Gershom Sizomu, the first African-born black rabbi in Uganda, ran for his country’s parliament, trying to win support from outside the tiny, century-old Ugandan Jewish community he leads. A photo diary.
Last month, Gershom Sizomu Wambedde, likely the first black African-born rabbi, ran for the parliamentary seat representing Uganda’s Bungokho North district. His campaign, waged in the rural enclaves outside the provincial center of Mbale, was hot, dusty, and contentious. He lost, by just a thousand votes, after alleged vote-rigging by the incumbent. But the campaign was also a significant attempt by Sizomu’s congregation of about a thousand to bring legitimacy and recognition to the Abayudaya, as the Jews of Uganda call themselves. Tablet Magazine’s Matthew Fishbane spent the week leading up to national elections with Sizomu, whose campaign benefited from significant support from international Jewish groups. In this audio slideshow produced by Ari Daniel Shapiro, Fishbane talks about the challenges ahead for Sizomu’s tiny community, the dynamics of an election campaign in rural Uganda, and the hopes for Sizomu’s political future.
Read Fishbane’s two-part report on the Abayudaya here.
The Abayudaya of Uganda have been Jewish since a colonial-era chieftain decided to follow the five books of Moses. A century later, a descendant of those African Jews became a rabbi and ran for parliament. Part 1 of 2.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.