Acholi toy car

Acholi toy car
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1998.9.4 .1 .2
Uganda , [Sudan]
Masindi District Kibanda County Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement [Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Oroma Walter
Date Made:
By 1997
Bamboo Plant , Plant Stem , Plastic Synthetic , Rubber Plant
Carved , Perforated , Pegged , Stained , Recycled
[.1] Ht car = 142, roof L = 122, roof W = 55; chassis L = 175, W = 65; axle L = 127, diam = 3.5; wheel diam = 55-60, th = 6-13.5; stalk diam = 11.5, slat window strips W = 3 mm. [.2] stick L = 555, diam = 10.5; string W = 2 mm [RTS 26/9/2005].
92.5 g
Other Owners:
Made by Oromo Walter; obtained by Tania Kaiser in 1997; sold to PRM on 19th January 1998
Field Collector:
Tania Kaiser
PRM Source:
Tania Kaiser
Purchased 19 January 1998
Collected Date:
Toy car or cart made out of short lengths of soft, lightweight cassava stalks, laid side by side to form a series of rectangular panels that have been pegged together using harder strips from the epidermis. Most pieces are a pale cream colour (Pantone 7506C), with some darker reddish brown sections, possibly stained (Pantone 4695C). The car has a flat roof, with a raised edge on 3 sides, then a sloping front and back, where solid stalks form a frame, and thin strips of fibre make up slat windows in the spaces between; these slats run horizontally at front and back, and obliquely down the side windows. The lower car body is rectangular, with the remains of 3 internal cross-walls, one of which has fallen over. This chassis rests on 3 crosspieces, which in turn rest on 2 long stalks to provide a base frame. These lower pieces have been pierced through either end, and a narrow stalk slotted through to serve as front and back axles. The car has 4 wheels fitted in place over the ends of the axles, each of which has been cut out from the rubber base of a pair of flip-flops (a type of sandal), with denticulated outer edges and a narrow hole cut through the centre. They have been cut from the soles of at least 3 types of flip-flop. 2 wheels are made from rubber with green (Pantone 3298C) and yellow layers (Pantone 7403C) and a textured surface on one side. A third wheel has been cut from rubber with red (Pantone 199C) and yellow layers (Pantone 7403C), while the fourth wheel is much thicker, and has green (Pantone 7474C) and white layers visible. The edges of this wheel are more crudely cut than the others and lack clear denticulations. All the wheels have dirty rims. The car body is numbered 1998.9.4.1. It is fairly fragile, as the framework is only lightly pegged in place, but probably complete. The car has a total height of 142 mm; the top of the roof is 122 mm long and 55 mm wide; the chassis is 175 mm long and 65 mm wide; the axles are 127 mm long, with a diameter of 3.5 mm; the wheels range from 55 to 60 mm in diameter, and 6 to 13.5 mm in thickness; the cassava stalk elements have a diameter of 11.5 mm, and the cassava strips are 3 mm wide.

A narrow strip of plastic has been tied to the front of the car, and the other end fixed to the top of a bamboo stick, that would be used to push or pull the toy along (1998.9.4.2). This has a segmented body, with 2 segments visible; the surface has been partially stained red (Pantone 202C), over the natural yellow of the bamboo (Pantone 7508C). This is complete, but has been split and compressed at the centre - probably from being trodden on. It is 555 mm long, with a diameter of 10.5 mm. The plastic string is 2 mm wide. The car and its stick have a combined weight of 92.5 grams.

Made by a 13 year old boy called Oromo Walter, and obtained by Tania Kaiser while conducting fieldwork in the
Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement between October 1996 to March 1997, and between June and November 1997 ; purchased by the Pitt Rivers Museum on 19th January 1998. For details of Kaiser's work, see: T. Kaiser, 1999, Living in Limbo: Insecurity and the Settlement of Sudanese Refugees in Northern Uganda (Unpublished PhD) ; T. Kaiser, "Making Do and Making Beautiful: Recycling in an African Refugee Settlement", in: J. Coote, C. Morton and J. Nicholson (eds), Transformations, the Art of Recyclying, 44-47; T. Kaiser, 2000, UNHCR's Withdrawal from Kiryandongo: Anatomy of a Handover, New Issues in Refugee Research Working Paper No. 32, 1, 3.

Rachael Sparks 26/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Day book entry - 20/1[/98]. D[onation]. MdA. [donor] TANIA KAISER. 1998.9. AFRICA, UGANDA, MASINIDI DISTRICT, KIRYANDONGO REFUGEE SETTLEMENT. Collection of objects collected by donor.

Pitt Rivers Museum label
- AFRICA, UGANDA, MASINDI DISTRICT; SUDANESE ACHOLI? Toy car made from cassava stalks by Oroma Walter, aged 13. Coll. Tania Kaiser 1997. 1998.9.4.1-2.

Related Documents File
- This appears on a list of objects in RDF 1998.9 as item 4: "Toy. Cassava stalk car. Made by Oroma Walter, aged 13". Added comment: "Wheels made from 'slippers' (i.e.: flip-flops)". Purchased by the PRM for £4. There is also a typed document on file, titled "Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Masindi District, Uganda. Background to objects collected from a predominantly Sudanese Acholi community in 1997 by Tania Kaiser". The refugee settlement is described as being 14 kms from Kiryandongo town, near Bweyale and Nyakadot. The population is predominantly Acholi, but other groups represented there include Latuko, Madi, Bari and some Zande. There is a small market within the settlement itself, but many people go to the market at nearby Bweyale. Access to the necessary materials for local production of objects can be a problem. There is a blacksmith's workshop in the settlement, used for making new items when materials are available, otherwise for repairs and modifications [RTS 15/12/2003].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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