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Gipiir and Labongo #3

Fun Fact; During an Acholi Introduction ceremony, the groom and his representatives are required to get on their hands and knees as a sign of respect and crawl to the future mother in law’s door.

Omego : brother 

Anyadwer: ‘daughter of the moon’ – a beauty

keny dong donyo: marriage

By Aine Susan

“I can’t believe we’re going to crawl for Achola,” Gipiir laughed, scattering pieces of the fish he was chewing across the room.

“Come on brother, don’t tell me you are fasting even for keny dong donyo! In that case, I’m inclined to avoid even the scent of a woman from this day forth,” he paused, searching for a reaction from Labongo, who paced the room like a restless river; which was considerably less unsettling than the way he gripped the ancestral spear.

“I can hold on to that for you, omego,” a statement that seemed so meek, yet wrecked so much havoc within Labongo. 

Not even his sturdy build or apparent admiration from the entire village could protect him from believing that Tong (spear) was all he had to maintain any kind of relevance within this tight knit community. He vividly recalled the day his father handed it to him; the guilt he felt alongside the sneaking delight in his heart at a dying parents’ death bed. One among many days of glory for him; his ego feeding off all the elders’ approval, the people’s eyes shining with reverence, his brother’s mixed expression – he could definitely feel Gipiir’s idolizing stare tearing through his own skin, with the same eyes that filled with tears from a father’s disapproval, up to this day. 

“Did you get the bark – ” Labongo frantically recalled a portion of his well crafted checklist.

“ Yes, Omego! The finest barkcloth in the village for your Anyadwer ”; a word Labongo had fondly bestowed on his love.

Armored with a wicked smile Gipiir watched Labongo in anticipation. This wasn’t the first time he was making fun of the lovers’ pet names. The sun stopped for an instant as Labongo pounced at Gipiir and marked him on the ground, gripping his brother’s arms and adjusting a knee; he viciously rubbed his knuckles within Gipiir’s hair as the two struggled in the devil’s grip. 

“I concede! I concede!” Gipiir shouted, stretching his neck out, so his brother could release him. As soon as he did, Gipiir turned and swung his leg past Labongo, causing him to stumble. They burst into laughter; slightly overcome by panting and gasping.

“Achola was my best friend before you two ever started making crazy eyes at each other, you know. So I’ll be a part of your marriage, until death do us apart,” a smug grin spread across his face.

“Wait till she sees the sweeter side of marriage, Omego, then the only time you’ll see your ‘best friend’ is when she fetches feed or drink for her beloved,” Labongo bragged, dusting his side.

Gipiir clicked his tongue, heading toward the door to prepare for the procession. He paused for a minute and turned back to help his brother in the dusting. “Your bride will look breathtaking, her elders will be pleased with the gifts, we will drink that heavenly drink and you will hold her in your arms, till your skin rubs off on her, and all you have left is flesh and bone.” The brothers laughed.

The on-going festivities drew Labongo further into the spotlight, with belles dancing about him while the fireplace blazed to show the envious faces of old men and confused  mothers, each one wishing this night could have been a celebration of their own union with him; as a wife, father-in-law, or mother-in law. Yet in all this, he only longed to see one; “my Anyadwer”, his heart flattered on realizing that he had actually muttered it aloud, causing some of the girls to break into giggles. 

TO BE CONTINUED

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Written by The Muchwezi (4)

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I'D LOVE TO

ON FATHERHOOD AND THE TRAPS OF SOCIALIZED GENDER ROLES