TRADITIONAL SEND OFF IN U.K. FOR MAMA Josephine OTUNNU, Mother Of Top Uganda Academics


Professor Omara-Otunnu shown with his daughter Larib. Photo: Major Twaha Mukiibi

Hundreds of Ugandans and friends from all over the world joined the family of Baba Yusto Otunnu for the funeral service and thanksgiving and burial of Mama Josephine Amato Otunnu at the Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford, in the U.K.

Mrs. Josephine Amato Otunnu affectionately known as Mama is the mother of several celebrated Ugandan academics, including Ambassador Olara A. Otunnu the current leader of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) in Uganda and Professor Amii Omara-Otunnu the chairman of the recently-formed Freedom and Unity Front (FUF).

Mama passed away on Sunday, 22nd December 2013 at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford; the funeral service was held Saturday 11th January 2014.

In a rare show of traditional pomp and ceremony away from home, Mama’s casket was accompanied by a troop of traditionally dressed Acholi men and women armed with spears and shields dancing and singing the processional “Wek Lalworo Odok Ingeya-CER” Revival song in the procession across the quad.

Entering the Cathedral, the escorting troop was joined by the congregation in singing the “Wilobo Kulu Wupak Lalar-Lubara me CER” Revival song. The service was presided over by Reverend Canon Edmund Newey, the sub dean of Christ Church Cathedral assisted by Reverend Dr. Jonathan K. “Lubermoi” Stubbs.

During the service, the first reading which was the psalm 23 was read by Achola Faith Otunnu and the second reading that followed the Hymn amazing grace which came from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 was read by Larib Omara-Otunnu, daughter of Professor Omara-Otunnu.

Mama Josephine Amato Otunnu was born in 1928. Her father Lukuce, a member of the Pubec clan which was at the time under the administrative district of East Acholi in Uganda was a local chief and her mother Lunguru was a herbalist doctor.

Mama’s father was also related to Ogwok, the great chief in East Acholi in the nineteenth century who built his power by forming alliance with Arab traders’ who came along the Nile basin from Egypt. Being brought up in a chiefly family, Mama was taught and expected to carry herself in an exemplary and dignified manner. This kind of upbringing that taught Mama to be welcoming of all people was to stand her in good stead later in her life when she had to deal with many different people from all works of life who frequently congregated in the Otunnu family as part of the East African Revival Movement.

Mama was married to Baba Yusto Otunnu as a young and beautiful teenager and a few years after her wedding, her new husband joined the King’s African Rifles (KAR) and was deployed in Asia as an Artillery officer during World War II.

After the war, Baba Otunnu accepted Jusus Christ in 1947 and launched the Revival Movement in the Upper Nile Region for which he travelled constantly all over the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It was during this time of the formative period of the Revival Movement when Baba crisscrossed the region on his evangelizing mission that Mama became the anchor of the family.

She bore the bulk of the day-to-day responsibility of nurturing the children by resourcefully engaging in farming and entrepreneurial businesses. Mama’s practical engagement in the lives of the brethren of the Revival movement was key to their sustenance and enabled them to spread the Christian gospel like a bushfire that shook and transformed the established and often colonized Christian Church in East Africa.

After the Church service, Mama’s body was escorted from Church with the traditional Wuleng, Wuleng Wangayo procession to the Wolvercote Cemetery where she was interred. Mourners were then invited to join the family to the reception that was held at Summerville College in Oxford.

Among those who attended were: Dr. Obonyo, Engineer Jack Alecho, Dr. Vincent Magombe, Major James Kilama, Major Colin Ochaya, Major Walter Odoc, Mr. Peter Ochan, Mr. David Ochan, Mr. Laroker P’Okot, ‘Teacher’ Lanek and former Uganda Cranes football Captain John Ross Latigo.



Christ Church Cathedral Oxford




Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford


Saturday 11th January 2014

Presiding: The Family of Baba Yusto Otunnu and Mama Josephine Amato Otunnu

9.30 a.m.


Wek Lalworo Odok Ingeya –CER Revival Song accompanying the procession across the quad

Wilobo Kulu Wupak Lalar—Lubara me CER—CER Revival Song accompanying the procession into the Cathedral

WELCOME: Reverend Canon Edmund Newey, Sub Dean


Minister: Lord, have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Minister: Christ, have mercy.

People: Christ, have mercy.

Minister: Lord, have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy.

FAMILY WELCOME: Ambassador Olara A. Otunnu



Psalm 23

read by Achola Faith Otunnu


Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now I’m found;

Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,

His Word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.


1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

read by Larib Omara-Otunnu


Professor Ogenga Otunnu


CER Tribute (Read by Master of Ceremonies)

Uncle Robert Odwong

Lamego Ageno Ochola


Lutino Ayera Gucoko Komgi


“A Life of Devotion and Sacrifice”

Professor Amii Omara-Otunnu

Translation: Mr. Latigo Nono

Otongo Tido

Solo by Lapolo Oyera

Composed by Mama Josephine A. Otunnu


Tua Uganda; Lobo Kwaro

Sung by Family

Composed by Mama Josephine A. Otunnu


Mark 12: 28-31

“Let’s Live Mama’s Legacy”

Rev. Dr. Jonathan K. “Lubermoi” Stubbs


To God be the Glory

To God be the glory!

Great things he hath done!

So loved he the world that he gave us his Son;

Who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Let the earth hear his voice!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Let the people rejoice!

O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,

And give him the glory; great things he hath done!

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood;

to ev’ry believer the promise of God;                                                                  

the vilest offender who truly believes,                                                               

that moment from Jesus a pardon receives

Praise the Lord…

Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done,

And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;

But purer and higher and greater will be

Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord…



The prayers end with the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever.




Ali Pa Ryam Ryam

Composed by Mama Josephine A. Otunnu



A retiring collection will be taken for the work of CER philanthropic nursing home in Uganda for elders in Mama’s honour.

All are welcome to join the family for the burial in Wolvercote Cemetery and afterwards for the reception at the King’s Centre.


Outside the Cathedral

Wuleng, Wuleng Wangayo—Procession



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