By Gatkuoth Deng
September 2, 2009 — Ngundeng prophesied a prosperous South Sudan nation after ending its suffering and achieving its independence. He prophesied agriculture as the back bone of economy in the region. Ngundeng predicted that the South would produce more than enough food for its people. He also prophesied that foreigners, including white people would also benefit from the resources produced in the region when he said in his songs, “Koryom Diet chame gol ke duoth; be cham ka jaye, chame Nyajak; …gole ci beele tang tol.” Its translation says, “Koryom Diet (foreigners or white people) will eat in the land with smiles; they will eat and deny it; eat in it Nyajaak (light colored); my land’s agricultural produce have broken the straws or sticks.”
Elders said Koryom Diet is a nickname given to foreigners by Ngudeng and Nyajaak in particular, which translates ‘light colored,’ was a nickname he gave to white people. Elders think that Ngundeng welcomed foreigners to also benefit from the riches in the land when he also told them “eat in the land” despite their denial. Ngundeng predicted a huge agricultural productivity as the back bone of South Sudan’s economy. In Nuer whenever there is a huge season’s agricultural yield they say “ci beel tang tol,” meaning “the yield has broken the straws.” This means the yield has produced more than enough grain for consumption during that season. And that was what Ngundeng used to describe the yields for a simple understanding by the people who were around him.
Despite the fact that South Sudan currently completely depends on oil by more than 98% of overall revenues, Ngundeng rarely mentioned oil as the back bone of South Sudan economy or the leading resource. I have not heard in his songs talking specifically about the oil. May be he gave it a nickname which I might have not understood some where in the cassette. Or it might just be among the other natural resources, which he called ‘milk’, that are in South Sudan.
But on agriculture he repeatedly talked about it as the basis of future succeeding economy in South Sudan. May be he concentrated on resources that would feed the nation for thousands of years instead of other resources like oil that may only take 50 or 100 or less years before it finishes.
Elders also told me that this trend to develop and promote an agricultural-based economy is already confirmed by the leadership in South Sudan. Our late hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior before the CPA was signed in January 2005 talked of the need to develop agricultural sector using the oil revenues. He envisioned agriculture as the backbone of South Sudan’s economy and the oil revenues as a means to stimulate and develop the agricultural sector that would take over as the basis of the economy. The current Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, also in his response to a Western journalist who asked him more than ten years ago on what he was envisioning as the future of South Sudan despite the people dying of hunger, diseases and wars, Dr. Riek was quoted in a book as saying, “I see millions of green shoots growing into tall plants to feed the world; I see what we can be when we are free.”
Unfortunately, before South Sudan would realize its prosperity, Ngundeng predicted scores to be settled first with the North as well as some South Sudan internal affairs. As usual in my Part I and Part II articles on the same topic, I want to concentrate this Part III article on the North-South scores.
Elders said Ngundeng was clear that he could not control or prevent from happening God’s punishment which he had already decided on Sudan. Ngundeng could just prophesy them. He could only suggest things that, if are followed, may please God and would reverse his plans about the nation. And among these were peace and believe in God, self-reliance and self-determination or freedom. His inability to control the fate of South Sudan was revealed in his dream which elders said was overheard by those who slept near him. In his dream he was called by God, “Ngundeng, Ngundeng tit gaat ka e goaa. (Ka cue luoc) Guadin a ko kon thuok kone Marol.” It translates, “Ngundeng, Ngundeng take care of my children well. He replied: “Father, let me first settle the case with Jalaba.”
Knowing that it was impossible to change the ill-fate of Sudan, he continued by prophesying what was shown to him would happen in visions by God. He told people that what he was telling them was the truth. He said God would not lie and the lies of God are only his delay in fulfillment of prophesies. He also warned of unresolved suffering for a very long time and said he would confuse the people and may not know how things were going to take place. In his songs he said “E rol buope ka tare cet ke mi ce ranh; bi thuke diaal ngot ni ke diw.” Translation, “I will turn the nation (land) upside down, facing up and facing down; like if it is not going to happen; all mouths will continue speaking doubts.”
He continued by saying “Laate je cet ce bi ranh; cango we maro thaar bieh ka be we toom; e je kua lat cet ce bi ranh; cango we maro thaar bieh ka mo be we toom.” Translation, “Talk about it as if it will not come to pass; when it explodes under the Bieh (capital or headquarters?) it will have a loud sound; let people talk about it as if it will not come to pass; the day it will explode under the Bieh (pyramid) it will have a huge sound.”
Bieh is the name of Ngundeng’s pyramid which is currently located in Wec Deang, Jonglei state. Some elders think that Ngundeng meant the bombing of his Bieh by the British war planes in 1920s; about 20 years after he had already died. Others say Ngundeng was just referring to a national capital or some kind of a government headquarters as Bieh. Since his Bieh was his capital or headquarters, they think he was simply referring to any capital or headquarters as Bieh. This is also a food for thought like the rest.
He also said in the songs, “Rolun ba nyot k pic ken ruai de kon gueer.” It translates, “I will stir up the nation (land); its case has not yet been settled.” Ngundeng also sounded like a bit annoyed with God’s punishment on his people when he questioned God’s actions in his song which says, “Engu teeri mo la Deng; ka mo ci hooka liadien jiako; ah kuoth cu ha moc dual e ruota.” Translation, “What are you fighting for God?; the death of my cattle (people) has become unbearable; ah, don’t give me fear God; let me endure (persevere) it.” And he also said, “Laathkeeri liepe Marol ni luak e ke kon gaak kene Deng.” Translation, “Soldiers, wait for Jalaba in the land; let him first quarrel with God.”
He also continued, “Kor kel ba teer ca bi gaak ka Kur; Kuoth nhial e toange paduil; ci Deng moac I nguone kotda wa; ci dang jiok da we toom bako bieyni wang luak rol mac…a yiwe Rol bi naak e caa kur ke mi luang.” It translates, “I will fight one war that I will not refuse from God; the God for whom I built the paduil (counties, payams, bumas?); God said give me my shield; my dang (rod) has made a huge sound; we will burn down clothes in luak (stores?); Jalaba I will kill you in countless hundreds.” Elders say ‘Paduili’ are smaller units of Ngundeng’s religious system similar to counties, payams or bumas, etc.
Among his prophesies that predict wars, Ngundeng also said “Ci koak keera da hoong; ci Teny ku gieer kene dayom…e ba ci guori kon nak, be ke nak ni ke nak Diu (Diang?). Translation, “My Keer (cow or land’s) graves are wide open; Teny and disciple will make thundering sounds…I will first kill the military officers; I will kill them like the killing of (Diu or Diang?)”
I am not so sure about the last name to which Ngundeng likened the killings of military officers. And from where are these military officers? Are they in the South or in the North? Elders think that Ngundeng was talking about the Jalaba officers who crushed in a plane accident in Upper Nile about six years ago. Others think these are generally military officers who died in war over the years. Others are not clear which officers Ngundeng talked about.
Readers may notice that some of the predictions have already occurred since the time Ngundeng died while others are yet to occur. It is sometimes very difficult to know which ones are yet to occur and which ones have already come to pass. Also, the songs in the cassette were not sung in sequential order to know which one comes after another as originally sang by Ngundeng. They have been disordered by different singers making it difficult to know which one Ngundeng said would occur after another.
The author lives in USA and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org