The 5 repaired Lopit community drums displayed with pomp and glamour [©Gurtong]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 8th February 2012 [Gurtong] – The Lopit Community residing in Torit County, one of the multiethnic groups in Eastern Equatoria State celebrated the launch of their 5 repaired and decorated traditional drums, this year's crop harvests and held the annual wrestling competition among other sports.
Lopit community representatives explained that celebrating this years’ crop harvests served as a thanksgiving expression to God for the little given to them.
Launching of their old repaired traditional drums basically meant to accompany the Lopit community traditional dances is also a sign of conserving the community’s cultural heritage.
The three day event which started at the dawn of Friday 27 January 2012 at Iliangi residential area concluded late 29th Sunday evening symbolizes the revival of cultural diversities of South Sudanese as a real pictogram of African cultures.
The Lopit Community Chairperson, Mr. Louis Abalu explained that the 5 launched drums were originally used by the Lopit traditional dancers currently residing in Torit, one of the then Government controlled areas in the former Sudan.
“These drums were abandoned and kept in a small hut where community members have been taking care until their repair. These drums are good for performance; they provide charming bits of melody,” Abalu said.
Gurtong interviewed an elderly person from the community who expressed that, “just like other South Sudanese ethnic clusters, we felt that it was necessary to thank God for better harvests we got this year and for what he has done to us in comparison to the past unfortunate years.”
“This is at least the best news, perhaps a surprise that has never happened before and after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. All those years, our community together with all other South Sudanese communities witnessed great deal of suffering of prolonged hunger. This is a year full of blessings,” he continued.
Lopit Community dancers in action
Mr. Louis Abalu described the musical prowess and characteristics of the newly re-launched drums. The instruments are clearly heard in harmony with pleasant melody. The drums produce unique treble and bass tones when played.
According to Abalu, their dance also plays a significant role in rites of passage; harvest, weddings, birth, funerals including prayers for rains mostly in honour of ancestors. Each dance has its own song with specific meaning.
The annual wrestling event for 2012 was truly interesting since it took long to pronounce the winner. After a long struggle, Mr. Lomoro aged 28 unexpectedly and gallantly emerged the strongest conqueror of all the wrestlers.