Duk Community Event: Legendary Singer Panchol Deng Ajang Concludes U.S. Concert Tour

 

PDAL

 

OMAHA (NSV) – South Sudan’s famous son Panchol Deng Ajang Luk concluded his first ever tour of USA, with a riveting performance on the night of Saturday, September 30th, 2017, in Omaha, Nebraska. The event was organized by the leadership of Duk Community USA.

 

Ajang came to America on July 17 for an 11-week concert tour which took him to 8 cities, before rounding out the visit with a welcoming on September 30th.

 

The music legend had concerts in Salt Lake City, UT; Phoenix, AZ; Kansas City, MO; Atlanta, GA; Grand Rapids, MI; Louisville, KY; Guymon, OK; and Boston, MA.

 

It was therefore logical that the final week was reserved for him to attend the event hosted by Duk Community, in his capacity as a native son, according to John Malith Akuei, the person behind the arrangement that brought the legendary singer to the U.S.

 

“Our utmost gratitude goes to Rebecca Achol Kuany, and John Malith Akuei for setting aside September 30th for Duk community fundraising and farewell party for Panchol Deng Ajang,” said David H.Thon, the President of Duk Community USA, in a Facebook post shared after the event with community and supporters.

 

A Well-Organized Event

 

All manner of indications pointed to the fact that the event was a success, thanks to the hard work by members of Duk Community living in Omaha, the host city.

 

The event, part fundraiser and part farewell for the legendary singer, was the first of its kind by the newly elected leadership of Duk Community USA, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to serve the people of Duk in their home Counties in Jonglei, South Sudan.

 

“We had so much fun and raised a good amount of money (updates coming soon) to support our people in South Sudan,” said Duk Community president, David Hoth Thon in the same congratulatory statement to community and supporters, which he posted to his Facebook page.

 

This resoundingly remarkable success of the community event and fundraiser, led by Mr. David Thon and his Vice President Mawut Paul Awel, as well as the overall leadership of Duk Community in the U.S., spoke to the organizing spirit and teamwork.

Individual members of the Duk Community went above and beyond to help the leadership full off this fundraising drive. And it was not lost on the leadership that those same individuals deserved much appreciation for their hard work and selfless contributions.

 

“I want to recognize and wholeheartedly appreciate my sister Agot Awuou Leek for mobilizing financial support from her friends and colleagues in Louisville Kentucky to support Duk community. Her financial support to Duk community amounts to $ 2,000! She has uniquely exemplified the important role our sisters can play in supporting our community,” Thon wrote.

 

A banquet style kind of a setting, with chairs and tables rented by the host committee, everyone who came to the event enjoyed the festive atmosphere at this South Omaha YMCA Program Center until the wee hours of Sunday morning.

 

The organization has been working actively to make a difference in the lives of their people by mobilizing resources with the aim of repopulating most deserted areas back home, according to its president David Thon, hence the reason for the fundraiser.

 

It was this worthy cause which brought together members of Duk Community along with their friends and supporters from other South Sudanese communities for a night of fun, cultural entertainment, and monetary pledges; and, to bid Panchol farewell. Leaders of other South Sudanese Diaspora community organizations came to lend Duk Community their financial support.

Thon extended the same appreciation to leaders of neighboring communities.

 

“Thank you Beny Abraham Bul Thuc for your great support to Duk community. You have exemplified what it means to “work together” for the common good of our people. Your presence meant so much and now I know I can always count on your support. We are deeply grateful and indebted to people of Twi community for their generous financial support,” he wrote in reference to president of Twi Community, Mr. Bul Thuc Dut.

 

“Our many thanks go to Makech Kuol Mabil for representing Bor community and for great cultural demonstration. Thank you Bor community for your presence and financial support,” he added, before rounding it out with, “We greatly appreciate Padang and Bahr el ghazel people for their presence and financial support. We need each other in order to effect much needed change in South Sudan.”

 

The Ultimate Concert Experience

 

Ajang’s visit to the U.S. was made possible through efforts by John Malith Akuei and his wife Rebecca Achol Kuany de Mabior, who are residents of Kansas City, MO. The two were given a chance during welcoming of the legendary artist at the Duk Community event. Akuei talked about their concert journeys and also took the time to thank and recognize ‘Team Panchol’—the individuals who helped them with organizing concerts in various cities.

 

“We greatly appreciate your collaboration and support. We are also thankful to Rebecca Achol and John Malith for supporting and promoting our great music legend and artist, Panchol Deng Ajang,” wrote David Thon.

 

“Your commitment and determination made it possible for Panchol Deng Ajang to visit United States after many failed attempts.”

 

Mr. Akuei,  in particular, went over some of the major things they had managed to accomplish in the very short dutration that Panchol Deng Ajang was in the U.S., such as making sure the legendary singer was connected with some of music’s outlets: for example, they ‘took him to a professional studio for portraits; made sure his songs were digitally re-mastered; designed CD covers bearing South Sudan flag; got a website; signed up on iTunes, and PMI,’  all with the objective of enhancing and promoting the legendary artist as well as a culture of professionalism in the emerging South Sudan’s music industry.

 

Akuei believes in advancing and promoting South Sudanese musicians. He said it was important as it could also serve as “a tribute to other music legends such as Nyankol Mathiang and Amos Ajak,” two famous music icons who have since passed.

 

Taking to the podium at exactly 11: 40 pm, Mr. Ajang, in a characteristic humility he is always known for, acknowledged the presence of elders and everyone gathered. The legendary singer narrated the challenges faced over the years while trying to arrange for his visit.

 

The legendary artist had words of advice for those in the Diaspora, urging them to prioritize events in order not to be discouraged by too many activities and to always put God first in everything, because according to him, he has always “put God first in everything he does—in all his journeys.”

 

He also expressed gratitude for having met with fans, friends and relatives.

 

“Thank you to all who attended my concerts,” said the legendary singer, before taking the stage to perform a couple of his songs, surrounded by adoring fans dancing to the sounds and lyrics of his popular songs.

 

In a reverential nod to Dinka cultural expression, the legendary artist was also joined on stage by a young cultural advocate named Makech Kuol. Adorning traditional beads, a head gear, and a hand bell, Kuol stood next to artist Panchol Deng Ajang, singing a song he composed as an ode to leaders of communities.  

 

A Warm Send-Off

 

Prominent elders of Duk Community along with invited guests also spoke; praising the legendary artist for his great contributions.

Afterwards, President David H. Thon also acknowledged with gratitude the extraordinary presence of community elders.

 

In attendance were the honorable Mathiang Malual Mabuur, and his wife, Anne Lino Wuor Abyei, who is National MP in South Sudan's legislative Assembly; uncle Kosia Kuanydit de Mabior and his wife Akeerdit; and uncle Mathiang Lem, who came to give Panchol a warm send-off and to encourage all members of the Diaspora community and their leadership.

 

“We are grateful to our national MP Anne Lino Wuor Abyei and Honorable Mathiang Malual Mabur for participating in our community event. Their presence was symbolic and meant so much to us,” he wrote in the Facebook post.

 

“We are also grateful to Baba Kothia Kuanydit and Mama Akerdit for gracing our community event with their presence. We wish them good health and more years,” he added.

 

Uncle Kosia Kuanydit de Mabior, from Awulian, who has been preaching the word of God since 1967, said when he got invitation from the leader of Duk Community to attend the event, he did not hesitate. “I wanted to come and bid Panchol farewell,” he said. Of course, the two met earlier in Salt Lake City, during the first concert.

 

Uncle Kuanydit praised the legendary artist for his musical genius and for his patriotism. Most everybody who is familiar with Panchol’s music knows the message of his songs is positivity—his songs are meaningful and invaluable to society and country.

 

It is such musical genius which has allowed Panchol Deng Ajang to fuse aspects of traditional and modern life, our culture and liberation era and used those to compose some of the most indelible songs.

 

“Panchol loves the homeland,” said uncle Kuanydit.

 

The esteemed elder and spiritual teacher also urged South Sudanese to be clear-eyed and to remain united.

 

“If we can come together they way we have tonight, we need to ask ourselves what it’s that brings another divisions,” he wondered.

 

Honorable Mathiang Malual Mabuur also praised singer Panchol Deng Ajang, calling him a “teacher,” a reference to the way his songs touch people. “His songs are uplifting and empowering.”

 

“He has a good heart,” added honorable Mabuur. Of course friends, family, and fans alike always attest to the fact that Ajang is someone who is humble, caring and compassionate.

 

Honorable Mabuur, a respected elder, also had encouraging words for the leadership of Duk Community USA. “You have worked hard,” he assured them.

 

Immediately following him was his wife, MP Anne Lino Wuor, who thanked the community leadership, and urged all South Sudanese to “take responsibility.” 

The South Sudanese Member of the National Legislative Assembly said she “was very impressed” as she watched leaders of community organizations speak. “You have reflected unity of South Sudan,” she told all those gathered in the hall. “We belong to one country.”

 

She acknowledged the sacrifice and contributions made by those in the Diaspora. “You are mindful of those back home,” she said, urging them to keep up. “It is through you that we are going to fight corruption,” she added emphatically.

 

“I’m very happy, and very proud of you,” the honorable MP said as she was concluding her remarks.

 

The Journey Came Full Circle

 

“Lastly, our special thanks go to Abuna Zachariah Jok Char for playing a vital role in moderating our community event,” wrote David Thon in recognition of the great work done by the emcee.

 

After the event, the legendary singer Panchol Deng Ajang went back to Kanas City. He left USA on the morning of Thursday, October 5, taking with him ‘greetings’ to people back home in East Africa.

 

This was a culmination of the much-anticipated visit to the West that was years in the making, which took him to Canada, then to Australia, before rounding it out with 2017 the U.S. concert tour and reception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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