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The Batooro

The tribal name Batooro means ‘the ceremonious one’. For the Batooro, this is a daily reminder that they need to be ceremonious in their dealings with others. This ceremonial nature is manifest in their daily practices. For example, the Batooro put on their best clothing to welcome guests: a tradition carried out and passed on to us by our ancestors. Unique to the people of Tooro are the Empaako. From the Luo word pako, which means praise, Empaako are special names of praise, endearment, and respect given to the Batooro and those who are associated with Tooro. Empaako are also referred to as pet names. They are used in the exchange of pleasantries and greetings. They declare affection, respect, love, and honour. The Batooro also use Empaako to greet each other. In English, one would say, ‘Good morning Peter’. In Rutooro, Peter will not be used but his pet name instead. If Peter’s pet name was Apuuli, a Mutooro would greet, ‘Oraire ota Apuuli’. When a Mutooro meets any person within Tooro Kingdom and they do not know them, the first thing to ask him or her is the pet name by saying, ‘Empaako yaawe?’ This means, ‘What is your pet-name?’ Once you have established the pet name, you can greet using any of the twelve pet names.