Photograph of Ugandan poet Okot p'Bitek.

Okot p’Bitek

(1931 - 1982)

Okot p’Bitek composed his first poem in the early 1950s—he later recalled that it owed much to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha—and in the latter part of the decade he traveled as a member of the Ugandan national soccer team to Great Britain, where he then took degrees from the University of Wales (in law) and Oxford (in social anthropology). After returning to Uganda in 1964, he became the director of the country’s cultural center but was later dismissed because his collection Song of Lawino criticized politicians.

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