by Kuany Kiir Kuany (Simon)
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“I am no writer, and this is not a work of literature. It is a reflection of a past. A past that should have been buried and forgotten. But at times, to heal one must go back, resurrect it and reflect on it to enlighten it, just like one has to go into the darkness in pursuit of light.”
- Kuany Kiir Kuany
In the small village of Ahayou, atop a hill, lived the brave and proud people of the Ajuong clan.
They were small sect of, or a sub-clan within the Dinka, or specifically the Dinka Bor. More specifically, within Bor, the Twic, in the present day Twic East County, Jonglei State. Formerly it was part of the Sudan, but now lies within newly independent South Sudan. It was always, of course, South Sudan geographically. The year was 1990. The exact day, week, month, and date were unknown. The people were rebuilding and resettling after the great, ravaging floods of 1988-1989.
To the clan of Kuanydit, Abiong, Paan Deng Akok, and to the mother (Rhodah), and father (Peter), a son was born. He was stamped with the name Joseph.
The writing down his of name was an impossibility, as was recording the date and day on which their child was ushered into this world.
Traditional literacy still existed though. Time was regulated and monitored by the movement of the sun, the moon, the stars, or natural calamities. Therefore, the days were easier to tell because of their original significance. History was inscribed according to sequence. Phenomenal occurrences, bountiful seasons, or epidemics became parts of an ongoing tale.
With these basic pieces of information, they knew when Joseph was born. It was one year away from “Riak eh piny” (Destruction of the Land). This happened in 1991, several years into the civil war between the north and the south. They could also tell it was 1990 due to the arrival of the great floods in the “Jonglei” region of South Sudan. Here the Nile and the Süd swamp create havoc year in and year out. The water level was one and a half meters high. Mosquitoes endlessly quenched their thirst on the people. Crocodiles from River Nile tore human flesh into pieces. The day was known as “Jima” Friday, but the date was unknown.
Joseph was born into uncertainty and calamity, where normalcy was but a dream. His parents embodied his first and the last fragments of stability. Early signs indicated that Joseph was not going to survive. He was cold as ice, and took too long to kick or cry. His eyes opened much later than that of a normal child, and his head was overly large for his body. Even breathing took great effort.
Rhodah was at the brink of mourning yet another lost child. Holding up her baby, she appealed to God, “Promise me that you are going to keep this one for me! Promise me!”
This innocent boy was born bouncing into a world he thought to be a good place. His parents were almost regretful to have brought another being into such inhumane circumstances. However, they had hope in a better tomorrow. In any case, all was in the hands of God. Therefore, he was baptized immediately.
His ears were opened by the sound of gunfire. His eyes by the horror and sorrow of war. Joseph’s world was a terrifying and uncertain place.
Kuany, commonly known as Simon, is a young South Sudanese global nomad currently working and residing in New Delhi, India. He enjoys blogging, reading, and playing football.
Publisher: Africa World Books Pty Ltd