October 1, 2012 (RUMBEK) – The governor of Lakes state, Chol Tong Mayay, has sent a message of condolence to the family Nyankol Mathiang, one of the state’s most prominent artists, who died on 22 September.
- Abyei singer Nyankol Mathiang, Rumbek, 2010 (ST)
Her exact cause of death remains unclear although Juba hospital said she was suffering from a respitatory problem.
Tong said Mathiang, who was known for her nationalistic songs, will be remebered as a “visionafry woman who fought strongly for the recognition of her homeland; Abyei.”
Abyei is a contested region on the border between South Sudan and its northern neighbour. Recent negotiations between the two countries held in Ethiopia failed to reach a conclusion on the future of the region.
Tong also stated that a school “must be opened” in Mathiang’s name.
Tong explained that he was personally indebted to Mathiang as, as well as her “role the during the struggle as a patriot” she supported his 2010 election campaign.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) secretary for information, culture and communication, Bol Makueng Yuol, said Mathiang had written songs which reminded people about the situation in Abyei and had been a “freedom fighter” since the 1960s.
Government spokesperson, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said Mathiang’s death was a great loss to the people of South Sudan and particularly to the people of Abyei. He said she wrote inspiring songs during the struggle and told the history of South Sudan and of Abyei through her songs.
Marial said the government will fly Mathiang’s remains to to a an undisclosed location for burial. There are reports that the return of South Sudan president, Salva Kiir, from negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, is being awaited before the funeral commences.
Many South Sudanese citizens have sent in tributes to the great icon for having composed courageous songs which she will be remembered for.