By Ariik Atekdit
JUBA 4 August 2014 [GURTONG]- WS Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, Hon. Luka Lual Madhang, revealed that during the past week one of the youth members in Kuac-Ayok Community had become a victim of Dinka fattening culture, dying as a result of the practice. A young man, identified as Aguer Akol of Kuac of Gogrial West County, died because he had been drinking milk since the dry season.
"In Warrap State there is a culture by which youth members drink a lot of milk for five months and beyond just to fatten themselves so that they later on compete over who becomes a winner. The fattest of all in one great community will be announced as the winner for the year. The family and the community then celebrate and praise their son," Minister Madhang explained.
Other problems caused by the practice include the resultant nutritional deprivation of some other members of the same communities, and the fact that fattening youth may fail to contribute to community economic activities, continued the minister.
"…the young men take all the milking cows for food so that they become fat, leaving behind them a vulnerable group in their homes not having any food to eat, because Warrap communities depend on cow milk as food, especially during rainy season," he complained
In addition, the Minister noted: "the culture is teaching our youth laziness because they don't participate in the cultivation of crops when it is time."
Banning the practice may prove difficult due to the strong community support for it, explained Minister Madhang, who gave further details of the circumstances leading to the late youth’s death.
"You know, last year Aguer was reported to have been narrowly defeated in fatness by one of the age-mates. So this year, he declared to himself to be the first … he was coming for competition before arriving to the ground of cultural practice."
According to the culture any young man who becomes victim of the practice is not mourned by his family members, but will be praised for raising the family's name; the area chief area will declare him to be the winner for a series of four years.
"Aguer will not be mourned because he died of riches, according to the Dinka culture. His family according to the culture will be proud to have their son leading the competition for the next four years even though he is now dead. He will be a winner next year and beyond," the Minister said.
However, the Minister regretted the unfortunate death of Aguer Akol, saying that "Any culture that results negatively against the life of a human being must be avoided. Our draft policy in the ministry has identified this culture among those that will be eliminated in Warrap state," Madhang said.
He promised that the fattening culture will be made illegal in Warrap state, and called for support in this effort. "It needs youth, especially the educated ones, to convince their communities and brothers that they should stop it. There is no reason for people to die because of eating. Our members of parliament should help our ministry to campaign against this practice. It is our responsibility to shape our communities and culture. We keep what is good and delete what is bad," he concluded.