Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 23 July 2017

Mobil roundabout’s another victim after CE & Juba market

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By Deng Kiir Akok

I was a bit late to arrive at London Cafeteria in Atlabara, Tumbura road where a friend of mine invited me for lunch last Thursday, Jul 20, 2017.

On my way to the cafeteria, I received almost five telephone calls from him asking for my current location while coming. I told him I was at Mobil roundabout.

As though I had invited the problem, one bus passenger that was sitting next to me nodded his head, feeling sorry for the name I used to call the roundabout.

" What? Come again! Why don’t people ask for the name of the place if they are not familiar with before locating themselves to others," said the passenger in a loud voice? Then he looked around trying to see his sympathisers.

In 2011, the then Central Equatoria state (CE) demolished the part of the Juba Market with the intention to turn it into a Square.

The part of the market that was demolished was then fenced off from the neighbouring buildings, including Juba main prison in the south-east, Juba northern sector police in the east, Ivory bank in the north and Jubadit store in the west.

People were trying it very hard to figure out what exactly would the state do for the demolished part of the market.

A rumour didn’t take patience and it had that this place, once the demolishing is over, would be surveyed and redistributed to their former owners. So shockingly, it was signposted Jubek Square overnight.

The square was named after Jubek, a British colonial period Bari paramount chief with his base at Kondokoro Island. Also the current capital of South Sudan, Juba derived its name from him.

It was time for Jubek state to put something to honour their fallen hero. He was to be remembered in this particular place thought other places with such name are coming soon.

In 2015, the president of the Republic of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, had issued a decree creating twenty-eight states from ten states. This was the first time for South Sudanese to give names that are not of geographical or political background to their States.

Most of the former ten States’ name didn’t make a comeback in which the former Central Equatoria State was one of them.

The move marked the end of the British colonialists’ and Khartoum’s meaningless and war mongering names for the then southern Sudanese residential areas such as Atlabara, Rujal Mafi in Juba, Jubek State and Kor-sahud in Kuacjok, Gogrial State.

However, the northern Sudanese and British colonialists, in particular, seem to have been defeated in pronouncing southern Sudanese names for people and places.

But they never gave up calling these names. Thus, their poor pronunciations led to the creation of different names apart from the existing ones as the like of Gakrial that becomes Gogrial.

The same thing happened to the present day Wau which was called Wath. Toc becomes Tonj, Mading Ayuel to Awiel, and other towns that share the same grievances and didn’t appear in this list.

No name that got correct the pronunciation from the colonialists. Thus, every name for the people of southern Sudan or the place was getting wrong in the mouth of northern Sudanese and British colonial masters.

As the time went, the correct southern Sudanese names were gradually forgotten and completely gone.

Since the current thirty-two states are maximising freedom within their territories, the governor of Jubek State, Augustino Jadallah Wani renamed Mobil roundabout ’Jubek roundabout on May 18, 2017.

The renaming ranked Mobil in the third position in the list of places that saw a drastic change of their original names into chief Jubek’s name after the former Central Equatoria State and part of the Juba market.

Mobil is an American oil company that operates petrol stations in many countries including South Sudan.

It had in the past a petrol station at this roads join lying between All Saints Cathedral church and Juba teaching hospital before selling it to Petronas, then to foil and finally to the Nile Petroleum Corporation.

The majority of Dinkas assumes that the place was called Mabil, a Dinka word for a male cow with dark brown colour covering a large part of its body with some white colour. Instead, it was just a coincident that brings their bull’s colour Mabil near to Mobil.

Although the statue of chief Jubek at the roundabout is now looking good with a cowboy hat, a hoe, bow and arrows, still it would miss many generations without calling it Jubek roundabout.

The council should have learned from the experience of the former Meridian Hotel at Suk al-Arabi in Khartoum which was renamed Regency. No one never calls this accommodation industry with its newly acquired name.

If at all the city council wanted to have a good number of places named after chief Jubek, they should have looked for nameless places. Streets are good examples.

To conclude this piece of writing, I hold no bad intention against the State’s will but just putting suggestions so as to help it avoid clashes of names like the current confusion in the former Mobil roundabout.

Another thing for the city council to have done was to put a signpost bearing the new name for the roundabout such that it directs whoever pass that place.

Also, I would have welcomed the council’s decision if it had built Schools apart from Jubek Model Secondary school in Gudele, public libraries, museums, and then name them after Jubek.

In doing so, all the people living in the capital Juba regardless of their nationalities would never miss mentioning this Bari infamous name in their everyday lives.

The writer is a blogger with blog address https://dengkiirsouthsudan.blogspot.com. He can be reached at dengkiirsouthsudan@gmail.com.



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