In 1947 Sir Both Diu Attended the Juba Conference To Decide the Future of South Sudanese
By Elbow Chuol,
Monday, November 16, 2015(Nyamilepedia) —- Just as Cairo is a name coined by the Naath (Nuer), who inhabited the land of Egypt more than 4,000 years ago; under the yolks of the King of Babylon, who had been enslaving the black Africans living along the Nile, building pyramids, a group of Nilotic tribe decided to move south of Egypt and leaving behind a pretty woman, married to a stranger in the King’s palace.
As they walked away, moving slowly in the ocean of desert, an old man who would not make it to their destination clogged, looked behind and matched back to his daughter with a silver iron made from Meroae’s blacksmith. He put it on her left hand and bless her -“Kie-ro Nyada” (Cairo) – meaning produced yourself my daughter and you shall emerge victoriously!
It is important to recall the history which vividly reminds us that Arabs are mere migrants on the land of Egypt – The land of Kush and Nubian – during the conquest of King Ottoman. Since they began coming into contact with Kush people of Egypt years back, not only did their system of education and trade impressed the indigenous black Africans, their culture was highly integrated.
Who knew the boy whom she gave birth with could be the famous king of Egypt? King Tut-khana-men (meaning here is the male that saved) who became known as King Tutankhamen by European settlers and historians, who wisely used their well-advanced knowledge to inject additional information to what they consider their discovery. Wrong pronunciation changes the name, Tut-khana-mun to Tutankhamen. Who doesn’t know that Mt. Kenya was known as Kirinyanga, now changed and badly pronounced by the British tourists as Kenya, claiming to have discovered an already known mountain for centuries by the local people living around Mountain of Kirinyanga?
King Tut ruled Egypt for 10 years as a Pharaoh until his death at age of 19, around 1324 B.C. He was the ever first King in the history of Egypt who introduced the worship of god Amun (Kuoth Muon, god of the land of my mother). It was an order from the King for all to worship his mother’s god to honor her bravery and courage.
Now for those who may be interested to read about the history, go to the internet and load yourself with hands full of historical facts manipulated by those who claim to know it all. Get confused and disorganized yourself but the truth remain, we Africans can tell our history better.
I heard many people claimed Ngundeng was from Unity State, this was made up by Dr. Douglas Johnson whose translator misled him to draft some of the best events in South Sudanese history. Ngundeng was from Eastern Jikany of Cie-chany a sub-clan of Nuer now living in Ethiopia. Everyone even children know this song. His mother was from Bieh, Lou Nuer.
Now let us get back to the business.
On 12th to 13th of June 1947, a meeting was held and massively attended by Sudanese and their colonial masters. The British Civil Secretary and Sudanese delegates gathered in the city of Juba, the then regional capital of Equatoria province in the southern part of Sudan for the first time in the history of Sudan to draft what was first thought to include the southerners in the Sudanese system.
The Great British organized the conference to combined northern and southern Sudan into one political entity. Something which they tried for the last part of the century but produced no fruits. Though British from the very beginning treated south as a separate state, they don’t want to be ashamed now to name another country in the Sub Sahara not colonized like Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa. They decided after so many years battling Nuer in the South, nothing is easy, the last option was to bring the two part of the country very much divided by culture as one. So, Juba conference was the last option for them to survive their legacy in Sudan, the land of black people, tall and smooth, strange from the beginning. A land whose rivers from the highlands of Ethiopia divide.
The Juba conference did agree on two matters; that northern and southern parts constitute one state, and that a legislative assembly represents the entire colony. These were the most important accounts of the meeting. And the third being how the aggressive southern tribes like Nuer could be contained in the near future, people who are not satisfied by any external power coming into their land to teach them the new ways.
During the scramble and partition for Africans nations by European powers, few tribes were not contained by then, and that is Nuer tribe of then now found in South Sudan and Ethiopia. They were amongst those who badly resisted the colonists. This to British is completely unacceptable. Dealing with people who are naturally egalitarian is not only disturbing to the European colonists’ powers roaming the land of Cush with the Bible in their right hands and guns on the other side.
In the early years of the 1800s, Turks, Anglo- Egyptians attempts to their level best to runs around southern Sudan but met prophet Ngundeng who fought them hard only on self-defense.
However, southern Sudanese representative had several reservations about the resolutions. The important thing about reservations is that they predicted any future problems to the said resolved conflict. Out of 800 administrative posts were vacated by British and four out of such went to southerners. This well-attended conference ended the high point of the British colonial policy known as the southern policy, “which guided British actions in southern Sudan during the period of 1930-1946”. The policy contains some of the worse discriminative lists of things against the southerners.
With few strips of white hairs in his head, lower his sunglass to his nose, his neck-tie now appeared on loose, and part of his suit hanged. On the left corner of the room, second seat exactly few meters away from the Speaker’s chair, Sir Both Diu stood while shaking and now sweats flew down on his face with magic courage, a character he inherited from his ancestors. He beat the table threw the paper containing the agenda in the air and openly with a bold suggestion declared the meeting null and doesn’t met the interest of southern Sudanese.
Sir Both Diu opposed with no fear or favor the hidden agenda conspired against the South Sudanese by the British and their Arabs North counterpart. He walked out of the meeting and today what was more than 50 years ago demanded was massively voted for in 2011. In his hand a white paper with a list of reservations drafted, he didn’t look back and regret less for his decision to walks out of the conference hall. What he was asking was, “we all are here searching for an everlasting solution to Sudan problems right? if this is the only way then this is a long way too. We asked for self-governance as south Sudanese” he was referring to self-determination under the federal system so that his people in the south should enjoy the same privilege like their brothers and sisters from the north. Though it didn’t go well with British Civil Secretary, he rejected the position given to him to serve in a discriminatory government.
These reservations predicted the future separation of the south and north problems which cannot be solved by the policy of appeasement. Four seats out of 800 administrative posts given to Sir Both Diu and his friends didn’t block their vision for future freedom of their people. In fact, my mum told me,
“In that meeting, your grandfather came home a week later to Phom and was very sad having a week of a sleepless night. The collar of his white t-shirt was dirty and he forced me to wash it claiming the boat is leaving the next day to Renk. He felt the mistreatment isn’t going to end not yet in 5 years to come.”
Sir Both Diu grew up in Old Fangak as a young boy who only knows how to grassed cattle. As a young boy knowing nothing about his future. He was known of fighting hard against other boys from the side of the villages. His elder brother, Keat Diu (Father to my mum) foresaw a future in his younger brother. He has begun selling four cows and he sent his younger brother to Khartoum at his cousin place and begun the school.
Sir Both was known in the missionary school in Khartoum as a young man with hot debate especially when it comes to why south where he belongs doesn’t have schools and hospitals. After he completed his grade six he started a school in Malakal deep in southern along the Nile. For many who went to Both Diu High School in Malakal, it was long ago established but met with the odds of life sometimes they brought it down only to be reestablished. He was a dreamer whose dreams are not uttered by the policy of appeasement from his enemies. He is one man pretty well known to fight for his people without being bought or sold.
Ten years in the early morning in the town of “Rom-thur-maan” now commonly known as Omdurman in Arabic. Sir Both Diu being the indigenous citizen of Sudan was marched forward, with sounds of music, men and women stood organized. He lifted up the Sudanese Independent flag from the yolk of British colonists. He runs the country for only seven days and he resigned. He was fighting against colonialism and at the same time self-determination for South Sudanese. He has foreseen that Sudan initially treated as a separate state by the British, using Southern Policy can never be one again.
While they built schools, roads, established health care system, set up companies and correctly put down the administrative posts in most part of Northern Sudan. British shamefully betrayed southern Sudanese by isolating them from the reality of modern progress. Accusing them of being “backward” people who lacked any system to bring them together to constitutes whatever they believed was the best way to teach the world about their advances knowledge. Telling them to kneel down and pray-only to go away with the land leaving them with the Bible in their hands was harshly rejected in Sudan by South Sudanese.
The conference was held and entirely based on British treachery to southern Sudanese tribes referring to them as, “backward.”, unable to fend for themselves without being linked to a larger block.
In discussions to determine the future of the modern state of Sudan, the southerner provinces were largely excluded from the political process, this led to first and second Sudanese civil wars.
To say the least, this wasn’t the beginning for the United Kingdoms to unfaithfully act against the people of southern Sudan. In the 1800s, the southern part of Sudan was known and called “Nuer Nation” because every external power coming to the southern part of the then Sudan met a tough resistance from the Nilotic Nuer of Sudan. They go back praising the bravery and hospitality of this tribe living along the Swamps of Greater Upper Nile disgustingly conspiring against them.
During the British’s careless adventurous in the southern part of the country, they weren’t touring a darkness with torches to identify thorns and swamps blocking their ways. They found, however, some very tough, brave, hospitalized but tall and dark people who unfortunately surprised their research for resources in one of the largest countries in Africa. The Kingdoms agents came into contact with Nuer who resisted them with deep loyalty alongside their brothers who didn’t collaborate with foreigners invading the country from the unknown world.
Sir John Both Diu asked rather for the secession of the marginalized southern in the hands of the British and Turks-Arabs now occupying the northern part of Sudan. But British is not yet satisfied to punished the black people in the south which they see as “backward” and strange people who are empty-headed.
His five minutes presentation filled up the houses with new courage, and everybody in the room now realized a middleman who seems to be the only southern knowing how to wears nice suits is full of vision and mission.
What the kingdom didn’t realize is that Sir Both Dui now in a lengthy power points presentation was interpreting his forefather’s way of life. British knowing very well the records is stolen from the Nuer, Sir Both Diu informed the house with bold and zilch appearance on his face he declared,
“These are our reservations” and he walked out of the meeting. His name Sir Both means leads and so he was a great leader in Sudanese politics. No one did him anything.
Rest in Peace the keeper, the reviver of our forefathers’ dream.
The author, Elbow Chuol, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org