The Stranded Nomads of Karamoja by Jonathan Hyams
The Northeastern plains of Uganda are home to the stranded nomads of Karamoja; semi-pastoralist herders, whose wealth, livelihoods and status are determined by the cattle they own. With a formidable reputation as fierce warriors, the Karamojong are caught in a cycle of armed cattle raids between neighbouring tribes. As heavy weaponry from the conflicts in neighbouring countries flooded the region and made its way into the hands of both the Karamajong and their enemies, the old tradition of cattle raiding took a deadly turn. In 2010 I visited the Karamojong; my journey took me through a landscape that is wilting and dying around the very communities struggling to survive there. And yet, as these portraits show, survival and resilience are central to the Karamoja way of life; it is as evident in their colourful dress and headwear as it is in their proud stances, defiant of the unyielding environment they inhabit.