Open letter to Southern Sudanese

By D. M. Koch
May 18, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am deeply in love with the traditional system of governance, that our people of the two Nilotic communities - Anyuak and Cholo (Shilluk) have. Their centralised system of governance served to ensure peace and tranquility amongst these communities, making them ones of the most meek and peaceful groups of the turbulent South Sudan. Others may cite some instances where these communities engaged their neighbours in wars, but those are largely acts of self-defense which is a universal rights of individuals, groups, communities, or nations, enshrined in the UN Geneva Convention. The fact remains that Anyuaks, Cholos, and Azandes who like the former, have had a Kingdom as well, are very peaceful societies whose members gives a great deal of reverence to the central authority of their communities.

This is in sharp contrast to the likes of Naath and Jieng who are governed in their various sub-communities, sections and down the line to clans. Unilateralism is part of this decentralisation, where a section or clan decides to make military adventures at will and without consulting the bigger body of community. These reckless adventures led to countless inter-sectional or clan vs clan wars which became more destructive and deadly with the uncontrolled acquisition of modern, automatic firearms. Before, during and after the civil war in the South, seldomly did we hear of deadly inter-sectional or clan against clan wars among the Anyuaks, Azande or Cholos, Why not? It is because they are bound together by common allegiance to the central authorities led by their majesties the Kings or Queens. The fact that entire community is answerable to one ruler, leave no room for petty squabbles - unhealthy competitions which leads to physical confrontations.

I therefore believe that the few traditional Kingdoms or royal chieftencies still in existence in the south, should be preserved, developed and protected as national heritage or symbols of our civilisation. Unfortunately I am not well informed about how the daily functioning of these monarchies is ran, whether there certain mechanisms that ensure continued loyalty to the throne, is a matter of research. I will therefore appreciate any body shedding light on how the royal court of his Majesty, King Adongo Akuay Cam Gilo of Anyuak, or the King of Cholo whom I was very pleased to see him giving an interview on a documentary few months ago. He spoke a fluent English and the journalist noted that his Majesty, the current King, unlike some before him, had a formal education. What is his full name? Is Azande Kingdom dead or still alive, and if so who is the King or Senior most royal Chief? My knowledge stop at Avongkora kingdom!

Hopefully one day one time, one will be able to catch up with some of these powerful traditional leaders. I have a particular admiration for the Kingdoms of Anyuak and Shilluk, their kings represent a new generation of formally educated Majesties who will modernise their kingdoms! We also have some spiritual leaders who are worth recognising at a national level. For example in Aweil there was/is Gengdit Ariath, Son of Dinka Malwal's one time most powerful, Spiritual leader called Ariath Makuei, is he still there? who replaced him? in Gogrial - Tuic there is Ajingdit, is he still there? We have Luak Nyaruac in Bul Nuer - I believe Gat Deang is the custodian, is he there? Manyang Jok of Yirol, passed away last year and I believe someone is in place! I need clarification on the role of Mak, is he in charge of both Political and Religious affairs of Shilluks?

Some of these spiritual leaders are prophets who makes precise predictions of the future. One of the best known in Lakes State is Derbai Gurec. All these can be developed, preserved and protected at local level so that our national heritage is preserved for the future generations. It is not true that we (Africans - Southerners) did not know God before the emergence of Christianity and Islam, the way some ill-informed people argue. The last time I went to Bhar al ghazal, more than four years ago, I found there was clearly some sources of arguement especially in the cattle camps, where the youth were trying to do away with traditional way of workship in favour of Christianity, which unfornately, was misinterpretated to them by some semi-oriented preachers. they used to sing throughout most of the nights and tend to boycot attending traditional rites of worship. The old men were very unhappy, but after consulting me, they were clearly relieved when I told them that the greatest! Sin in the view of christianity, was the killing of neighbours, and not sacrificing the bull in the name of God. I told them that Jesus said love your neighbour more than you love yourselves. On hearing this, the Old men launched a scathing condemnation on their young men whom they saw as naive, inexperienced, "floating on a sea of foreign mentality" and hypocritical. This show how our rich culture is being threatened by globalisation and ignorance in some circles. I leave there for your analysis.


Related Articles:

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The Nuer fear of neighbors is not a big excuse not to disarm.
Upper Nile: No Genocide in South Sudan
Nuer: "A good way to present grievance"





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