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The Anyuak Kingdom

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By Ambassador Dhano Obongo

British and Arab colonialists used the spelling Anuak to describe these people, but the social anthropologist, Dr. Conrad Perner known as Kwakakworo (which mean leopard) among Anyuak community, changed the spelling to Anyuak.

The people themselves use the term, Anyuaa which indicates in their language mean sharing nyuaak. They are of the Luo nationality and ethnic group. These South Sudanese comprise the Collo or Shilluk, Acholi, Pari, Banda-Bor, and Chad as well as Luo (Jurchol) peoples. The Dr. Perner noted in his book that the Anyuak kingdom ethnic group originated from Rumbek in the Lakes area.

In Anyuak oral tradition Gilo was the grandfather of the kingdom ethnic community. He had two younger brothers. Dimo fathered the Luo ethnic group of the Wau. The second brother, Nyakango, fathered the Collo kingdom ethnic group. Three paths developed for the brothers from a dispute over an issue of precious bead or “dimu” swallowed by a daughter. The Nyakango kingdom ethnic group settled in the Sobat River mouth and along the White Nile.

Dimo proceeded to the current Wau town area. Gilo and his people journeyed along the Sobat River toward the east and finally settled in Niyum forming what is now the eastern Jikang Nuer ethnic group area Nasir. Several vicinities were overrun and fought over in the 1880s as Nuer and Anyuak contested.

Anyuak Kingdom governance is monarchical. The top ruler is based on birth and not merit or capability. The same applies to chiefdoms or Kwar status. Political tokens of kingdom include precious bead and royal emblems whose possession led to horrific disagreements which provide decentralized governance.

The Anyuak ethnic community inhabitant is estimated according to the Sudan census of 2008 to be 165 thousand, (Akobo 65 thousand), while Pochalla is about 100 thousand) and the total population of the Anyuak monarchy community is165 thousand people in South Sudan. Furthermore, the Ethiopian Anyuak ethnic community inhabitant is estimated to be 300 thousand people.

The Anyuak monarchy has six major subclasses of which three are in the Republic of South Sudan. They are known as Ciro Anyuak (Akobo), Tiernam and Adongo (Pochalla), in Ethiopia Anyuak sub-clans are Openo, Lul and Juor. On international maps, rivers become natural borders. This provided an unfair division of South Sudanese and Ethiopian Anyuak peoples by former colonial masters.

Royal emblems or heirlooms such as spears, iron, thrones, drums, and especially
precious bead known as Oshwak are ensconced in oral tradition of these peoples. In 1910 control of them went to His Majesty Nyeya Akwei war Cham. Two years later the Anglo-Egyptian Administration became aware of this aristocracy. Whose leader is the grandfather of the current Nyeya, His Majesty Akwei Agada Akwei. He succeeded his brother late Nyeya Adongo Agada Akwei who went back to river (pass way) in Nairobi, Kenya 2011. Thier father late Nyeya Agada Akwei Cham took the throne at age 12. Primogeniture reigns.

Ottio village is the headquarters of the royal Anyuak monarchy sited in the Pochalla area of Boma state.

In colonial days the British District Commissioner of Akobo District subsidized the Nyeya at a salary of one Sudanese pound per month.

In 1942 at age 20 the late Nyeya Agada war Akwei was installed as Nyeya and reigned for 58 years.

He was elevated from a job as a messenger in the Akobo District post office. In 2000 he went back to the river. Prince Adongo Agada Akwei replaced his father in accordance with a legngi an Anyuak word for will in March 2011. He was followed by Prince Adosh Agada and then the current H.M. Akwei Agada Akei. Naming the three sons publicly was designed to avoid any controversy among the children and among the Adongo Anyuak subclan community. The different between the Anyuak and Collo monarchies are that, the Anyuak monarchy is decentralized (many Nyeya (Kings), while the Collo monarchy is centralized (one Reath (King).

H.M Nyeya Adongo Agada Akwei died November 30, 2011 in Nirobi, Kenya, at age 52. He was succeeded by his step brother current H.M Nyeya Akwei Agada Akwei on April 25.2012 as Oshwok Nyeya. He was the 24th Nyeya of the Adongo Anyuak monarchy sub-clan at age 48.

The author can be reached at email: dhano01obongo@gmail.com



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  • 2 November 2016 18:03, by Midit Mitot

    Nonsense, poor statistics that population of 165 and 300 is not correct, where do you get this fake number?

    repondre message

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