Compiled by Elbow Chuol,
Dec 07, 2015(Nyamilepedia) —- Not many people know him but he is there, a young man full of talents. Some called him Chimpanzee and others used his mother name, Gatwech Nyalol. In Nuer culture calling a man by his mother is despicable and suggest a lot. The person is either a ladies man or is raise up by her mother.
For a typical Nuer man, it is not acceptable. For an ordinary Kikuyu man, it isn’t a big deal. But not here in Nuer land where social norms are much observed and still maintained. For a conservative Nuer, being named after your father is everything.
He was here once a refugee, growing up in Dimma refugee camp completely knowing nothing about what the future hold. For him, the last time he was in Sudan, was 1993, when his village burnt down by neighboring clans, Lou Nuer. Zekzek was the place he ever lived to have known since he was born.
Gatwech is a young man with an ability of combination. He can do anything, adoptable to anything and try anything. Time and space perhaps are his limits. A boy once knowing only how to carry a toy guns, part of his life was builds on being aggressive, culture of war predominately dominate his lifestyle. He could boost of shooting someone who will burn his house again one day.
But this was more than 19 years ago. Now life is different, he is looking into future with smiles and heart full of services for humanity.
“I almost give-up in life.” Gatwech would reputably tell me for the first time we came into contact.
Tall but light skinned. Not very athletic and most of the times, he referred to himself, “Chimpanzee” a nickname invented by his friends, “I consider other people doing better than me and so I keep trying anything because I know I can do it”, we called that an art of putting others above you- humbleness.
Gatwech Can Do Anything
Born in Nasir, 1987 the very year Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLA) made a major breakthrough in Eastern Jikany and captured Jekow from Arabs. Jekow a small village bordered Ethiopia East of then Sudan. It was hotly contested area once by the forces of the rivalry Sudan Army Force and Sudan People Liberation Movement.
As a footballer, Gatwech begins to desire playing football back in the days when Ronaldo of Brazil was a name of every households in Africa. Every child would love to be called Rolando. Pelee back was a darling of the continents.
For those who came to know about him. He started to plays as defender in Gambella under the age of 13 in 1998. The same year he was dispatched to Addis Ababa to compete in the National level. They lost against Afar Province.
After realizing his team was defeated because their goal keeper was not serving well, he joined training as a goalkeeper. The same year he was rank one of the best goalkeeper in Western Ethiopia. From 2006 to 2008 Gatwech was chosen to plays for Ethiopia National Team as goalkeeper.
In 2009 Gatwech went back to Gambella found people training on High Jumps. He joined and became the best in the region. In National Level, Gatwech won in the whole country. He was among those selected to represent Ethiopia in Kenya in 2010. For Africa Junior Athletic Championship held in Nairobi, Kenya he emerged number nine in line.
In 2011 in Mozambique for All Africa Olympic Championship, he go back home being six in line. After encountering some minor legs injury, he joined military for a full year training. For the last five years, he have been an active soldier serving the Ethiopia government.
Out of boredom or somewhat he tried something new, Music. “I decided to try something new. I realized from football to athletic and then being in military is not enough. I go for music. I thought I wouldn’t be famous but I knew I can do a good music.”
Gatwech now as a musician, something one couldn’t imagine he can. He wanted to preserve Nuer culture. Like many other musicians he refused to be hip hop singer or sing love songs. He went for Nuer Traditional songs.
“Many people, I mean many Nuer people born outside south Sudan or in Gambella do have some problem about Nuer traditional culture. And I wanted this culture to last. So I begin to sing traditional songs.”
Being the purpose for him to joined music industry, “I didn’t care of making money. I asked myself, will people love my music and what kind of music will they like.”
Some of his songs like “Liro” which he released last year top Ethiopia Chart for the last 10 months. Featured by Ethiopia famous multi singer, Asne Abate. Liro emerged from top hundred to fifty, and then from fifty to thirty and from thirty to fifteen and now to top three nationwide. The song, became the favorite traditional song plays during cultural festivals in Ethiopia.
By the end of 2015 Gatwech believed their song will wins as one of the Nation and Nationalities song of the year in Ethiopia. Liro since last year of October, it has more than 71,000 viewers on YouTube. It is perhaps one of the most viewed traditional song ever produced from Western Ethiopia.
Now the young man is planning to joins movie industry. “I want to start with Ngundeng movie so our people can have a flash back on our past historical records.” He added.
Life with Gatwech Hoth as young south Sudanese adopting a new life in Ethiopia may not be that simple but like many other south Sudanese in diaspora, he is making something out of himself. Perhaps he is one man with a beautiful dream about his future.