Prominent Elder,Toby Mawien Ariik, Dies At 87 Amid Family Tragedy

Toby Mawien Ariik, An Elder Leader From Warrap State, Died On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 At The Residence Of His Daughter In Juba’s Thongpiny Residential Area.

OBITUARY

JUBA, 27 June 2014 [Gurtong] –  The body was flown to Wau town on Friday 27 June 2014 and was accompanied on its final journey by a number of government officials, in support of his children and grandchildren. He was laid to rest in the village at Akok in Warrap State and leaves behind a huge legacy of service and successful leadership to his family, his home community and his nation.

The deceased, who was popularly known as Uncle Toby, hailed from Lou Ariik area in Tonj North County, where he was born in 1927.  He was one of the sons of the late Paramount Chief Ariik Mawien, who was appointed by the British during the colonial period in Sudan. Anthony Agiem Akot, a Lou Ariik community elder, described the late thus:  “Mawien Toby was a very unique, eloquent and respected person among his colleagues and the whole of South Sudan”, adding that “Being known as son of Paramount Chief Ariik Mawien he gained a lot of fame among his colleagues and within his family.”

Uncle Toby was among the first generation of South Sudanese to gain formal education and attended his first bush school in 1936 at Longkap, in his own village. He later attended the current Juba Commercial School, training as a clerk and account. He was appointed as Chief Accountant in Thiet Rural Council upon his graduation. He later moved into politics and was elected to the national parliament in Khartoum from 1973 to 1977. He was among the few South Sudanese who participated in writing the first Sudanese constitution to recognize the rights to autonomy and self-government of the South Sudanese.

Uncle Toby was later appointed as a commissioner for Tonj District from 1982 to 1984, before joining the South Sudan war of liberation in the mid-1980s, where he served as a chief mobilizer for SPLA support. He later became an SPLA/M relief officer when he joined community leaders in the SPLA – controlled areas. Upon his return to the village, Uncle Toby established a number of bush schools in SPLA-liberated areas until 1994, when he was appointed as secretary for Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA) in Akop Payam, directing relief food and essential medical supplies to the war-affected areas.

Uncle Toby was married and is survived by many children and grandchildren. His 6th daughter Kuei-Bileu Toby Mawien, herself now an elder, took care of her father in his final days. She paid him this touching tribute: “I am very proud of my dad. He was a successful leader who has taken care of his large family of 40 direct children, his lovely 9 wives, and a number of grandchildren. He took care of us and as well as the interest of our country.” Kuei-Bileu continued, “My dad has left a very great legacy behind him. He loved education and he has supported and taught many people. We the children will make sure that his legacy is preserved and we must make more than he has done to help our people.”

Kuei-Bileu reported that her father had suffered a long illness, having been treated for diabetes in South Sudan and abroad. She added that, tragically, his recent death was prompted by the shock of hearing that two sons had been killed in the village. “His son, the last born of the first wife, died in the village and the only boy of the sister was also killed. When he learned this he was abruptly shocked.”

Lou Ariik, Tonj North, and indeed the entire nation of South Sudan, are left poorer for the passing of one of our pioneers, patriots, and faithful servants, who fully deserve to rest in peace, remaining cherished in our collective memory

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