The Cuna Archive

2020. Photography

The title of the work takes inspiration from the Acholi word Cuna, which means a courtship between a man and a woman.

When the war ended, the former wives of the LRA combatants, and the children they bore during their forced marriages, were required to integrate into Acholi society. Integration assumed the resumption of traditional courtships, relationships and family life – the responsibility of which was born by the women. As is Acholi custom, courtships include the exchange of gifts as symbols of acceptance and commitment – gestures of intimacy. 

This work is a photographic archive of the cuna gifts that 36 former forced wives of LRA combatants received in their search for love and commitment after the war was over. In this post war context, I came to see these courtship gifts not just as promises of love but also as gestures of a return to normalcy.

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