Donga, Sira (B)
Rev. Canon Sira Donga was born in Alur country near L. Albert. He was captured as a child by Kabarega’s armies and made a gun-bearer to one of his soldiers. He was given by his master to a Muganda Christian in payment of a debt. He came into contact with Christianity in Buganda. When he returned to Bunyoro in 1901, he found work with the Rev. H. H. Farthing and attended baptism classes. He returned to Alur country in 1902 but refused to stay and marry because of his desire for baptism, which he received at Hoima in 1903. He accompanied the Rev. A. B. Lloyd on the first missionary safari to Acoli in 1903, and acted as interpreter, Alur and Acoli being mutually intelligible. He helped in the first translation of the Bible to Acoli, working from the Luganda version. In 1905 he returned to Hoima for training as a catechist. In May 1905 he married Lucira Farwenyo, and in 1906 he returned to Patiko, Acoli, with his wife and first child. In 1908 he left Acoli when the missionaries temporarily abandoned the work because of opposition, but returned in 1909 and gradually won the people’s confidence. He was recalled to be head-teacher at Masindi in 1911. In 1913 he accompanied the missionaries when they reopened work at Gulu at the request of the government. He remained in Acoli and Lango until his death. He was much loved, and was a tireless teacher, preacher, and traveler. He helped promote better relationships between the Lango and the Baganda political agents. He was ordained deacon in 1917, priest in 1919. He helped Canon Lawrence open work at Boroboro (near Lira, Lango) in 1926. He was made Canon in 1936. He was the frequent companion of Muca Ali and Paulo Baguma.
This article, used by permission, was written by Louise Pirouet, as part of A Dictionary of Christianity in Uganda (Department of Religious Studies, Makerere University College, 1969), p. 17. Copies available at Africana Section, Makerere University Library (AF Q 276.761 MAK and AR/MAK/99/1); Bishop Tucker Library, Uganda Christian University and in UK at the University of Birmingham; Crowther Centre Library, CMS Oxford and Louise Pirouet Papers, Cambridge Centre of African Studies.