what he thought was a handbag she carried under her armpit as ‘Sanyo Radio’, a very loud radio set before bringing into play his nemesis the soldier. Opira speaks of the Santa (Land Rover Defender), a common mode of transportation for most decorated army men in the 90’s. Dressed in jeans, a ‘kandabongo’ man shirt and shoes crafted out of car tyres, Won Oluku stood no chance against the two star general whatsoever.

He opens up his frustration about the ever crying Oluku and his wife shifting away from his home to the army barracks. In the past, a woman who eloped into the army confinement never came out easily due to the mobile nature of soldiers. He briefly makes comparison between the benefits accrued to his wife by the general to what he owns as a peasant

After another prelude, the song plays in factoring a very common element during the insurgency; convoys that involved civilian vehicles moving under the protection of armed military cars. It was unsettling for many women who constantly had to follow their husbands wherever they went, often carrying jerricans and heavy baggage along. Min Oluku is said to have travelled through Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Tororo to Malaba.

He makes an effort to travel to Tororo where he meets with Min Oluku at the bus park. Things have since fallen apart. Opira reveals changes in his initially ignorant wife such as the development of additional dialects Luganda and Swahili prevalent in the army at the time.

After failure to initiate any peaceful reconciliation with his wife, Won Oluku travels to Kampala and back to Kitgum where he takes on his simsim farming he describes as ‘white gold’. At this point however, Oluku the young boy shows interest in selling simsim but rejects all possible advice from his father to do that in the Northern region insisting on doing that in Malaba where his mother had settled in and written a letter inviting Oluku to join her. Another element of mothers/women trying to reunite with their children is introduced.

The song takes another prelude and in second last verse Oluku arrives in Malaba to reunite with his mother, and the simsim he carried serves a reunion fest known as ‘banya wat’. His mother also convinces him to acquire a motorbike that he becomes famous for because of his reckless riding. Aside from his Honda bike that lands him in a fatal accident resulting into two compound fractured hands and loss of teeth, Oluku and his mother engage in excessive alcohol abuse.

It ends with Won Oluku lamenting his son’s stubbornness to reject his advice regarding reunion with his mother as well as the sale of the simsim that resulted into the motorbike accident. Here Won Oluku is portrayed as giving up on his son and wife subsequently taking us into the second Episode ‘Lok Kom Dingo’.

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