Gov. Philip Aguer Panyang is right: There is only Dinka Bor in Jonglei state

Posted: September 10, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

When mores decay, the spirit of no-tomorrow rules

By Mabil Manyok Nhial, Gweru, Zimbabwe

Monday, September 10, 2018 (PW) — As I lucidly recollect the work of a revered writer of all times and indeed a mentor to a few, who love putting their ideas in black and white, William Shakespeare was not so wrong when he plausibly asserted “be great in act, as you have been in thought.” It is what we say and do that determines our character and my conscience tells me that character is nothing but a mirror of our own doctrines.

I have always been fidgeting as if bitten by black garden ants whenever I hear and see the ongoing shambolic disintegration of a community, which has always been known as a paragon of logic, common sense and incomparable wisdom. A few who have been so vocal in reprobating such unwarranted behaviour, sometimes fall victims of the circumstances since those, who preach the message of disintegration would not want to see and hear any words that bring us together.

It is common cause that the arrival and reception of Governor Philip Aguer Panyang was punctuated with joy, laudation, relief and lots of positive statements made by not only the citizens of Jonglei but also from other parts of South Sudan as he (the governor) mentioned in his speech in the United States of America recently. His reception was a relief because the Bor Dinka got to know him very well when he was working for humanitarian agency in which he master-minded the construction of airstrips from Cuei Keer to Dukeen which later root off hunger as food security was well supplied under his auspices.

People described him as a lucky governor when he was appointed simply because the Bor Dinka (I am not yet convinced to call it Jieng e Jonglei for we have always been known by the previous name as such) were and still are thought to be a united people with a unique positive way of life.

This known modus operandi among the Bor Dinka is currently doubted. This was exemplified by Governor Philip Aguer when he chided the gathering that those who still respect you are those who do not see and read all that you always write on social media. I got relieved upon hearing such a chary statement!

The governor’s speech that he recently delivered in the US was and still is what a few who speak the language that holds us together want. Many people were solaced by his eloquent brief explication of the origins of the Bor people in which he gave samples of a few clans which make up the Bor Dinka.

In his own words, he gave a prudent example of clans in the names of Gualla and Angakuei, who are brothers whose pedigree could be traced right from Riith Ajak and Kut Ajak in that order. These two brothers came from the other side of the Nile and settled around present day Malual- Aghor- Bar. Kut Ajak moved with his people northwards where they got settled. Their family affinity was bound by their god, whose name was Lier-piou. This affinity has continued up today where one could fine the same totemic name, Alier within the two clans.

In Gok, people do identify themselves as Juor-Gok, which comes from a common species of tree called Gok. No one claim that the name solely belongs to them, neither the early settlers nor those who came thereafter. It is pertinent to note that the name Athooc could be traced from Jalle and more specifically Abuodit. However, other clans within Athooc were and still are very comfortable with the name even if they do not bear that name.

Philip Aguer made it clear that Twic dispersed from a place called Patungduur. However, some other clans which later joined them have no connection with those who came from Patungduur. There existed two brothers who were Atuei and Yeep. Yeep wanted to name the clan after him, but this was objected by his brother Atuei on the ground that his name did not sound well. The clan was then named Twic after Atuei. It is irrefragable that other clans accepted to themselves with Twic, howbeit, they were not part and parcel of the Twic from Patungduur. They believed and still do consider that there is no problem with having that name which is really acceptable.

Besides, Nyarweng can trace their ancestry from Ayuel-dit whose son was Deng Ayuel. Being sick and tired of the clay soil as a renowned farmer in Maluth, Ayueldit instructed his son, Deng Ayuel, to search for the sandy soil inhibited by rats. Upon getting what he had been searching for, Deng Ayuel settled in or around what is now the territory of the Nyarweng people. In as far as history is duly concerned, Hol crossed the Nile eastwards. They came from Ciec. They settled in what is now Duk Padiet.

Having disentangled the mystery of our diverse origins, who then can have a mantle of either owning or disowning the name(s) when our ancestors could not exchange bitter words because of such petty foibles as naming of a particular community? It is of no use being in high dudgeon for any acidic umbrage, slight as it may be, corrodes a societal and social fabric.

I would want to respectfully refer to my brother Kon Joseph Leek, who has this to say, “Until today, I have to tell whoever says that he is not Mony-Bor that you are not because you want certain attention, but by the end of the day you will end up defending that name (Bor).” This was after he had been innocently attacked and lambasted by a lady from Ciir longti. Kon is a gentleman from Dukeen- Bor and the lady hurled a barrage of insults to him just because he comes from Bor. Kon did not have time saying that he didn’t come from Bor, but rather defended the name of his sub-tribe from being thrown into the bin of disparagement. I raised my cap to Kon Joseph leek!

During his speech in the US, the governor succinctly put it that the Bor Dinka have always been together. They have so far lived together and died together for their koc thiaak kene keek have been thorns in their heels since time immemorial. He vehemently asserted that some people like Head Chief Ajak Bior Gaar or Ajak- Guong (from Angakuei, who led the Bor Dinka resistance against the Turkish and later the British colonialists) and Bol Ayom from Gualla were killed by Nuer e Maar when Maar was invaded the Nuer. They joined their brothers in Maar and subsequently got their waterloo therein.

The same applied to Nuer e Paleep where some other people from different areas such as Twic and Gok were killed with their brothers at Paleep Cattle Camp in Angakuei. It is worth noting that a plethora of people from other sections of the Dinka got killed during the incident of Nuer e Kolmerek. Additionally, Nuer e Reem in Ateer was no exception! Another important incident was Bheer Anyidi in which a hefty number of people perished in the hands of eastern brutes. All these scrimmages were fought communally because people used to consider themselves as one Bor people.

Now, I do not know whether my ears misled me as the Governor was mentioning community representatives of the Bor Dinka. I heard him calling the leaderships of Dukeen, Twic, Bor and Gok. As if he had read my heart, he added a very sound rhetorical question that “Is Gok not part of Bor?” The audience answered by giving sheer laudation. This is all politics of identity as one of my elder brothers would call.

It would be unforgivable mistake to omit mentioning that the youth of our time is more dangerous than any living devil. However, I do not blame those who go on live videos vituperating other individuals or communities because ceng e yuen tueny as my senior brother Leek Geu wisely asserted.

It is mores that makes humans different from other creatures, but when mores dies off, humans are left with nothing to control their behaviour. You cannot then distinguish an animal and a human being in such instances. That’s why we commonly hear strange words coming out of those very mouths we also ask God to bless us! However, one cannot be so wrong to say that they are sick and tired of those who are addicted to destroying other personalities for nefarious reasons!

Publilius Syrus cannot be corrected in his work when he says that “where there is unity there is always victory.” Most of those fracases that used to be communally fought by the Bor Dinka were won against their koc ka ateer simply because they were united in words and acts. Philip Aguer crystally stated that Nuer e Duot Bior defeated people because they had different ideas as Awai and Duotdit could not agree on how to deal with the enemies. This gave a leeway to the enemies to defeat the people. This signifies the importance of being together which should always be considered!

There has never been an accepted version of how the name ‘Bor’ came into being. All that is always said is so diverse that it can’t be concurred with easily since most of our historical facts have never been recorded or recorded but sadly distorted by a few who want to achieve some nebulous intention.

I honestly acknowledge the great work of Akol Dau and Panchol Deng Ajang whose songs are interlaced with the name and unity of the Bor Dinka. There are many singers with such unifying proclivities, but the two are my favourite ones. Panchol Deng’s song goes that “Panda aye col Bor, Pan yene dhieth e koc, koc nong ke kunyke Baai….” This song has also been buttressed by Akol Dau that “acin Twic ku Bor….” Another beautiful song that echoes the same is Ajuong Community’s song which goes “Ajuong e manye piny e mac e macic, wo ye many Baai Bor….” All these do not sound well in the ears of those who are doing their negative best.

Apart from that, Dr. John Garang used to identify himself as Mony Bor as evident in so many different occasions. In the same vain, General Ajak Deng Biar together with Rebecca Lueth Wel boldly stated a lot of things in tandem with what the rest of the elders have been saying about us being one people. Sadly enough, we throw those helpful words of progress and unity into abyss of nothingness!

Let us just look at Ateer Ajokbil, which, like any other communities that got their names after some renowned personalities, was named after a respected traditional orthopaedic doctor whose savvy shrewdness in mending broken bones made him known far and beyond the Great River, the Nile. This doctor hailed from one of the nine sections of Ateer, Penn. Penn were the first people to settle in present day Ateer. They were soon followed by Paweeng. Then other sections followed as time drifted by. They have cherished and relished the name Ateer for ages and that is their identity.

One could therefore reason that if our elders or leaders keep telling us that we have always been identified with the name that we are pulling a rope, it does make sense to be what our elders and leaders want us to be for a child who sits with the elders, drinks in a calabash of wisdom. Are we sitting with them when say all that harms the social fabric which holds us together?

It is undeniable that the mess going on within our midst has always been a brainchild of some brothers and sisters who some of us think were sent for a mission. The governor stressed on what the former Bishop Rev. Nathaniel Garang Anyieth usually says that the lost boys were sent for a mission and that anyone sent for a mission can bring both good and evil. All these agonising foibles are ushered in by some of them.

Most of the youth who normally go on live videos with disparaging language are no doubt destroying the trust so thrust upon them by the public that they themselves are tearing apart with unfathomable political identity, which is of no value to our people. They have forgotten that every youth has a debt to pay to his community. Some of us have decided to pay that debt by having devilish conferences of no use!

I would not hesitate to accede to Leek Geu and Philip Thon Aleu’s view on the traditional leaderships within our communities that the chiefs should be fully given their unabated duties. Currently, chiefs have no clearly defined powers which would them condemn such indecorousness. They may be against such divisive talks, but they cannot do anything because some of their powers are being performed by the leaders representing communities.

I personally feel perturbed and disturbed when I see my fellow youth playing this politics of self-identity just as our leaders fight their politics of positions. Are we not possessed by and obsessed of the spirit of no-tomorrow? Why do we, the youth, make empty noise that the country is being misled when we are disorganising our own communities which have been in existence for so long?

Aren’t we making fool of ourselves when we talk of the poor leadership at the national level whereas we have successfully failed to manage those divisive associations or communities? Poor youth, stop talking big and doing little or even a lot of nothing!

We overzealously believe that we are the leaders of tomorrow when what we do surely becomes a big insult to us! A leader must walk the talk. Can’t we ask ourselves why our communities are successfully falling apart during our time? To me, our forefathers and fathers, who used to denounce (and still denounce) divisive talks over the names of the communities were and still are far much better than some of the youth of today. They used to value more that which could unite them than such petty issues as names (let me say it quietly for it is laughable!)

Leaders as the eyes of every community should remove this strange yoke of crudity and replace it with needed refinement within our ambiences. What was done by Governor Philip Aguer with his team in the US, is that which a sound minded leader can do in such cases when a community gets lost in a misty cloud of confusion and engrossment. I therefore challenge our community leaders such as Michael Makuei Lueth of Greater Bor (howbeit, I hate that prefix ‘greater’), Deng Athiei and Kulang Mayen of Dukeen and Prof. Ajuoi Magot of Bor Community.

I am not in any shadow of fear or contradiction to say that these community leaders have taken some of the duties that are supposed to be played by our chiefs who are directly in touch with their people. Since they are the community representatives, they should in my view, liaise with chiefs and boldly condemn and obviate such disquieting and continuing issues of identity among the people of the Bor Dinka.

I am very much convinced that our elders and leaders do not uphold the view that some of us hold. The language that Philip Aguer spoke in the US together with his team is the very language that some of them, if not all, have. However, they should not just watch those people tearing our communities apart! Calling them and addressing the issues is that which makes a leader a real leader. By so doing, I am cocksure those distressing live videos and negative songs and comments against individuals or communities will cease.

For some of us who have no power to make any sacrosanct decisions, I just end up being thrown into an ugly pool of wishful thinking that had I power, I should pour sour juice of discord into a bottomless pit, uphold unperishable peace and confuse all sorts of discords within our precincts! I urge the citizens of Jonglei State to cease following and supporting some of our divisive youth in western countries for they cannot decide our issues back home! We must, in unison, fight that spirit of no-tomorrow, which is being hurled from the west!

The writer is a fourth year Law student at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe. He can be reached at  

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

  1. Daniel Yuoot Ajaangdit Yuoot. says:

    By God, Philip Aguer don’t represent Twich-East or Nyarweng and Hol, He was representing Bor in his visit to the United States. As a result two people from Bor have now ruled as governors, Gen, Kuol Manyang and Col. Aguer Panayang Jot, and one person Philip Thon Leek from Nyarweng. Therefore, time of Twic-East to rule as governor of Jonglei is still a head.
    Thank you,
    Daniel Yuoot.


  2. Daniel Yuoot Ajaangdit Yuoot. says:

    If there is only Dinka Bor in Jonglei, then where do Dinka Twich-East placed into? where is Dinka Nyarweng placed into? Where is Dinka Hol placed into? and where is Dinka Aborom into? or are they annexed to Upper Nile like before when Bor was annexed to Magalla, while Twich, Nyarweng and Hol were part of Malakal.
    Thank you,
    Man of UT.


    • David says:

      You guys will continue undoing the history to family level, there are some people who are denying to be Dinka preferring to be call Monyjieng instead because they said the name Dinka belong to certain group. That is pathetic.


  3. Ayii Duang Arop says:

    Some misrepresentation of history there, buddy. For example, what you call “Nuer e Maar” was actually “Nuer e Panleep” which was intercepted around Pakeer area upon their retreat to Lou by a local warrior Mayen Anyuon around 1908. Ajak Bior and some of his bands pursuing the cattle from Panleep joined the fight then and there he was killed. It wasn’t a Nuer attack on Maar to begin with. Rather, it was an attack by Twic on a retreating Lou campaign from Panleep after a successful raid.


  4. Daniel Yuoot Ajaangdit says:

    For anyone confused by the history of the four tribes in Jonglei (Hol, Nyarweng, Twich and Bor); please read it well, for these tribes’ names (Hol, Nyarweng and Twich) had been there since the creation; only Bor was formed out of nothing.
    Thank you,

    Daniel Yuoot


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