Nile River, Godhead and Generous Giver of Gifts

John Otim


John Otim, Editor of Nile Journal, Poet, Novelist and Naturalist



Somewhere in Northern Uganda the Nile narrows down from its stately average width of 2.8 kilometers to a mere 7 meters. Amidst rocks as ancient as the Earth, the great River plunges to a depth of 43 meters in a frothing roaring extravaganza, throwing a dazzling rainbow.

Nile Journal is in many ways a gift of the Nile. The journal takes its name from the eternal river once regarded by Ancient Egyptians as God incarnate. In this month of our first anniversary we return as it were to source, to celebrate our presence in the highly competitive world of online journalism. The time is out of joint and is our fate and it is our destiny, to give voice to the voiceless and to further the cause of the dignity of all life form and of humankind in particular.

At Jinja near Kampala, once the industrial capital of Uganda, the mighty river like a girl on her wedded eve steps into the world from the clear crystal waters of Lake Victoria, to begin a 6825 kilometer journey to the Mediterranean Sea that make it the longest river in the world. Here you can watch the Nile tear away to sprint across the lush green land, storming through thickets of once impenetrable forests, hammering and splitting rocks of ages. Once a group of us watched this display and  we all spontaneously broke into song: If I had a hammer!

About 230 kilometers downstream from the Jinja start point the great river bursts through a narrow crevice and stages one of nature's most magnificent show. Literally in pure display of raw power the river jumps, falls and cascades roaring like crazy. The image of lions that once were plentiful along the river's banks at this spot, come to mind. So magnificent and deceptive is the Nile at this point that the sprightly Acholi once thought they could bounce across the river in one great leap. Some did try and paid the price. You don’t mess with a god.

At Khartoum in Sudan the White Nile, meets the Blue Nile and the two African titans join forces to invade the hostile terrain of the most forbidding desert on earth. For over 2000 miles the Nile perseveres losing plenty of its moisture to the Sahara but distributing gifts along the way till at last it hits the Mediterranean Sea.

Long ago its priceless gifts of water in a perched land, and its bounty of rich alluvium soil gathered from the highlands of Ethiopia amd yearly deposited at the Nile Delta, helped forge human civilization and make possible the modern world we live in today. It was Herodotus the Greek historian who visiting Alexandria and seeing its wonders called Ancient Egypt the gift of the Nile.

Blue Nile has its origins in the high hills and mountains, once snow capped, of Ethiopia. Plummeting downhill in crystal breath taking landscapes the river scales gorges in a drama that nearly equals the one of the White Nile at the Murchison Falls in Northern Uganda. But it is useless for us mere journalists, to go on like this, telling you stories you probably heard many times before. Words are only words. The wise say seeing is believing.