By Mawien Marko
OPINION – In early July 2019, I managed to visit the Royal palace in Fashoda, the land of the Shulluk tribe. The reason for the trip was on humanitarian basis. The king was as hospitable as his servants. In spite of the fear caused by Johnson Olony’s rebels on the ground, the king and the former governor of Fashoda assured us of our safety.
The World Vision International (WVI) humanitarian team consists of 14 members representing the three (3) regions that made up South Sudan. Before our activities began, King of Cholo blessed our work. When we later on met the king, he spoke to us in the Shulluk dialogue. Although our brothers from Padang and Nuer both understand Cholo language.
Another young girl, Doreen, happened to be an Acholi by tribe and I were the only ones from Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria respectively and the king was glad to hear that this team represented all the people of South Sudan. In the afternoon at about 4 o’clock, the team completed the work and planned to return to Kodok, the former state capital of Fashoda state.
Kodok is one of the oldest towns along the Nile River established by the British in early 1830s in the modern Sudan. I can say that Kodok seems to be more developed than my own home town of Tonj. Before leaving the palace, His Majesty the King of Cholo gifted us with a he goat that looked smaller in our eyes, and told his paramount chief to facilitate our return to our base as we take the goat along with us to Kodak town, but when it was later slaughtered, the team couldn’t do finish it because it grew larger that was when we realized the goat was a blessing from His Majesty the King.
The most interesting thing I remember from the Palace is the beautiful traditional grass thatched cottages I saw there. The palace has built several traditional thatched houses on higher ground. There were 200 servants at the King Palace. When you walk into those beautiful thatched huts, and you will never know or guess where the king sleeps.
The king sits under a pig tree at the end of the yard. When a servant or visitor comes to the king, he/she takes off his or her shoes and go barefoot to the place where the king is sitting. They had to bend their knees and bow their heads to avoid eye contact with the king. The consequences are endless. It doesn’t make you rich or get rich.
To be continued!
The author is a South Sudanese citizen and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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