Alikua Pyramids in Uganda West Nile
While the Pyramids of Giza are to Egypt, the abandoned Alikua Pyramids are to West Nile Region of Uganda. The 30 minutes ride from Aura through dusty, rough and pot-holed roads in Maracha district lead you to the broken and vandalized 5-meter high and conical pyramid that has existed for over 100 years. This stone and mud pile was constructed in 1911 by the Belgian Colonialists within Alikua village in Yivu sub-county in Maracha District. Pyramids were in the early century used as burial sites for Kings, Queen and other prominent people in Egypt Monarchies but no one knows why such shapes are chosen.
With its appearance and lack of maintenance, you will agree that tourism in the West Nile region has been abandoned yet the site holds a significant history in the area and Uganda in general. This old plastered pyramid is now perched as a ramshackled structure on the western side of the road connecting Arua district to the neighboring Maracha and Koboko districts. Unfortunately, the structure was also vandalized by the locals who believed there was mercury in it but the cultural heritage site was constructed by the Belgians as evidence that they were the first foreigners to occupy the area but after signing the 1911 agreement between Belgium and the British Protectorate, it was heavily guarded by soldiers from the latter because the West Nile region was already transferred to British Colonialists. Belgians are said to have come from Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire) which the West Nile Region used to be part of, thus the site came to exist after their settlement. After leaving the area, some Belgians left the area and moved to Yei area in South Sudan while others continued to Wadelai.
It is believed that two Belgians including Captain Von Kirkhoven were buried beneath the Alikua Pyramid but according to some locals, the Belgians also buried a bottle in which their year of coming to the area was recorded. Also, A.E. Weatherhead, the District Commissioner of that time was said to possess supernatural powers, was murdered by the locals in late 1911 while on a cattle raid with his soldiers and was laid to rest just 200 meters away from the Pyramid but his grave is not recognized because the place is now used for farming and interestingly, there is a road near Arua Golf Course that was named after him. Maintenance of the pyramid was originally funded by the Belgians but stopped when the Government stopped over 30 years ago and even the caretakers are not paid.
Much as the locals are doing their best to maintain this historical site, the Government hasn’t done much and even some locals don’t know about the existence of the site. Sadly, only the neighboring Yivu Secondary School uses it as the school emblem on the school badge to honor the existence and significance of the pyramids.
In conclusion, much as it is one of the abandoned cultural sites in the West Nile region, Alikua Pyramids is an exceptional site because it signifies the coming to Belgians in the region.