Obituary: Celebrating The Inspirational Life Of The Late Sultan Dhor Ariik Mawien

Friday, January 15, 2020 (PW) — On 4th January 2021, Lou Ariik Community of Tonj Region regrettably lost an important person in its leadership. Late Sultan Dhor Ariik Mawien also known as Marengdit, a long serving Paramount Chief for Greater Bahr el Ghazal’s Dinka community died Peacefully in his home village and he was laid to rest in Longkap on the same day.  The Greater Community and family were shocked to have lost such an irreplaceable person who had helped the community stay united throughout his period of service.

The members of the family and the region were saddened by the unfortunate news and mourned for the death of Marengdit. However, our miserable mood was raised to better when South Sudanese from different walks of life came in to wipe off the tears in our faces and asked for calm for the demise of the Great Father and a patriotic nationalist, Late Dhor-Marengdit.


Biography of Late Dhor Ariik Mawien 

1. His origin and birth

➢ Late Sultan Dhor Ariik Mawien also known as Marengdit was born in January 1926

➢ He was born in Longkap Village of Lou Ariik Area, in Akop region of Tonj – Warrap State.

➢ He was born to his Father Sultan Ariik Mawien Ariik and his Mother Akit Madut Wol

➢ Marengdit was the 3rd born in the family of 4 brothers and 2 sisters

➢ Marengdit was a son to the first wife among Ariik Alomngar’s 17 wives.

➢ Dhor was taken to school as young boy but he got dropped out from school after contracting an illness

➢ Marengdit died at the age of 95 years on Jan 4th , 2021 in Akok Village, Lou Ariik.

➢ Marengdit survives in his 52 children of his 13 wives!

2. His Leadership Services

✓ Sultan Dhor Ariik was appointed a chief in 1971 after his Brother Ring Ariik was killed by a helicopter in Belbouch.

✓ While serving as an Executive Chief for Lou Ariik Area, Dhordit was at the same time the Paramount Chief of Akop Region in Tonj – Serving as the President of Regional Court till his demise.

✓ Dhordit has served as a paramount chief for 50 years making him one of the longest serving leader in South Sudan.

✓ As a young chief he had participated in the writing of Wanh Alel Customary Laws (Ganun Wanh Alel) widely used in South Sudan.

✓ He has served as an expert of traditional courts across Dinka Nation and beyond.

✓ Marengdit is founding Father of the Lou Ariik Age Set known as Machar Anyar Generation in 2005.

3. Youth activities

➢ Dhordit grew up with a lot of responsibility, courage and integrity and he was widely respected by his age mates.

➢ Throughout his youthfulness, he had lived a simple life within his Dinka Community doing cattle rearing and farming activities.

➢ He had been involved in several battles of external aggression safeguarding his area and the territory.

➢ As a giant young man he survived an attempt by a buffalo to kill him.

➢ Sultan Marengdit as a patriot joined the Anyanya-1 Liberation Movement in pursue of South Sudanese freedom. Upon his return to the village due to the arrest of his brother Marengdit was arrested and sentenced to death until the then District Commissioner, Toby Maduot intervened.

➢ Marengdit as a liberator was wounded in 1952 defending his territory

4. Marengdit’s Abilities 

➢ Dhor Marengdit was an influential, eloquent and a thoughtful public speaker

➢ He had an extraordinary cleverness and strong memory – making him to be an archive to generations in songs and storytelling.

➢ Marengdit was widely feared because of his wisdom and his firm support for peace and unity throughout his reign.

➢ Dhor Marengdit was popularly known as a powerful spiritual leader feared by many.

➢ He had quality leadership and powers of decision-making and control of situations

➢ During war of Liberation of SPLM, Dhordit used to mobilize Human and Material Resources to support the war of Liberation across Akop & Tonj Region.

5. Marengdit’s Roles in PEACE mediation 

❖ He participated in Ganyliel Peace Talk between Dinka and Nuer as prominent individual in 1975

❖ He was part of Chabok Peace Initiative between Agaar and Jalwau Communities 1995

❖ Marengdit was part of Peace Mediation between Agaar & Gok Communities in 1993

6. Dhor Ariik can be remembered of his statements of wisdom:

1. “I am the chief of the widows, the orphans and the poor,” Dhordit statement

2. “No person can start harvesting his crops without thinking of where to keep them,” he said this statement in reference to Situation of which South Sudan is full of illegal firearms which have nowhere to keep them.

3. “Who are the parents of the militia (nyigat)?” he said this in support of peaceful social cohesion 

Sultan Dhor Ariik Mawien: From 1926 to 2021 (95 years) 1971 to 2021 (50 yrs) as a customary chief.

The Biography and Information Committee for the celebration of the life of Sultan Dhordit wants to thank all those who have come to the Funeral for standing with us during this tough time. You have eased our pain, although our tears still flow often and freely, we now know we can turn to you at times of difficulties. We know we have support and solidarity from several families and communities, thank you for being there for us.

We are content to know we have people like you to turn toduring and at tough times. Thank you for your support during our time of loss. Thank you for the words of encouragementduring this painful time. The statements were genuinely touching and reassuring. Thank you for pouring comforting words into our hearts. The Family and Lou Ariik Communitywill always remember your kindness.

Truly speaking the Funeral which turned out to be a celebration of life for Sultan Dhor Ariik was made possible because of the contributions done by many people from the Greater Dinka Communities and South Sudan at large. The celebration events took place in Lou Ariik Area, Tonj, Wau, Warrap Town and in Juba simultaneously. In all these places several bulls were killed according to Dinka Culture and Religion as we all know that Dhor Marengdit was popularly known as a powerful spiritual leader feared by many.

In Lou Ariik Area, the home village of Sultan Dhordit, several bulls amounting to 50 were slaughtered and killed during the celebration that has continued for 8 days whereas in Juba 12 bulls were slaughtered. The celebration in Tonj and Wau had three bulls slaughtered in each location while for Warrap Town one bull was killed. Therefore, a number of 69 bulls were altogether slaughtered to celebrate the life of our great dad. When someone has left us, the sadness surrounds us all. To know that you stand with us and support us has been so uplifting and has given us the strength to face each day. Thank you so much!

According to Dinka culture and beliefs the death of a spiritual leader leads to certain practices during and after the mourning period. For example, the dead have to be accorded due respect with the consequence that, among other things, with all ceremonies that befit it; no farming and other economic activities are to take place in the vicinity of the bereaved area, because the dead is mourned by the community, and not simply by the family. People stood with us in making this possible when our great man left us in the beginning of January 2021.

We particularly thank the support the community has got from Aguok Kuei Community, Apuk Padoc, Lou Paher, Awan Aparek, Konggor & the Agaar Dinka Communities. We also recognize the support and solidarity from Greater Gogrial and Greater Tonj Communities. We thank the people of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes and Western Bahr el Ghazal states for standing with us to reduce our pains in the hearts. We equally thank the people of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria for coming to us during this mourning period.

Marengdit was born in 1926 and died in January 2021, he had lived for 95 years. Marengdit like any other African Leaders, the exact month and date of his birth are not known. He had served as a Paramount Chief for 50 years, since his appointment in 1971.

As we conclude this Thank You Message to those who have helped us in one way or another during this tough time; and as we know that the spirits of the dead ones can help us if we call upon them; We say That: “May the Spirit of our Late Sultan Dhordit Bless you all for Standing with Us During this time of family’s hardship.”

Let us pray that the spirit and the soul of Late Marengdit behighly received and welcomed in the paradise among the souls of our ancestors and forefathers who have come there beforehim.


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