Dancing and wrestling in America, the Dinka way

The wrestling match

(Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA) - Sunday, September 5, 2010 was the day of the most publicized Bor annual cultural festival that supposedly included a wrestling match between Chol Biar Ajak (of Awulian, Twic East County), and Ayuiu Mach Dhuol (Aliek-Anyar, of Nyichak, Bor South County). 

Ayuiu Mach Dhuol (Aliek-Anyar), and his team was the first to arrive at the Park roughly at 3:00 pm. They were seen circling around the park while led into singing by their renowned soloist, Loi Deng Nai (uncleloi, the moderator of Borglobe.com). They were overheard singing the most recent songs (such as Thundie ee ayot e gadena yic and others). They couldn’t wait to see the other team to arrive at the scene.dinkabor
                                              Some of the Dinka Bor cultural festival dancers (Photo courtesy of Juarwel Kosia Kuany Mabior)

But as expected, Chol Biar Ajak, and his team arrived at the scene not long after and were overheard singing the mostly known Awulian’s song called “Awulian e wa jo rot them ee).  You could see that both teams were fit and ready to duke it out and what would have happened was a matter of speculations. No one group was expected to accept defeat as each was trying to hype the strength and might of their leading wrestler (meaning Ayuiu Mach e Dhuol, and Chol e Biar Ajak).

Of course, Grand Rapids, Michigan was not Bor Town; and neither was it Kolyang Payam or Wangulei Payam. It wasn’t Lualajokbil or Chuei e Keer either. This is a city in the United States of America governed by municipal ordinances as well as the state and federal laws.

 It wasn’t clear if wrestling match was permitted by the law and even if it did, there were other concerns that warranted the cancellation of the wrestling match. What if the wrestling turned into violence should either of the teams refuse to concede and accept the defeat? What if one or more people get injured? Do they have insurances? What will happen to their jobs or careers as a result of such incident?

It was in light of those concerns that the Bor Community leadership in Michigan canceled the wrestling match and opened the room for a quick start of the annual dance.

Ayuiu Mach and Biar Ajak were called to come forward, and asked to put off the wrestling match until they go back home (Southern Sudan) because the reality of American life does not permit it. They relented, hugged each other, and that ended the pressure for wrestling contest.

The Bor Dinka dance

The Bor Dinka dance commenced immediately, and it was the most attended dance ever here in the US. It filled the park in the magnitude in which dances used to fill the parks back then at Kakuma.

 It took 4 hours until the dancers were exhausted and people would not leave the park until 8:00 pm. Other festivities such as singing in circles (Ayem) followed.

Once people decided to drive back to their hotels and homes, the traffic jam was so huge that Grand Rapids Police had to intervene to direct it.

On Monday, September 6, 2010, the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, empted out as all were seen heading to their destinations.

New Bor leadership

The Trio that makes up the elected leadership is heading back to their own destinations. The President, Deng Lueth Mayom, is heading back to Kansas City, Missouri; the Vice President, Chiengkuach Mabil Majok, is heading to Burlington, Vermont; and the Secretary, Maluak Malou, is heading back to Tennessee.

Nothing is to be speculated but there is a daunting task ahead for this leadership team. They have to appoint the rest of the members of their leadership team in the days ahead. They will soon get to work as soon as they assemble their leadership team.

Nevertheless, the conference as well as the elections, and annual festival went as planned and this far exceeded many people expectations. It is not clear if Michigan Bor Community will still be in charge of the festivities now that Bor Community has a united elected leadership to run its affairs here in the USA. All these issues will be reported as they unfold in the days ahead.

Akol Aguek Ngong contributed the final report of the Greater Bor Community Annual Conference from Grand Rapids, Michigan