Biong Children Promoted Into Adulthood at Makol Chuei

Biong Community in Makol Chuei Boma have recommended their children to go through the initiation into adulthood ceremony as part of cultural remembrance of Jieng (Dinka) community in South Sudan.

Biong Children Promoted Into Adulthood at Makol Chuei
The ‘adults’ at Makol Chuei Boma after the initiation ceremony. [Jacob Achiek Jok]

By Jacob Achiek Jok

BOR, 27 December 2012 [Gurtong] – Jok Peter Mayom, a student at Malakal University said that the initiation into adulthood ceremonies always takes place in July or August annually but because of education some children who study in Uganda and Kenya did not participate the scheduled times.

Jok brother was among the children promoted into childhood and said that many children had came from Uganda to participate in the initiation.

“Some of the children were coming from schools in Uganda and it is the right time for them to get in to adulthood at this time although it is not the right time for them, we prepare so that they can join together with their age mates,” Jok said.

Nearly 40 Children were initiated and the removal of the lower canines and mark of faces as a sign of maturity in Bor community no longer exists within the community.

The Abang community in Kolnyang Payam has celebrated the initiation ceremony for the new generation in Malual Chaat last September.

The initiation which is done for boys between the ages of 15 and 16 encourages the passing of cultures from one generation to another.

 “The initiation ceremony is important for Dinka Communities we in Bor do celebrate on the final day of graduation. When a boy reaches the age of 16 years then he is promoted to adulthood and promoting him requires a lot of things,” said Mangok Ageny, an elder from Abang community.

The children have been staying together for almost 20 days where they are recruited voluntarily.

When the new generation is promoted to adolescent stage, the elders gather and advise the new youth so that they take up their responsibilities.

During the initiation ceremonies the young adults are taught how to take care of family responsibilities and care for their younger brothers and sister if the boys are first born.

The most important culture asset of the Dinka is the cattle camp, where all social activities; traits and behaviours including dheeng, valour, generosity and respect for social norms are cultivated. Dinka literature remains orally expressed in songs, poems, and folklore.

The different Dinka sections have evolved their different articles of arts, music and folklore. There are of course many different types of dance formations and songs. The common art is that of war: spear and stick.

The Dinka start practicing stick and spear duelling with great dexterity from their youth.

A graduate, Ajok Arou Ajok said that he was impressed with the initiation to adulthood and was looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities in handling matters.

Ajok is a student in Kampala, Uganda but he was home to attend the initiation ceremony for his age group in Bor.

 “I came to attend the ceremony together with my group, I am happy to be with them here, I will leave for Uganda tomorrow for my studies and I should not forget the cultural day,” he said.

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