Lulubo Community Celebrates Annual Kejiwaya Traditional Festival

The Lulubo Community in Central Equatoria State this week celebrated their annual ‘Kejiwaya’ festival in Lokiliri Payam starting with the Duar loosely translated as “hunting” carried out by the young people and able bodied men who go for the Duar at dawn.

Lulubo Community Celebrates Annual Kejiwaya Traditional Festival
Lulubo celebrating Kejiwaya traditional festival in Lokiliri Payam, Central Equatoria State. [Juma John Stephen]

By Juma John Stephen

JUBA, 30 January 2013 [Gurtong] – Well, the Lulubo people are traditionally engaged in hunting, which they considered both as cultural practice as well as an economic activity.

The communities mainly hunt for wild pigs and bush rats.

During the celebrations, they matched with their animals in front of the audience for the public to approve the resilience of the youth.

The result of the Duar is followed seriously by the community leaders who are known as the “Monyimiji” meaning elders of the community. According to the Executive Chief, Vitalino Wani Kwele of Lokiliri Payam this year the youth came empty handed from the Duar meaning there is no progress and the ancestors did not approve.

Speaking to one of the organizers of the occasion, he said before the youth could go for the Duar there used to be cleansing of the traditional spear, bow and arrow including the people who are to carry out the Duar, but the man who used to do that had died years ago.

“Kejiwaya is a symbol of unity, togetherness, peace and reconciliation among us the Lulubo people. This is one of our cultural identities that we always celebrate since,” said the Executive Chief Vitalino Wani.

“The Kejiwaya normally starts with the Duar early in the morning and then at noon time we start the speeches and celebration, then in the evening is now the dancing Kejiwaya dance,” he said.

The Lulubo still maintain a centralized socio-political set up through age-set system known as the ‘Eelengera’ who are the ruling group. They are very important factor in the socio-political management of the Lulubo society.

“The Eelengera have five year team in office after the five years they go back to the mountains to review their plans and see how they have achieved in improving the lives of the community. It is at this meeting that they can decide whether to have more five years or give up to another new group of Eelengera,” Wani said.

The Lulubo terrain is hilly with shrubs and tall grass and they have an agro based economy by cultivating crops like sorghum, sim sim, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, millet, and cassava.

The Executive Chief explained that the name Lokiliri “ is a very small stream in between the Mountains deep there, it does not dry. We used to drink from there including our animals. That is where we got the name Lokiliri.”

The Lulubo invest most of their time in honey collection and extract edible oil from the shea nuts. Most of those guests who went to witness the celebration found their names among those lined up to receive honey worth five liters.  

The Lulubo have rich culture, there was dancing and ululations under the huge mango trees, shea nut trees marking the Kejiwaya. Leading Lulubo leaders from the State and National government made their way down to Lokiliri to join their people. The Kejiwaya is danced according to age-groups and class.  

The Lulubo are bordered by the Lokoya, to the North-East, the Bari to the West, Madi and Acholi to the South and Lotuko to the East and South-East. The inter-ethnic conflicts were usually triggered by competition over hunting grounds and cattle raids. The representative of the Governor for the celebration Col. Vincent Kujo said border issues will be solved.

Like many other communities, the Lulubo have been affected by modernity with all its negative aspects like the erosion of social and cultural values. Christian elites emerged among the Lulubo whose interests are definitely tied up with the total change and being part of the wider Christianity.

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