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In Aguil Chut Deng, South Sudan Lost a Warrior Queen Blessed With Bewitching Beauty Inside Out

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By: Deng Vanang

Death has robbed the country of a devoted revolutionary comrade both loved and loathed across the political divide in the name of Aguil Chut Deng. The renowned female freedom fighter and fiery politician passed on at the age of 58 on 26 April, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia where she resettled as a refugee from 1996 to 2010.

Aguil Chut was born in Malakal, current capital of State of Upper Nile in 1964 to the family of Chut Deng Achouth and Achol Aguin Majok. The father was a medical sciences’ professional who worked at a government hospital in Khartoum, with mother taking care of household chores as the homemaker.

Upon her father’s death of suspected foul play in Juba in 1983 where he was transferred in 1979, the orphaned family of six was driven to poverty in mother’s village where she was married a semi-illiterate girl. Complicated by an intensified civil strife she part took at tender age on the side of rebel SPLM/SPLA as the member of girls’ battalion {Katiba Banat} against the government in 1983 in Southern region of Sudan.

The mother of four fought all the life’s adversities: illiteracy, oppression and poverty, winning them fair and square when she successfully self-educated, witnessed the birth of South Sudan’s independence she fought for and had enough food on the table eventually.

Her strong willpower triumphing over all odds raised her to the pedestal of civil right advocacy preceding her part taking in armed struggle. A revolutionary activism with which she went in mind to Australia and founded the Sudanese Australian International Activist Group, making her involve in rallies to raise awareness of the conflict raging back home.

After the country’s independence in 2011, she founded South Sudanese Women Advocacy for Peace. She also focused on issues faced by South Sudanese refugees in Australia. Aguil, a glittering beauty endowed warrior queen not scared of face disfiguring helped the world see through her the beauty of South Sudanese emaciated, bumless women In Nairobi, Kenya where food was then hard to come by. Not a social miser, but rather a beauty socialite gifted with face and brain she abundantly shared with a wider smile with bold and beautiful ones alike.

An anti-thesis to her revolutionary female peers already bogged down and quieted by routine responsibilities of marriage. Neither was her glittering beauty soiled by diapers of babies she birthed and nor was she placed on a marital lock down by the man she happily married.

In fact most people, myself included never thought of Jamile being a married house wife as she was rarely seen pregnant and always there at the forefront of any political adventure. Drabbed in traditional multi-color signature sarong {law} that made her natural South Sudanese culture Ambassador in Nairobi, Aguil would keep walking noisily on street and along the power corridors while dragging long tight legs with spread out hands as she enthusiastically leaned towards her destination, hand bag strung on left shoulder. She wore a familiar face of a typical Dinka, clad and confident in error of judgement and langua. Jamile, an Arabic name for ‘’Beautiful’’ she was widely known for was black and white and not a contradiction in all she said and did.

Aguil Chut Deng

Friendly and likeable, though prone to confrontation without harboring grudges. She talked to strangers as if she were familiar to them. she faced her victims upfront, not a back bidding shadow boxer and neither a silent killer. In Downtown Nairobi she was among others the face of South Sudanese civil rights movement representing voices of the voiceless.

She was mostly first to arrive at any smell of news that there would be a press conference hell by one of rival Southern Sudanese rebel factions with liaison offices in Nairobi in Chester house, an East African media hub where we had our liberation politic lessons and later practiced in heated arguments at car park of Wimpy restaurant across the road bracketed with low metal fence from busy Kenyatta Avenue we turned into our benches before we rushed home in the afternoon to tune and listen to big names in the struggle.

Among them were John Luk of SPLA, John Garang, Riek Macha,, Lam Akol, Samson Kwaje, Steve Wondu, Nhial Deng Nhial, Yaak Atem Professor David De Chan, Majok Guandong, etc. in an evening BBC focus on Africa news broadcast.

Wimpy was the focal point in Nairobi central district every South Sudanese would go to update themselves with war news stories from home or could be looking for someone they directed to meet there.

We were economically low to afford a soft drink or tea inside Wimpy despite being high in spirit. At one of the press conferences and in mocking questions posed to SPLM/A – United splinter faction’s leader Dr. Lam Akol and right hand Commander Nyang Chuol Dhuor in Chester house in early 1994 who recently jetted in to Nairobi from the front, Aguil put the former at pain and on edge about where his forces were on the ground in South Sudan and what good he ever did In SPLM/SPLA. Which Dr. Lam humbly replied he had forces in Fashoda, Colo Kingdom and that he was as well a brain behind the founding of one of the largest humanitarian organizations in history, the Operation Life Line Sudan {OLS} when he was in charge of SPLM/A’s foreign relations’ docket in April, 1989.

Comrade Aguil saw both ends of first and second Sudanese civil wars, missing only the conclusive end of ongoing conflict she could easily be indicted for starting on 15th December, 2013. Unbeknown to many, the first bullet triggering the Nuer genocide infamy wasn’t fired in Gaida military barrack in Juba if political observers were to be fair and logical in their analyses.

It was one Aguil Chut Deng’s sharper mouth singing the SPLA liberation war song of 1980s provocative to Kiir’s opposition composed in praise of John Garang’s bravery in Dinka as Kiir briefly stopped reading his speech to sing along with her in approval as the internal opposition marched in protest out of Nyakuron cultural center on last day of SPLM’s exra-ordinary conference that debated party’s future including Presidential candidate in readiness for the upcoming 2015 general elections.

We were comrades fighting in trenches hostile to each other till January 6th 2002 when SPLM/A warring factions we represented reunited. She was an SPLM/A mainstream’s brand promoting Dr. John Garang’s Sudan unity crusade.

While Gai Dojiok nick named Gai vision for distributing Southern Sudan Vision, a fortnight newsletter published by SPLM/A Nasir faction before defecting to mainstream SPLM/A was the flag bearer pushing our line of thought, self-determination for Sudan’s Southern region of Nasir faction later mutated into SPLM/SPLA – United, SSIM/SSIA and then finally SPDF led by Dr. Riek Machar.

Rest easy elder sister till we meet again.

Deng Vanang

Email:dvanang@gmail.com

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