Nuer prophet’s rod finally arrives in Juba
May 16, 2009 (JUBA) – The long awaited rod (dang) of the Nuer Prophet Ngundeng Bong has finally arrived in the Southern Sudan’s capital, Juba.
- A crowd looks up to see the rod (dang) as Riek Machar holds it Up while Douglas Johnson looks on, Juba, May 16, 2009 (photo J.G.Dak)
The dang, which was brought to Juba from London via Nairobi on Saturday, 16th May, by Professor Douglas Johnson, the author of the book, ‘Nuer Prophets….’
Thousands of Southern Sudanese from various tribes rushed to Juba International Airport at 10:00AM to welcome and see the dang.
Several ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan were among the crowd of thousands of people who received the historical object, which also has religious connotations.
It was received at the airport by the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. From the airport the dang was taken with the crowd amid ululations to the residence of the Vice President where a celebration was organized.
Various dance groups from different tribes performed their dances in welcoming it and a bull was slaughtered in a traditional ritual performance.
It was then taken out from the bag it was kept in for the public to see it as Machar held it up with two hands, telling thousands of people, “this is the dang.’
Addressing the crowd, Vice President Dr. Riek Machar who also hails from the Nuer community said the return of dang is a sign of coming peace and unity among the people of Southern Sudan and the closing of the bitter chapter of their long time struggle for independence.
Machar, who for the first time spoke publicly about Ngundeng’s prophesies and their implications in the current struggle - wars and peace - said Ngundeng was a prophet sent by God to tell the people of Southern Sudan about God’s messages about them.
“Ngundeng in his prophesies talked about independence of Southern Sudan,” he explained. He said Ngundeng predicted that the return of dang would be the sign that independence is coming.
Machar assured that the dang is for all the people of Southern Sudan and people should not fear it. “It is not against any tribe,” he said.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, congratulated the people of Southern Sudan for the return of Ngundeng’s dang. Among other ministers who witnessed the event included Dr. Luka Biong Deng, Minister for Presidential Affairs, John Luk Jok, Minister of Energy and Mining, Dr. Joseph Minytuel Wiejang, Minister of Health, Major General Gier Chuang Aluong, Minister for Communications and Postal Services, Joseph Duer Jakok, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Angelina Teny, Minister of Energy and Mining in the Government of National Unity in Khartoum.
The dang was made more than a hundred years ago, but was taken by the British colonial administration to England more than 80 years ago in 1927 after Ngundeng died in 1906.
Ngundeng, whose name means ‘Gift of God’ in Nuer language, was born around late 1830s. His father, Bong, originally came from Bul-Nuer in Western Nuer (present day Unity state), but moved to Jikany-Nuer in Eastern Nuer (present day Upper Nile state) until Ngundeng was born.
Ngundeng was the only son of his mother, Nyayiel, who came from the Lou-Nuer in Central Nuer (present day Jonglei state).
According to Ngundeng’s book written by Professor Douglas Johnson, Ngundeng’s mother gave birth to him after she was barren for dozens of years and her hair turned grey and reached menopause as she was very old.
According to the book, Nyayiel left her husband, Bong, and lived with her parent’s relatives until a dream came to her commanding her to go back to Bong and would give birth to a child whose name would be called ‘Ngun-Deng.’
Machar said the dang would be taken to Bieh, which is the prophet’s headquarters in a place called Wec Deang in Waat Jonglei state in the near future where a big celebration would be organized.
Ngundeng composed his prophesies in form of songs which were passed on to generations and are presently recorded in audio cassettes by elders who remember them well while some are written in books.