Okot p’Bitek was born in 1931 in Gulu which is the largest town in Acholi, in Northern Uganda. Bitek’s mother was a singer, composer, and a leader. His father was a school teacher. Growing up he learned tales, proverbs, and songs of Acoli folklore. He was an accomplished dancer and drummer as well as a writer. He attended Kings College, Budo, where he wrote and produced theater and opera. While he was at Kinds College he published his first poem, “The Lost Spear”. His first novel was published in 1953 called Lak Tar Miyo Kinyero wi lobo. When translated into English means If your teeth are white, Laugh! In 1966 he wrote “Song of Lawino” and achieved wide international recognition. This was a poem that was about dealing with tribulations of a rural African wife whose husband has taken up urban life and wishes everything was to be westernized. He also accomplished many other writings which include but are limited to, “Song of Ocol” in 1970 and “Two Songs” in 1971. Some believed he was a legacy for African philosophy. On the other hand many African writers criticized him for not adequately addressing the underlying causes of African problems. I thought an interesting fact about Okot p’Bitek was that he played on the Uganda National soccer team while accomplishing so many others things. He toured with then in Britain in 1956. He later died on July 20, 1982.
Our mothers and grandmothers, some of them: moving to the music not yet written. And they waited.
They waited for a day when the unknown thing that was in them would be made known; but guessed, somehow in their darkness, that on the day of their revelation, they would be long dead. (669)
This passage invites the reader to use their imagination and to probe the meaning of it from the reader’s perspective. My interpretation would be that sometimes we have to wait and trust that something we wish would come to pass would happen - and even though we might not see it in our lifetime, to live with some confidence...