Mathew Audele Adramu, also known as Edrobu (meaning “man of the people”), was a Ugandan Anglican Christian in West Nile district. He was born to Mr. Adramu and Mrs. Buria on June 28, 1909 in Niva village, Arumila county, Ayivu district, Uganda, during a very difficult period when all of West Nile was suffering a famine.
Adramu received the name Mathew in the last year of his life when he was baptized on June 28, 1977 by a church teacher, Mr. Patrick Okuaye, who had decided to baptize Adramu because he had fallen ill. Adramu was an old man when he converted to Christianity but as a God-fearing man and a lover of God, he had spent most of his life encouraging the spread of Christianity in his area. Unfortunately he died shortly after his baptism. He had suffered from high blood pressure most of his life.
He was married to Julena Dricira and they had many children, including Adibuni, Adramu Dra Aliakora Musa, Le Tiru, Abiria, Anguaku, Rasili Oyua, Kefa Asuma, Deru, Avila, and Gloria.
In the early 1930s, before he was a Christian, Adramu had a vision to spread Christianity in West Nile. His achievements centered on evangelizing that whole area that includes Madi / West Nile Diocese and Nebbi Diocese.
He was the first person to welcome the missionaries and he offered them a place at Mvara where they could build a church. He worked with African Inland Ministries. According to sources at the diocese and the elders still alive, Adramu encouraged the missionaries to establish their headquarters at Mvara, the location of the current headquarters of Madi/West Nile Diocese. By welcoming Christianity in this way, he brought peace, unity, and harmony into the diocese. His humble and loving nature and general good behavior attracted many people to Christianity and helped the church grow.
Adramu also encouraged and pioneered education in the area by working with missionaries to set up educational institutions such as primary, secondary, and teacher training colleges, first at Mvara and later in other places such as Gori in Nebbi which is now the headquarters of Nebbi Diocese.
He encouraged development and hard work and urged people to become self reliant. One of the elders by the name of Adralle talked of Adramu as a “no nonsense” man who, when he visited a village and found a family without food because they weren’t growing crops, would report them to the area chief who would imprison the head of the family. He also encouraged the other villagers to help each other cultivate their own food.
His favorite Bible verse was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) and his favorite song was “To God be the glory, great things he has done.”
He died in 1978 after a long illness.
John Kateeba Tumwine
Kerim, Sam. “History of Christianity in Arua,” paper presented at Bishop Tucker College, 1984.
Missionary reports on the work of African Inland Mission in West Nile, Uganda. Church of Uganda archives at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, Uganda.
Kefa Asuma, son of Adramu, interview in 2009 by Rev. Solomon Adebo, principal of Ringli Theological College, Arua, and DACB liaison coordinator.
This story, received in 2010, was written by Rev. Canon John Kateeba Tumwine, director of Global South Institute at Uganda Christian University, coordinator of regional theological colleges in the Church of Uganda, and member of the DACB Advisory Board, East Africa.