Duta, Henry Wright (B)
Rev. Henry Wright Kitakule Duta was a leading Anglican clergyman. He was a member of the Lugave clan, and a nephew of Namalere, Kangao (county chief) of Bulemezi. He served in the household of the mukwenda. About 1878 he became a pupil of the Rev. C. T. Wilson, one of the first CMS missionaries in Uganda. In 1880 he refused to join the Muslim prayers held in the kabaka’s enclosure, and with others was imprisoned for a time on L. Wamala. In 1881 he travelled to the coast with a CMS missionary, Pearson, became a pupil of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, and was baptized in March 1882. He travelled back to Uganda in Bishop James Hannington’s first safari. He attached himself to the CMS Mission, but fled temporarily in 1884 because of persecution, returning in June. In 1885 he was made a member of the Church Council organized so that the church might carry on even if the missionaries were expelled or killed. In the persecution of 1886 he was in danger, but escaped to Bulemezi, and changed his name to Kitakule. In 1888 he fled to Ankole when the Muslims seized power, and he was one of the leaders of the Christian exiles. In 1891 he was licensed by Bishop Alfred Robert Tucker as one of the first lay-evangelists. In the same year he went to the war against the Muslims in the north as the katikiro’s secretary. On his return to Mengo he became George Lawrence Pilkington’s chief assistant in translation work, and also helped in teaching church classes and in preaching. His sermons were praised by Pilkington as being exceptionally logical and clear. In 1893 he was ordained deacon, and in 1896 priest, and he served at Namirembe until his death, becoming Senior Native Clergyman. He was a close friend of the katikiro, Sir Apolo Kagwa, and hence was considerably involved in politics.
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.