Dreams And Political Imagination In Colonial Buganda
This article explores the intellectual history of dreaming practices in the eastern African kingdom of Buganda. Whereas Muslim dissenters used their dreams to challenge colonial authority following the kingdom's late nineteenth-century religious wars, political historians such as Apolo Kaggwa removed the political practice of dreaming from Buganda's official histories to deplete the visionary archives from which dissenters continued to draw. Kaggwa's strategy, though, could only be pressed so far. Recently unearthed vernacular sources show that Christian activists, such as Erieza Bwete and Eridadi Mulira, continued to marshal their dreams and literacy to imagine competing visions of Buganda's colonial monarchy. Earlier scholars had argued that modernity and literacy would displace the political function of dreams. This article, by contrast, proposes that sleeping visions took on new, more complicated meanings throughout the twentieth century. Literacy offered new technologies to expound upon the political implications of dreams and a vast repository of symbols to enrich interpretative performances.