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date: 08 April 2020

Olinga, Enoch locked

1926–1979 Only African appointed to the position of a “Hand of the Cause of God” (a title of great distinction) in the Baha’i faith.
  • Anthony A. Lee

Extract

Enoch Olinga was born into a family of Christian (Anglican) converts among the Teso people in Uganda. His father was a catechist and missionary for the church, and he was educated in missionary schools. During World War II, he joined the British Army Education Corps and served in the East African King’s Rifles Corps in South Asia: Burma, East Pakistan, Ceylon, and India. When he returned to Uganda in 1946, he was employed by the colonial Department of Public Relations and Welfare as a translator, eventually moving to Kampala. He produced two books in his own language, Ateso.

In 1951, fired from his job because of heavy drinking, Olinga began to study the Baha’i faith, recently introduced into Uganda by Ali and Violette Nakhjavani, a Baha’i couple from Iran. In February 1952 Olinga converted to the Baha i religion Almost immediately he returned to his home village ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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