Everyone should be treated alike

In the past, in Ron country, law and customs were maintained by the kocok, a religiously sanctioned caste of elders. The head of that caste was called “Saf ma Nyorong“. The following story by Mafulul Lek tells how a man who was  a makocok himself challenged their authority.

Maren Ajuju

Tek ɓur ti, nafu ti yu a ra ahun ɗeng ta tek nafu, mma makocok a  mot. Andai ɗes, mma si tok ti fe, ɗeng ta zan nafu ahun uɗeng ti yu a ra kwa, ren mma si har fehi la taa ram tawe. Ɗes, mma mar a mot a ram, si shaat kwa, si laak kwa, si nii kek, Nyorong ti cu.

Maɗafo ɗiin ma sum Maren Ajuju a Faram, si nii, ndee a zan nafu  nzis mma makocok ɗiin a mot. Yit Maren a hai a yis, si nii, ndee a mun yo makocok mai. Si nii, nai Nyorong ti halai findeli, wur ti wop a hwash, kocok si tof, si lulis Maren ɗam mma a kir a masai ɗaman sai. Maren ta niyis: „Mma makocok a mot, ɗeng a tyaak a akon si nafu ahun wet? Ɗes, nafu ti kyaar, ahun ti kaaf har a ren mma makocok a mot ahun wet?“ Ta niyis, yit a shitai nzis, si naaf ta kon ti nafu, ahun ɗeng ta zan nafu, ahun nafu ti kir a ren mma makocok a mot, shak ɗam ma ɗanggat mai. Ta niyis: „Mma hwaa nii, inii mai, i hek makocok sai kwa, i shitai ɓur ɗiin tima i tek ti nafu tima i zani kwa.“ Taa tei si shu re a fo, si nii, wa’ Maren Ajuju a hekis Nyorong la – kpatak ti, ta tal. Maren ta niyis, ma wan a tal ɗama ɗiin kwa.

Nai Saf ma Nyorong ma wilyali ma sum Malo-Nggai (Malo Maanggai) ta  nii, si yu, si kai puri ma Maren Ajuju, si tal Nyorongi ti. Nai Nyorong ti yu, ti kai puri ma Mareni. Si gon purihi la, si gon rundong ti, si kar lohi, si cu. Wa’ ɗam mma a kat, si tal ti cif ma gondo mmis ma kocok shak. Maren Ajuju nai ta yu ti hwashi a nan ta Saf ma Ɗafo ma Masara ma bya’, Faya Mashigal. Faya ta niyis: „Nin mi, ni mun kocoki, nin mi, ni mun Nyorongi tima ti kai puri mma, ti tal ti ɓur mma a teki – kil mma aa wan, a yu!“

Maren nai yit ti findeli a nan ta Saf ma Masara ma Run, Jongcin  Ajul. Jongcin ta niyis, ta yu ti findeli a nan ta Masara ma shinggil ti Pangcin ma reani. Masara ta lal Saf ma Nyorong ma Ɗafo, Malo-Nggai, ka ma Masara, Faya Ashigal, ka shak kocok ma Ɗafo hai ti rami, si yu a tot ɓuri si Maren Ajuju ti a Pangcin. Maren Ajuju ta hwit sis ti a ɓuri. Taa tei ndee si yu a mano’ ɗambwas makong-makong, shak nzis.

Sin ti a shitam, si ndur ti findeli, si nii, Maren Ajuju a hekan  Nyorong la, a wal. Gip si mun a hwash, gip sin a sisal. Ma sisali si mun mgbangati ref. Ref si nii, mma Maren Ajuju a hekan Nyorong la, a bum fe mama ndee Nyorongi ti nii, ka si yu a ra, ahun ka si nya si re, si kaf hiharai mmis, a ren tima makocoki a moti kwa. Gip si nii, taa tei, mma makocok a mot, ɗeng ma wan a tyaakan a shaat sis kwa – ɗigir mi! Si palang Masara a fa ɓur tima a totis Maren Ajuju si naf ma Nyorongi.

Si nii, wa’ kocok buu, mma si mwaat, naf ma Nyorong sin ka’ ti a  shitam a Pangcin, ɗeng ndee a shaat kwa. Mayes a kwai hani naf mma mi ɓat a ji Nyorongi, mma si mot, ɗeng a shaat kwa. Si shaat hai nzis ɗamisi.

Ndee si tik la taa shitam, si halai naf si kwis shaat kocok, si nii  Nyorong ti mawalan ndai. Taa tei si gam ɗam ma masai ti Maren Ajuju wet.

Maren ndee a mot, si nii, ndee a hekan Nyorong la, ka Nyorong ti  shaat sis kwa! Ɓiil si nii, mi wan si ɓur kek, gip si nii, mma si kwis ka mawan si ɓur sis, mi walai a hek Nyorong la ti, ɗak Maren Ajuju ndee a mun yo makocok mai. Nai si gam ɗam ma masai wet. Si yu, si ɓur sis ti ndo ti a diyar. Taa tei, si tik a wan, si tek hayi, si shitai. Si gam ɗam ma laki wet, si niyis naf, si shitai ɗama ɗiin ti kwa. Naf si sisal, si tyaakai hai. Taa tei, si shwis shaat la. Si kat ti ɗamani mbaa.

Si nii, ɗamani a ɓul fat a wil ma 1940. Maren Ajuju a mot fat a wil  ma 1970.

Lul taa tu ti findek sani, yit mai:

  • Nyorong ti ndekan, ahun mu a mandek, ahun mi fuk, si ndek la?
  • Naaf mma a ji Nyorong kwa, si laal “Naaf ma rusul”.  Mma naaf ma rusul a mot, ɓur ti, naaf ta zan nafu, ahun nafu ti yu a ra, kwa.  Mamot ɗanggat ti. Ɗes, maɗafal maɗafal ma ɗanggat mai.  A shitai nza, mimai a kir, “Nyorong” ti nii, mma makocok mai kek, a mot,  ka ɗeng a zan nafu, ahun ka nafu ɗiin ti yu a ra kwa?
  • Ɓur tima Masara a totis naf ma Nyorong si Maren Ajuju ti hyau ahun wet?
  • A kwai, mma makocok a mot, naaf ta zan nafu, ahun nafu ti yu a ra kwaa?

Maren Majuju

It is an offence for anyone to marry or go into temporary marriage when a makocok has died. Likewise, it is an offence to marry or to go into temporary marriage during the circumcision period. If a child dies during the circumcision, there is no mourning, it won’t even be announced. They simply say that “Nyorong has eaten it”.

A certain Daffo man named Maren Ajuju of Faram village is said to have challenged that rule: he married after a makocok had died. Maren is said to have been a makocok himself. An urgent meeting was summoned by the kocok , where Maren was asked why he had done this. Maren defended himself: “Does a person stop sleeping with his wife when a makocok dies? Do women stop giving birth to children or becoming pregnant when a makocok dies?” To him, these acts – sleeping with your wife, taking a wife, giving birth to children – when a makocok died were all the same. He argued that unless they were accusing him of having killed the makocok , he had committed no offence by what he did. There was an outcry that Maren Ajuju had “killed the religion”, therefore he would have to pay a fine. Maren told them that he was not going to pay anything.

Then the Saf ma Nyorong of these days, Malo Mangai, ordered that Maren Ajuju’s horse should be seized and sold to pay the fine. Then the authorities went and seized his horse. They sold the horse, bought a cow with the money, divided the meat and ate it. With the remaining money they paid their taxes. Maren took the case to the first modern district head of Daffo, Mr. Faya Mashigal. Faya dismissed him, saying: “We are the kocok . We are the religious authority which have seized your horse to pay for the offence you committed. You can go to hell!”

Maren then took the case to the modern district head of Bokkos, Mr. Jongcin Majul. Jongcin asked him to take the case directly to the British District Officer of Pankshin Division. The D.O. summoned the Saf ma Nyorong and the modern District head and all the kocok of Daffo for a court case in Pankshin. Maren Ajuju won the case. They were all imprisoned for six months.

While they were in prison, the case was disputed over at home. Maren Ajuju was blamed of having destroyed the traditional authority. Some were unhappy about it, but some were happy. Those in support of their conviction were mostly women. Women argued that even if Maren Ajuju had destroyed the religious authority, he had saved those who might otherwise never have been born, because of the law prohibiting marriage when a makocok had died. Some even said that from now on they should stop mourning for the kocok, who were wicked. They praised the D.O. for his judgment of the case.

Allegedly, many priests who died during the time when the chief priest and his men were in jail were not mourned at all. Until today, those who are initiated into Nyorong are not mourned for, when they die. They only mourn for themselves.

When the kocok returned from prison and heard that people refused to mourn for them, they said: “Our religion is dead!”  They didn’t know what to do with Maren Ajuju.

When Maren died, they did not want to bury him like a makocok, since he had destroyed their authority. Some argued that it would be better to bury him. If they would refuse to bury him, it would harm their influence even more, since Maren Ajuju had also been a makocok. Then they were at lost. They buried him with great shame. Some time later they did the post-mortem. They didn’t know what to say, but had to tell people that nothing had been wrong with Maren. People had to laugh so much. After that, they stopped mourning for him. They kept their mouths shut.

This case is said to have happened around 1940. Maren Ajuju died around 1970.

Questions from this story:

  • Is the Ron traditional religion (Nyorong) dead or dying or does somoeone want to destroy it?
  • A person who is not initiated into Nyorong is called “lay person”. When such a person dies it is not forbidden to take a wife or to go into temporary marriage. Death is death, and likewise, the life of each person has the same value. In your opinion, is it right for our religion to see the value of an initiated person higher than that of a lay person?
  • Was the white man fair in his judgment of the case between Maren Ajuju and the  kocok?
  • When a makocok dies today, does a person marry or not?

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