DUNGGUL Part 1
ARE THE KUNAMA PEOPLE ALWAYS BEING ACCUSED,
MARGINALIZED, PERSECUTED AND THEIR LAND EXPLOITED? Part 2 Read more
WHY AND HOW DID THE KUNAMA PEOPLE END UP SETTLING IN THE TERRITORY THEY ARE NOW OCCUPYING? Part 3 . 2000-2001 Read more
THE EPLF PFDJ PLAN THE KUNAMA LAND HAS TO BE EMPTIED OF ITS KUNAMA PEOPLE Part 4 (RKPHA April 2001) Read more
IS RISTI AN ALTERNATIVE TO “STATE LAND” IN ERITREA? Part 5 .(The RKPHA November 2001) Read more
WHY BARENTU INSTEAD OF BIARA Part 6 (2002 January by S. Galli) Read more
THE FOUNDERS AND THE PROFITEERS OF “ TERRENO DEMANIALE ” Part 7 (The RKPHA January 2002) Read more
RISTI ANSTI YWAGAALA Part 8 (RKPHA May 2002) Read more
AUF African Unification Front POLICY ON LAND REFORM Part 9 (The RKPHA, June 2002) Read more
Udí, a 97-years-old Kunama, gave us this story on "DUNGGUL", a
prominent Kunama the birth, the life and the death of this person is
full of myths.
story of "Dunggul" in fact, could be considered as part of the Kunama
Kunama though recognising Dunggul as a human being, they have a great
venerate him highly.
Addalla Udí began his story by stating that, "the Kunama people are
divided into four main kinship groups:
Dunggul's offspring, he is Gurma.
is our uncle; that is to say, he was born from our grand-grand-mothers.
time, we did not know any government, nor any other race.
was born at the time the Kunama could settle anywhere they had chosen
father's name was Buti.
was first born a "lion".
he was born, the midwife was so afraid that she immediately tried to
hand him over to his relatives but these too were afraid to touch him.
They gave the midwife an old piece of straw and told her to lay the
Dunggul's relatives then consulted each other and agreed that, even if
they had let it grew up an animal would remain always an animal so they
decided to bury it.
father Buti too went into the house, saw and was convinced that it was
really an animal.
then, arguing that (as a father) he had given the new-born only its life
but that its relatives
decide what to do with it, he left and went to see his brother-in-law.
broke the news to his brother-in-law that his sister had given birth to
a child, the young man reacted by stating that Buti should have bluntly
told him that his sister had died.
then explained that his wife was alive and well but only that the child
was born abnormal that was why he had come to invite her brother to go
and visit her.
encouraged his brother-in-law that a young man like him should have been
strong enough not to weep.
When they both got home and saw that everyone was silent the young man
burst into tears but as he called his sister and got her answer he was
Buti's brother-in-law got a closer look he noticed that the child was
really born a "lion".
born also with amulets on its both arms.
child's uncle, after reflecting carefully, he summoned his
brother-in-law and told him that, instead of burying it alive, they
should lay it in the middle of the cattle-fold, as Buti possessed a lot
The uncle suggested that they lay the new-born among the cattle which
would trample on and kill it during the night so that, the next morning
they would say it had died and bury it.
told, Buti opened the cattle-fold and his brother-in-law carried the
new-born rapped up in the old piece of straw and laid it there.
he was carrying the baby the cattle stood up and made way so that the
young man could walk through and lay the new-born in their midst.
had been laid down, the oxen spread about and rested in their own
that whole night, the oxen neither discharged their excrements, urinated
nor did they move about and touch the baby.
next morning, as the father and uncle went there to let the cattle out,
they found the baby had turned itself from a lion into a human being.
knowing what else to do, they brought it up.
Dunggul would drink "AIFA" (an alcoholic Kunama beverage) not
out of "SEKENA" (a small vessel) but out of "BOSA" (a jar).
Whenever his mother prepared "aifa ", filled a jar and left it for
him, Dunggul would instead use "sekena" to scoop "aifa" and drink out
One day, their village was attacked.
enemy came from two fronts.
ones who had come from the right were defeated. The villagers, uttering
their war cries, faced the enemy; these screamed and those who could
manage ran away; those who could not were eliminated.
enemy coming from the left retreated and fled to safety.
that war, there was a pregnant woman who was just about to flee when
Dunggul told her to remain there and he sat at the door-way and drank
they had killed all the people and went back to look for those hiding
inside the huts, and as they saw Dunggul, they turned back and fled.
Afterwards when he went out and seeing there were no enemies around, he
summoned the woman to him. He told her that he had eaten his last meal
before his death and that she should never go out but hide herself
behind her hut; lie down not on the right but on her left side and not
get up until all the people who had attacked had left as nothing would
happen to her.
waited till the woman went behind her hut and lied down. He then went
back to his place, took his amulets off, deposited them there to guard
the woman and went out without.
enemies saw him they began to flee and Dunggul followed them and not
knowing their language, he used his own Kunama language to tell them
that he himself had brought them there and knowing that was the day of
his death, they were not to be afraid and he kept following them.
Because all those people were afraid, a young shepherd was courageous
enough to go back and, as Dunggul had lifted up his hands and waited,
the young man killed him.
Afterwards when the people had gone back to have a look at him, he did
not have the face of a human being.
people thinking they had killed the Kunama's God, they chopped his head
and took it away.
Dunggul would spend the day with his mother, but he would wander at
up in that manner, kept hold of the whole of God's word and ruled over
Whenever he saw bad times, he would better them without asking anybody.
was one who gave the people peace and happiness.
is God's given and no one has become rich by asking and getting from his
day, three men who hated wealth went to Dunggul and told him that
perhaps some people might be in need of a cowherd, a shepherd or a water
provider for the livestock so they suggested Dunggul made some people
rich and some others poor.
them that the whole power was in God's and not in his hands and that he
was not a god. He refused their suggestion arguing that God himself
would perform all that.
They returned to him a second time and insisted on but Dunggul
categorically refused, making it clear that whatever God had ordered had
come into being.
had gone back to him a third time, he asked them what they really
answered that they wanted nothing else but that he only partitioned the
then threatening to utter words of curse, used a strong language which
made them leave.
his life-time, Dunggul had children and these would follow their
mother's and not their father's traditions (matriarchal system).
is no one (Kunama) who is not a descendant of Dunggul and does not
follow his traditions.
produce children but, according to our Kunama custom, their children
follow the traditions of their mothers and not of their fathers.
Kunama father gives existence to children but these neither bequeath
their father's property nor do their follow the traditions of their
are only referred to as the children (or child) of such and such but
they have nothing else to do with their paternal side.
ones who inherit Dunggul's property (and follow his traditions) are the
children of his sisters (nephews) or those from his near kin.
Dunggul's kinship "fire" is our "taboo".
This has originated from our grand-grand mothers, that is to say that,
this "taboo" has always existed within our Dunggul's kinship.
kinship members who are to take part in the performance of their
traditional wedding ceremonies would not accept as pure anything that
has a scar from burning (fire).
not accept a one-eared animal either because of the "fire taboo".
on the wedding day that this "fire taboo" is observed.
Whoever breaks this "taboo" commits a grave mistake.
wedding, we give the bridegroom a good piece of advice if he marries our
we had advised him should he make a mistake and either verbally insult
or hit her with a burning stick, we expect him to pay us a red cow.
wedding day, we do not use a real fire in the hut of the bride and
bridegroom , but the fire produced, in a cattle manure, by striking two
pieces of wood".
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