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Title:The Gamk Anti-'Dingi' Ritual: The Imagination of Power among a 'Pre-Nilotic' People
Author:Okazaki, Akira
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:ethnic groups
guerrilla warfare
ethnic warfare
rites of passage
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1580784.pdf
Abstract:The Gāmk, classified culturally as pre-Nilotic, inhabit the slopes of the Ingessana Hills. Even though the Hills are located well inside Sudan's northern administrative area, the Gāmk are virtually regarded by the northerners as southerners. During the 1990 rainy season, the Ingessana Hills were attacked and plundered by several thousand guerrillas. The Gāmk were extremely shocked at the event. Later on, the villagers carried out a big ritual, called 'the word/problem of the Dinka' ('kor e Dingi'), in which they acted out a 'glorious' fight against the 'power' of the invaders, 'Dingi'. This essay portrays how Gāmk villagers are trying today to redefine and recreate the situation through their experience of power. The ritual was concerned with people's dreadful memory of an experience of power and the images of 'Dingi'. The ritual seemed to be successful in removing this memory, together with the 'Bad Things' supposedly left behind by the Dinka. In trying to understand the nature of power that the Gāmk tried to deal with in the ritual, the author suggests that in the Gāmk discourse the dreadful experience of the past is probably not the 'memory' derived from the mind but power itself acting upon the self from outside, and the 'Bad Things' may be the images of such experiences seen as the active sources. It is this image of power that the villagers tried to deal with in the ritual. Fieldwork among the Gāmk was carried out between 1981-1984 and 1989-1991. Bibliogr., notes, ref.