Where is Gulu? – A photo reportage by Sönke C. Weiss
Where is Gulu?
My first trip to Gulu was in 2003, a good dozen further stays followed until today, which resulted in two books, two theatre productions and a documentary film; in November 2018 and September 2019 this photo reportage was created. It attempts to form a comprehensive portrait of the city. But: where actually is Gulu? The city of Gulu is located in northern Uganda near the border to South Sudan.
About 150,000 people live there. Most of them belong to the Acholi ethnic group. From 1987 to 2006, the “Lord’s Resistance Army”, a military-religious cult movement, carried out a war against the civilian population, which the world public hardly noticed. More than 100,000 people were killed and about two million became internally displaced persons. An estimated 100,000 children were abused as child soldiers, and in the last years of the war tens of thousands of boys and girls from the communities around Gulu sought protection in the city night after night.
In 1967, I was born into a family of barbers and bar people at Schleswig-Holstein region (DE) – and broke with traditions.
As a scholarship holder in the USA, I studied German literature (Bachelor of Arts) and communication sciences (Bachelor of Arts) at Indiana University. This was followed by studies in directing and dramaturgy with Edward Albee (who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?) at the University of Houston (Master of Fine Arts), where I also worked as a teaching assistant. This was followed by numerous years as a photographer, editor and war reporter. I was practically trained by Professor Jochen Blume at Hamburg.