Lango - Settlements



In precolonial times, the Lango lived in villages of about a hundred people. These were abandoned in the twentieth century, and households came to be widely dispersed. This shift in residence patterns may have been stimulated by the cessation of intervillage warfare. The standard pattern now is for a household to be built in a small clearing and to be surrounded by fields and grasslands. As sons marry, they may build households nearby in separate clearings, far enough from other households so as to be barely visible. The clearing might be more than 20 meters in diameter; its principal building is the sleeping house, which is likely to be about 6 meters by 6 meters. Roofs are almost always thatched, but houses of wage earners often have corrugated metal roofs.

An area of about 2.6 square kilometers, which might include twenty households, is loosely organized as a neighborhood, or wang tic. Three or four men representing the most prominent clans in the neighborhood serve as an informal neighborhood council, but the wang tic is not an officially recognized entity. The local administrative official, the jon jago, administers an area of about 80 square kilometers. Schools, courts, police, and medical services are often located at the headquarters of the jon jago. The next level of government is that of the county, and there are seven counties in Lango District, which has its headquarters in Lira, in the approximate center of the district.

As the colonial administration established itself, and as commerce and transport became important, there arose a number of trading and administrative centers that have become important foci of activity for the Lango. The most important of these is Lira, which is the site of a large hospital, numerous secondary schools, an airport, a prison, cotton ginneries, banks, churches, and retail shops.


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