Project Type
Collaboration, Learning, Sharing and Impact
Our Projects

Abia Boys and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA): Documentary Film Project

This project builds on the outcomes of the EdJAM Project, “Performing Pain: Mnemotechnologies of Remembrance in Abia and its Impact on Informal (Music) Education, Memory, Peace and Recovery” with the view of deepening the impact of the most significant output of this project, the documentary film Abia Boys and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

By its nature, a documentary film, especially expository and observational documentaries such as Abia Boys and the LRA rely heavily on research and presents conflicting voices and researched perspectives that educate and provoke further debate and reflections. In the case of Abia, the camera lenses allow the people of Abia to tell their own stories through their own music, dance and personal testimonies. The film will become the confluence for different players to hold serious conversation about the tragedy of Abia, the resilience of the community and about EdJAM values of education, justice and memory.

This project is necessary because it builds on the achievements of our previous project and increases its impact. It will consolidate the general aim of that project by providing a platform for understanding the impact of the LRA insurgency on the cultural terrain of Lango by examining the performance of pain in their mnemotechnologies of remembrance. There is so much that the Abia project has to teach the world including the contribution of these songs to the people’s resilience, understanding the performances on the notion of mourning, memory and remembrance, recovery and justice, as well as informal education. The documentary film will project the voices of Abia and make their music and dance available locally, regionally and globally. Moreover, it will trigger conversations across gender, social status, intellectual planes and various communities about the idea of justice and memory and sharing of pain as well as celebrating human resilience.


  • Produce a full-length documentary film
  • Advertise the film widely and make it available through public screenings in Abia Community
  • Film screening and discussions at Lira University
  • A mini-film festival in Lira City
  • Film screening and discussions at the Uganda National Cultural Center in Kampala
  • Free screenings on Ugandan public televisions (New Vision, Urban TV and Wan Luo.
  • Film screenings and workshops within and outside the University of Bristol

Film provides a continuum between entertainment and education; in this case, between film aesthetics – trauma aesthetics and policy debate and action around transitional justice, peace and reconciliation. Moreover, the documentary film also challenges audiences around the world as secondary witnesses to the Abia trauma and recruits them in carrying the burden of the people of Abia and calls them to action.

Because of its capacity for mass dissemination, aesthetic appeal, technological superiority and transcultural appeal, film has the capacity to reach large audiences and to stimulate debates at multiple levels. Due to the traumatic subject matter, this film invites people across cultures, regions and races to contemplate the human condition around themes like violence, memory, justice, reconciliation, resilience, on education.  The history of Abia and its trauma implicates us all in the Donnean sense that “no man is an island entire of himself.” It’s important therefore that the world hears the story of Abia projected through this medium of documentary film and that the world responds to it.

“A people must feel free to talk about their painful past. Ugandans must have those difficult conversations.”

Hon. Norbert Mao, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Meet the team:


Dr. Okaka Opio Dokotum

Assoc. Prof. of Literature and Film, and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Lira University.

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Erick Mungo


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