By lualdau Deng
September 30, 2009 — The Ngundeng whose most Nuer belief in him as their god or prophet will one day be remembered by them as the very person who cursed them. Why Lou did have to fight the Jikany Nuer? Why did they have to fight Gawar Nuer, not to mention what they are currently doing in Bor? Needless to talk of what they did to Anywak and Murle!
In every evil that you see being done by Lou Nuer, don’t forget their Ngundeng. The first of the fights that were fought between Lou and Gajiok of Jikany was started by a fish because it was alleged that a Lou’s young boy had caught a fish and this was robbed of him by some Jikany’s older people. The Lou then had to stage a fight against Jikany for this reason and people from both sides were killed in hundreds if not thousands.
It was alleged that long time ago, Ngundeng had his fish caught from the same river robbed off him by jikany Nuers in that same place. It was said that Ngundeng had warned the Jikany not to roast the fish that was robbed from him but cook it with water as stew. Ngundeng adviced them to do this so that their punishment for robbing him could be reduced in the latter years when time for it matures. The Jikany refused to hit Ngundeng’s advices and roasted the fish instead. Ngundeng was seen as a crazy and an insane person at the time before they started to see him as prophet and so no one could see the reason to listen to his advices. Many Nuers today believe that the fiercest fight that was fought between jikany and Lou and which had it origin from a robbed fish was exactly the punishment they were anticipating from Ngundeng’s punishment. Was this not a curse if it’s true?
It is also said that before he died, Ngundeng had told the lou Nuers that there will never be a single “spiritual” leader to be born among them but he was going to be the only one forever even after his death. Ngundeng was not actually from lou but a Nuer of jikany, only his mum came from Lou. When he was starting to get the magical powers, he seemingly was insane and could feed on anything including human feces and as a result, he was rejected and wanted dead by his Jikany Nuers and his mum had to take him to Lou. It was there that he made wonders that made him still remembered today as prophet among the Nuers.
Truly, there never seem to have been more spiritual leaders born among the Lou Nuer except his son (Aguek or Guek in Nuer) who took over after him. Only Guek Ngundeng claimed spiritual leadership among the Lou Nuer and non after him did the same. Today, people believe that there are no people with magical powers among the Lou. They say that anyone who happens to get these magical powers dies instantly before making an impact, a case which is also referenced back to Ngundeng’s curse for the Lou Nuers.
Even though it is said that no people with magical powers are being born among the Lou Nuers today, the Lou Nuers seems to be the only community in the modern South Sudan who are still being led in wars by spiritual leaders or people who are believed to posses some magical powers. Where do these spiritual leaders come from since they are not born among the Lou?
First of all, it is believed that the job of a spiritual leader among the Lou is nothing but to lead them into wars in order to invade other communities. With this said, any person who claim to have some magical powers get greater acceptance among the lou Nuers than they could get anywhere else. This is the case simply because this spiritual leader can lead them in wars and so a magician is held in high esteem among the Lou Nuer. For this reason, magicians born among the Gawar Nuer (Gawar Nuer lives a stone throw away from Lou and their magicians are always the immediate beneficiaries in this case) always get attracted to come to Lou and are always received with open arms. It is hard to say whether the Lou do this because they long for magicians since non is born among them or they do it simply because they believe in the power of magic to lead them to wars against other communities.
Spiritual leaders who have always led Lou in most of their wars have always come from Gawar Nuer e.g Dual Diu (Diu was the spiritual power/magic), Garjang Gai, Wurnyang?? Gai Manyuon etc. All these people had once claimed to posses some spiritual powers and have always led Lou into wars with other communities at different times. Most of you would have heard about Wurnyang who is believed to have claimed some magical powers around the years when Dr. Riek machar rebelled against the SPLA. Wurnyang was alleged to have killed a cow, skinned it and cut it into pieces and then he ordered the same cow to reassemble into a live one! It was alleged that this exercise was successful and Wurnyang used it to persuade the Lou Nuers and all others that joined them in the Bor massacre of 1991. Wurnyang assured them that even though they go and die in Bor, they will again reassemble and reappear at own houses just like the cow that he killed came to life again. Unfortunately, none of the people killed in the fight ever came back to life as promised by Wurnyang!
The other magicians had also claimed similar powers at different times. The interesting thing is that these self-claimed spiritual leaders never see their promises come to pass! But most interestingly too, the Lou community never learn a single story from such history. They continue to accept any force of evil that come to destroy them while covered in angel’s clothes and anyone would be assured of acceptance by Lou today should such a person happen to claim some magical powers or offer to lead Lou into invading other communities. Is this not a curse?
Every time Lou is used by anyone, the Lou themselves pay the price and not those who used them. Wurnyang, Riek machar, Gai manyuon, name them…, are good examples in this case. Have the Lou community ever asked themselves why their magicians are born in Gawar and why these people never become important or lead within Gawar or anywhere else but only in Lou? Did Lou ever ask themselves as to why Riek Machar decided to use mainly Lou Nuer but not his Bentiu Nuers when he rebelled against the SPLA? Do you think there is a vulnerability that these evil leaders see among the Lou and so they tend to exploit it at the expense of Lou Nuer? Do you still think that Lou Nuer have not been cursed as opposed to being blessed by their prophet?
Little information about Gai Manyuon:
He was born among the Gawar just like most other spiritual leaders that have always led Lou. He claimed some magical powers and asked the Lou to go to Murle and make a lasting peace with them. Lou people then left in multitudes including women and children with their belongings towards Murle land (around the year 2001). His magic through him asked the people to remove all clothes and walk naked. He even allegedly collected all new born kids and kept them in isolation till they perished claiming that God had asked him to do so. Where else on earth in the 21st century could such an act be allowed if this was not a curse?
On the way to Murle land, people were tired and suffered from hunger and many demanded to surrender back. He could not allow this as he had warned them earlier that should he go (towards Murle), anyone who will remain behind will perish through his powers. In the end he decided to make a U turn towards Lou land and surprisingly staged a fight around those areas of Akobo against those who had defied his call for going to Murle land by remaining behind. Was this not a curse if it’s true?
He allegedly fought the forces of someone in the name of Taban Juch and was defeated and ran towards Murle Land. One interesting fact in this scenario was that he never even allowed his troops to fire a single bullet at the oncoming enemy. He only asked them to remain calm without panic, assuring them that he will use his powers to crash the entire oncoming enemy in a single “shout” as soon as they get nearer. This never happened and the enemy kept shooting at them killing many including him. Was this not a curse if it’s true?
It is believed that there are about 2,000 Lou people in Murle land settled there today. Gai manyuon with his wife and two kids got killed on the way by the forces of Taban Juch but his nephew who took over from him led the rest to Murle Land. The nephew who took over from gai manyuon and who led the rest to Murle land was later killed by Murle—-It was said that they arrived at Murle land and when they were welcomed and about to be offered some food, water etc, he decided to spear one of the Murle leaders and a fresh fight started again. Many of them were killed and the remnants were left and still leave among the Murle tody. Is this not a curse if it’s true?
Nuer in general and Lou in particular are good people. Their only problem is the misinterpretation of Ngundeng’s prophecies. They do anything just to make sure that all the things that they believed were said by Ngundeng are made to come true. Riek Machar rebelled from SPLA just because what his white woman told him (to rebel) was in line with what he believes Ngundeng had foretold about him and his leadership. Why did Riek have to stab at the back the movement he was among those in the lead? Were Ngundeng’s prophecies about Riek machar a blessings or a curse?
Lou on the other hand are always up to the job of terrorizing any community that borders them simply because they believe that Ngundeng has foretold that at least one community will be destroyed to non-existence and so they are always motivated to fight any community with hope that any of those that they fight with will eventually cease to exist as a fulfillment of Ngundeng’s prophecies. Do we really have to unnecessarily fight one another in order to “fulfill” Ngundeng’s prophecies? Is this not a curse?
To many who know a lot about Lou Nuers, it is not surprising that any slightest misunderstanding will lead to a fight. They do all these with pride thinking that they are fulfilling Ngundeng’s prophecies regardless of these acts being seen by others as being barbaric, uncivilized and inhuman. Now that NCP has ready cash for any southerner who is ready to fight another southerner, the fights involving Lou Nuer will be countless if the NCP-Southern militia link is not discontinued by GOSS. It is now a Jonglei’s pain but a time will come when Lou’s militia issue will be a south Sudan’s pain if it’s not addressed properly. Was Ngundeng a blessing or a curse to the people of South Sudan?
The author can be reached at [email protected]