Prior to the influence of Christianity in Ron-Kulere country, which began in the 1930s, there existed hierarchically structured cult associations. Among the Ron, only males were allowed to take part in the rituals. Women were not allowed to see the masqueraders associated with it. At a certain age, boys were initiated into the lowest rank. In order to become a member (makocok) and ascend into higher ranks of the associations one had to feast their members. The following text by Mr. Mafulul Lek explains how this was done and some other traditions associated with the kocok.
Naf ma Nyorong sin mi si ti’ kocoki. Kocokat ahun „Ji Nyorong“ ti mun ɗaam mma naaf a asaahai, ta ku ta mun makocok. Re mi kek, si jyaai Nyorong, ref kwa. Ɗes, ref si shyaatai Nyorong kwa.
Ɗaam mma naaf a masaahai, si nii, a ji Nyorong ahun rai, si mun mi? Ma bya’ mar ta tong mawan a ram. Taa tei, ta tek nafu, ta kir a sam. Si nii, a shitai Nyorong ti vivat. Taa nani, mma si shitai, ma yo maɗafal mai, ka ɗes, mma ma ti ra, si kai, si niyis, ta ji Nyorongi. Mma a njeng fwet kwa, si han han ti shiril, si karat nggayi, si faris, ta ji Nyorongi ti.
Mma si kai mar, si far, ɓa ta ji Nyorong, ta tong ji „sam“. Sam ma ligit langash sok malang hara. Mma manjeng ti twis naaf, ta sor andai. Si nii, a ji sam kek. Mma a ɗut, ta ji „ver ma sami“. Taa sam, ta ji „sam ma kama“. Mma ma ti manjeng, ta ji „ver ma kamahi“ ɗes. Taa tei, ta ji „sam ma tek“, ta ji ver ma teki andai. Ma walayi yit mai, ta ji sam ma wak, ta ji ver mmisi. Naaf mma a syai ɗaam kyani shak, si nii, a ji rai, a wal. Yit mai, si nyaai, ma yo „makocok ma njelek“.
Ren mma mi wan a veri, si ji ligit ti veri. Fe mma mi wan a veri si gon rukulai mma mi wan a no’i a haai fat rawan. Ɗes, si cu rom si ref mmisi, hai ti ram shak. A Ɗafo, fe mma mi wan a ver a reni si twaaf a fo ma disang ta naf ma Kanang. Manaf ma Kanang ta faris rigit, si sho.
Taa tei, ta yu a Kundung, ta so mata’ tima kocok mi wan a veri ti la. Ref sin ti fayi. Fe mma mi wan a veri shak si mun a mamun, si masirai mar ti hayi ti mwatash ɗiin ti a Kundung. Taa tei, Manaf ma Wal ta kul shir, ta riɓin ti folal (si nii, shiri wa’ kwash ma naf mma si cu a ɓur ti tek hai mi). Ta munis a fari, ta mbiis a fo kasik makong-makong, ma melok, ta ku ta kiris ti a fo. Shak ti masirai ti andai. Naaf mma folal ti shiri ti ndefis a ndik taa fo ahun lulya si nin kpok a ndik, si nii, mmis a mawalan. Andai ɗes, mma ɗama mmis ɗiin a fotis ti a Kundung a ɓwehi, si nii, mmis a mawalan. Mma si wal a sho shiri, shak si magu’ ti hayash a nggong ma mar ti hayi tima si mun si masirai.
Taa tei, Manaf a Wal ta tek rukul ti kocokat ti ram shak, ta gu’is kocoki hai (sin kocoki si tong no’ mmis rukulai mma si gon ti cifash mmis a hai tawe, ta ku ta gu’is rukul ti rami – ti yangga’an ti – a hai shak). Si nii wa’, mma a gu’is rukul ti mgbang tindai hai shak, haai mmis si maɓo, si shitai ɗam mama a mun ma laki kwa. Naaf mma a nggyai maɗafal a fo (maɗigir), si nii, ta wop a mamot ti a kili, ahun ta mun a mandok a wur, yit a awop a har sakwar. Taa nani si lifit ti dor kong, ref si matai. Si ɗu ti dor a fo ma disang ma mgbang a Hurum. Taa nani si maɓaas ti dori mawis a wurai.
Ta mbule’ shak kocok mma an si veri si tik a matof ti a Hurum, si shuris Saf ma Nyorong. Si mun a wan, sin ti caan si folal ɗanggat-ɗanggat. Saf ma Nyorong ta riɓin lo ma canani ti shir, ta faris, fat an si faris a Kundung. Ta mbiis ti a fo kasik makong-makong, ma melok, ta ku ta kyaaris ti a fo. Naaf mma shiri ahun lulya si ndefis taa fo, si nii, mmis a mawalan. Andai ɗes, Saf ma Nyorongi ta mbaahis kambut ti nggwaash (ti Nyorong) ɗiin a hai kasik makong-makong, ma melok, ta ku ta kyaaris ti a hai. Naaf mma a kiris kambuti, ti ro a hai a yis, si nii, a cwan ɗigir, mmis a mawalan. Mma si wal taa nani, findel a wal.
Ren mma makocok a mot, si kir a sam makon yuhun. Si yu a disang ma mgbang a Hurum, si no’ Nyorong ti shaat mmisi ti. Andai ɗes, si kir nafu ti makocok mma a moti a sam, si kul Nyorong, si kir, ti munai hai. Nafuhi (lyan) si kiret fukut, si waset mbar a yish, ti shat shaati kwa! Taa tei kocok hai ti ram s malal, si tof ti a wur ti makocok mma a moti, si tek la, si ɓur. Si sakat ɗaam ma hatat (tamwash si aa), si lyaaf, si ɓur sis ti fukutayi, si kar lwyati, si cu. Shak ɓwyash melok mma Nyorong ti fwaa a shaat sisi, si jyaahet ji, si riɓin ti mbar gelosh, ti cu. Andai ɗes, rukul nzis ti makocok tima ndee a ver tihi, si tek, si ɓur sis ti.
Mma si wal a tek hai ti makocok, si shitai ɗam mma a hek sisi, si shu shaat la. Wa’ tela mu tu ti kikyal mma si shyaatai a hai, si shitai ɗam mma a hek naafi. Si nii wa’ hai ti gwaaf naaf mma a cu ɗigir ahun a tek finvan fit a gam safat, ahun mamot ti cala. Tek ɓur ti, nafu ti yu a ra ahun ɗeng ta tek nafu, mma makocok a mot, ahun sin ka’ ka si shu shaat la.
- Mimai a kir, si kaa’ai naaf ma lel, ta ji Nyorong, ta mun makocok, kwa?
- Mimai a ti’ han ti shiril?
- Mimai a kir ref si jyaai rai ahun si shyaatai Nyorong kwa?
- Mimai a ti’ “ɗam mma a mun ma laki kwa” mama kocok si shyaatai a Kundung, mma si gu’is rukul ti kocokat hai, sin a wan a ver?
- Ha aa yo naaf ma Nyorong mai ha?
- Mma si kai ha a kwai hani, ɓa a shitai Nyorong, ahun a ji rai, a fuk ahun wet?
- Mimai a kir, si kaa’ai naaf yo kayi?
- Makocok a shiɗyaat ti mi?
- Mimai a kir, kocok si shiɗyaat ti ndong?
How to become a makocok
The leaders of the Ron traditional religion (Nyorong) are called Kocok. There are certain ceremonies which a person does perform before he becomes a makocok. Only men can become a makocok. Women are not allowed to take part or even see the religious symbols.
What are then the things a man does in order to become a makocok? First, one has to be circumcised. Next, he has to marry and have children. That is called the small Nyorong. From here, if the man is a reasonable person and well to do, he will be asked to complete the rituals. If one isn’t rich enough, the family helps him with millet from a collective farm.
When one is selected to do the ceremonies, he will start with the Sam ceremony. Sam consists of 17 pots of liquor. One can stop at this point, if one hasn’t got enough to go further. One will then be a makocok of the Sam rank only. If one is rich enough, one can proceed to the dance of Sam. The next stage is called Sam ma Kama. If one is strong enough, one can also do the dance of Kama. The third stage is called Sam ma Tek and dance of Tek. The last stage is called Sam ma Wak and dance of Wak. A person who does fulfill all those ceremonies will be highly respected. He will be called makocok ma njelek.
Before the Ver dancing will be done, people will brew beer. Those who will be ordained buy head ties which they will tie to their heads like turbans. They and their wives put on their best dress. In Daffo, those who will perform the Ver dance meet at the ritual hut (Disang) of the Kanang family. One of the Kanang family will give them kunu to drink.
After that, he will prepare the public square Kundung for the dancing. The women follow. Those to perform the Ver dance will sit around a small ritual stone. A man of the Wal family will give them a medicine mixed with ground beniseed. That medicine is said to been made of hearts of enemies killed in war. While giving it to them, he will touch each person’s mouth with it six times before he will put it into his mouth the seventh time. He will do this with all of them. Anyone who allows the medicine or saliva to drop from his mouth is said to be bound to die. Likewise, if a person does loose anything at the Kundung square that day, he is bound to die.
After taking the medicine, they will bow their heads in front of the small stone around which they sit. After each of them has put his personal head tie on his head, a man of the Wal family will cover each man’s head with the national turban, which is black. It is said that when this big turban is put on their heads, they will see something which is forbidden to tell. It is believed that anyone who has tried witchcraft will die right there or immediately when he reaches home. Then the dancing starts, in which the women will join. The dance is then taken to the central ritual hut at Hurum. The dancing then goes on at their individual houses.
The following morning all the newly ordained Kocok go to Hurum again to greet the Saf ma Nyorong. Each of them brings a chicken and ground beniseed. The Saf ma Nyorong will mix the chicken meat with beniseed and give it to them in the same way as it was done at Kundung square the day before. He will touch each man’s mouth with the meat six times, before putting it into his mouth the seventh time. Anyone who allows the meat or saliva to drop from his mouth is said to be bound to die. Likewise, the Saf ma Nyorong will touch each man’s head six times with a special cap, before putting it on his head the seventh time. Anyone on whose head the cap shakes, is found guilty of witchcraft and bound to die. That is the end of the actual ordination ceremony.
When a makocok dies, he will lie in state for three days. They will go to the main ritual hut at Hurum and tie the fetishes, lest they hurt themselves because of the mourning. Likewise, the wife of the dead makocok will be made to sit on one of the fetishes. The wife of the makocok will be asked to put on her best dress and rub herself with oil and is not allowed to weep. Next, kocok from all over the country will be summoned to the house of the late makocok, to take him to his burial place. They will select sheep and goats to slaughter. The skins will be used to bury the deceased, will the meat will be eaten by the priests. During the seven days in which the fetish mourns for the deceased, they will cook rich food for it. The makocok‘s head tie which he wore during the ordination ceremony will be buried with him.
After performing the post-mortem on the deceased makocok‘s head, his remains will be finally buried and the mourning period stops after a while. The temple is one of the places which tells what has killed a person. Allegedly, a person’s head will reveal whether he died because he has done evil or was greedy or whether he died an ordinary death. It is an offence for a woman to go into temporary marriage or for a man to marry, when a makocok has just died or the mourning period is not yet over.
- Why is a poor man never asked to become a makocok?
- What is meant by collective farming?
- Why are women not allowed to become makocok and see the fetishes?
- What is the thing which the kocok see when the turban is put on their heads which they are forbidden to tell?
- Are you a member of a cult association?
- If you were asked to become a member of cult association today, would you like it?
- Why does a person need to be asked to become a makocok (instead of presenting himself) ?
- By what does a makocok swear?
- Why do the kocok swear by Ndong (a type of masquerader)?