Facts About Historical Place Kalkuel/Genanyuon/Tonj

Tonj is a town in Bahr el Ghazal – South Sudan it is not an usual place but historical. Tonj have more than names five to six names which are Kalkuel, Genanyuon, Jurkatac, Madiera, BaburWasaka, Genngeu and Tonjdit itself.

It’s bordered by Western Lakes State(Rumbek), Gok State(Cueibet), Gbudwe State(Yambio), Tambura State(Tambura), Wau State(Wau), Gogrial State(Kuacjok), Northern Liech State(Bentiu) and Southern Liech State(Leer).
Below are facts about Tonjdit:

1. Had been one of the important and a strong economic strength for the British Empire in Africa. During the Second World War all the European colonies instructed their colonial areas to support them on War.

2. Tonj primary was a first colonial(the UK government) school in Southern Sudan built in 1944 and it was a gift to jur river chiefs who contributed smoked meat for ally forces during world war two in north Africa.The school was called princes school and its first headmaster was called Eric Daniel(popularly call Makerdit).The school was a gift from the British government as an appreciation to the people, so the Kalkuel bulls played a central role in fight for liberty.

3. Tonj District was reported to have helped so strongly in supporting the British Empire especially in the area of food logistics . Thousands of bulls and cows in the area were collected in Tonj District to be taken to warfront to support Britain on that war.

4. In 1912 Tonj and Gogrial were under Jur River during the colonial period of British, the capital was in Gogrial but before then Tonj weather was favourable to the human lives more than Gogrial.

5. In 1922 the capital was shifted to Kalkuel by British and its become the capital of Jur river Tonj is one of the largest town in warrap and the oldest town in South Sudan and it’s where different tribes are found for examples Dinka, Bongo and JurChol. It’s divided into three counties Tonj North, Tonj South And Tonj East now subdivisions happened and the are again divide into counties.

6. Tonj is the town in South Sudan which have more than names five to six names which are Kalkuel, Genanyuon, Jurkatac, Madiera, BaburWasaka, Genngeu and Tonjdit itself.
It’s bordered by Western Lakes State(Rumbek), Gok State(Cueibet), Gbudwe State(Yambio), Tambura State(Tambura), Wau State(Wau), Gogrial State(Kuacjok), Northern Liech State(Bentiu) and Southern Liech State(Leer).

7. Tonj has produced many leadership during the colonialism and during the independence of Sudan and South Sudan itself the like of William Deng Nhial, Dr John Garang De Mabior and Omer Hassien Bashir who have studied in some of the schools there.

8. Tonj is also ranked as one of the oldest and historical cities in South Sudan with positive and rich history during the days of South Sudan war of liberation.

9. The War that got initiated in the last century that has resulted into the South Sudan independence was run by an influential politician from Tonj District. Veteran William Deng Nhial who was killed in 1968 by Arabs was among the first ideological South Sudanese intellectuals to have spearheaded and struggled for the right of South Sudan freedom.

10. In 1996 when even the Arab based Government wanted to create a state for Gogrial and Tonj Communities they chose to name it Warrap State. Warrap town is another small urban centre within Tonj Region and the capital was to be located in Warrap it was luck of history. Now that Twic and Gogrial States are newly created; they are getting their independence from Tonj Region.

11. History has it that the Tonj Region is a very big constituency out of which Gogrial got born before now. Abyei Region before 1905 was part of its administration.

12. In early and late 1990s the SPLM/A movement fighting the Khartoum regime was in Tonj Region around the areas of Thiet, Yinhkuel, Ngabagook and Mayom Abun areas. Tonj and Rumbek were used during the war to be the logistics centres in the war of fighting the Arabs.

13. Before the capture of Rumbek town and Yirol most of the military and food logistics was in Tonj region’s villages. Yinhkuel mostly was the SPLA strongest Headquarters in the war that was aimed to liberate the whole Sudan. Local communities like others in Greater Bahr el Ghazal Region collected several bulls monthly to support SPLA war of liberation endlessly.

14. The 1999 Wunlit Peace Accord was held within Tonj District. The fact is that peace agreement which was mostly initiated by New Sudan Council of Churches and other peace loving organizations paved a positive way to Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). At least that moment did not occur anywhere but in Kalkuel.

15. When peace came Tonj Region was the only place in South Sudan selected for reorganization of the SPLA soldiers at Akucchieng. All the SPLA soldiers being from Nuba, Ingassana and South Sudanese were re-organized, re-trained, re-structured and re-instructed in Akucchieng before sending them to joint integrated units (JIUs) those forces successfully monitored and supervised CPA to implementation without doubt.

16. Dinka (Muonyjang) communities across South Sudan are well-versed with Wanhalel Dinka Customary Laws (Ganuun Wanhalel);all those laws that are now used to govern Dinka Communities were first drafted and formulated in what is now Tonj/Kalkuel State.

17. Economically Kalkuel State is a very rich region. It has plenty of oil underground waiting to be exploited for the benefit of the general South Sudanese and most of the swampy areas fall within this region between them and the other two Northern and Southern Liech States. Toich areas are extending from Konggor area, Lou Ariik, Apuk Padoc, Lou Paher and Luanyjang swampy areas. They are very rich with resources and if well-used the region shall quickly get developed.

18. When war broke out in 2013 Tonj sons and daughters did not aim guns against their fellow South Sudanese and infact very strongly the people of Tonj just like most South Sudanese participated in bringing peace back to South Sudan and defended the constitution and the sovereignty.

19. Tonj has a high number of youth in pursuing higher education in Kampala, Egypt, Nairobi among other world cities and those I spoke to would like/request the constructed campus of Alexandria University in Tonj Town be opened in order to bring closer that precious higher institution to the people / communities of Tonj and South Sudan at large and most importantly;

20. The people of Tonj I have spoken to fully support the revitalized peace agreement signed by President Salva Kiir, Dr Riek Machar & other leaders.

By Hn. Weston Wanjohi

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