Man of Men

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From the air, South Sudan looks like a decrepit village rising into a city. Dusty roads wind around red, green and blue roofed buildings. There are clusters of huts. You can count the tarmacked roads from the air. The KQ flight is only a quarter full and across the aisle is a mzungu – face white as sheet, craning to see the famous troubled country below. The youngest country in the world. She has a charmed look. I wonder what she’s thinking. I wonder how much time she has spent in Africa. She could be one of those who have been in many conflict areas in Africa or she could be new. A first timer. She’d have told her family, “I will send you guys a postcard from Africa,” because she imagined there will be a post office where you can go and buy stamps and send postcards. Of course. I couldn’t even get a fridge magnet in South Sudan. And I looked.

Sadly, if South Sudan is your first port of call in Africa, your stereotypical, media-influenced view of Africa will just be reinforced. Because South Sudan is a different animal; scarred by decades and decades of war. You see it in its character. Its jaded. Its spine is bowed. But South Sudan has had enough and it’s saying, “Can we do this differently, folks?”

Well, can they?

When we touched down and our plane maneuvered its way around the numerous special mission planes, loading and offloading humanitarian goods, we saw sitting on the hot tarmac an army van, the ones with the massive machine guns mounted on its back, patrolling the airport. Grim looking blue-black men – not dark, but blueblack men – hang behind this van that had its headlights on, clutching special assault rifles and a motley of other weaponry. I saw a rocket launcher. A bloody rocket launcher! They were all thin and long-limbed and risqué. Some were in dark Ray Bans – black glass against black faces – you couldn’t even tell where the dark glasses started and the flesh ended. The sun bounced off them.

And nothing prepares you for this scene.

Actually nothing prepares you for South Sudan.The heat continued to rise from the tarmac. The army men with their guns drove around the airport, a show of might. I felt like I was in a scene from Beast of No Nation – only there was no single person who looked like Idris. The women fanning themselves weren’t doing it because of the soldiers but because of the heat.

My minder told me not to point at soldiers. At some point over lunch I asked him how one can differentiate a Dinka from a Nuer for instance and he shot me a nervous look and put his finger on his lips. “Walls have ears,” he said. South Sudan is a bit like a human body that has suffered a bad bout of malaria and is only just recovering. There is a bad taste in the mouth and a sense of lethargy. The appetite isn’t quite back yet. It feels fragile. And jumpy.

If the city surprises you, the countryside will shock you. We travelled south to Nimule, towards the border of Uganda. It’s green and vast and largely uninhabited. Small bomas made up of huts ran alongside the road. There were green hills and shallow valleys. Smoke from charcoal dealers meandered up to the unfiltered blue spotless sky. Often without warning a small boy in military uniform would step onto the road and raise his thin hand consisting of more elbow than arm. Our driver pulled over. The boy with jumpy inquisitive eyes would peer at us in the car and speak to the man seated in the front seat, a lanky security guy in civvies, who then produces an ID and mumbles words in their mother tongue. I caught “mission” and we are waved through. There are numerous checkpoints like that ahead ran by boys and young men with no boots and lots of authority. That and demining crew who closed the road with ribbons as they dismantled landmines.

I went about interviewing military men in government offices. Men who have seen battle, no doubt. Now they are tied to desks. They are large and towering and black. Their offices have loud Chinese furniture with light doors that can’t keep out the wind. Their egos fill the room.Their desks are like their cars – large, and they struggle to accommodate those egos. They wear their military and police uniforms to the office. And their chairs, my goodness! Their chairs are gallant and elaborate and they rise behind them like the thrones of pharaohs. I suspected that a man is judged by the size of his chair down there. When I put on my voice recorder they’d peer at it suspiciously. Most were accommodative and quick to laugh. Have you seen a big black military guy laughing? Oh, you want a big military guy to be laughing, not frowning.

The offices always had hangers-on seated around, some in military uniform and some in civvies. They just sat there, staring at you with dead eyes and ignoring the heat. Some took calls in the room and spoke loudly. The big man would ring a bell on his desk and a lady would stumble in with a tray full of bottled water. Every office was like that; a ringing bell and water. I have never hydrated so much in my life. This is how the youngest country in the world sets onto a path of development. Of course they have a long way to go, but at least they are on their way.

On the first night we were taken to a bar called Juba Raha. There was a band playing rhumba music. Bands are huge in Juba and they all play Congolese music, which makes me know that indeed the Luos descended from there. They also have an obsession with big cars and status and titles. They are tall and dark. Playing at Juba Raha there was a ragtag band called the Rising Star. Great vocals. Uber entertainers. Men smoked shisha. Shisha might be the preserve of the upmarket here in Nairobi but in Juba it’s smoked outside dukas and kiosks. It’s status-less. At Juba Raha ageing men smoked it, with their endless legs stretched before them.

South Sudanese people can’t dance for shit. They can’t. We went out each night. Not one person could dance. They just shifted their super tall bodies around on the dance floor, as if they had just eaten a very heavy lunch. When a man liked a number the band was playing, he would walk up and put a note on the man’s forehead and stick it there because of course he would be sweating. If it was a woman he would stick it in between her breasts. The society is very patriarchal. And they don’t make any excuses for it.

There is a word I learnt in Juba.  A lovely word that I heard one night, after an altercation at a parking lot where a guy who was giving us a lift – a security agent – scratched a parked car as he reversed and he uttered those words. He kept saying, “I’m not scared of a Muonyjang. I’m not scared of a Muonyjang.” And I asked later, “What is this Muonyjang?” because it sounded epic and dusty, something revered and covered in a banana leaf and kept on a rafter of a hut. Not to be touched by children. A Muonyjang.

I was told that’s Dinka to mean “Man of men.”

A Dinka man, believes that there are men, then there is a Dinka man, a Muonyjang, a man of men.

I want to say something. But I don’t want it to mean anything else other than what I mean. I also don’t have to keep disclaiming that I’m straight before I say certain things. Because I am. No, really, I am. If I was even Bi, I would say it. Or allude strongly to it. It’s not like you are going to come to my digs and beat me up for liking men. And it’s not like we drink together so you going to never pay my bill. Sexuality is personal, no man lies on the bed you make. But I’m straight, sawa?

Having said that (goodness, ati having said that, how old am I?) I think there was something extremely romantic about those South Sudanese men. And by romance I don’t mean the romance of love, I mean the adventurous romance. The romance defined by Webster as “marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious or idealised.”

Are we together there at the back?

First South Sudanese men are tall! Very tall. You haven’t seen a tall man until you see a tall South Sudanese man. An assaulting height. And it’s this height that you notice even if you don’t want to notice, because it “diminishes” you as a man. When you stand next to a man and you are forced to look up at him, the dynamics of that interaction immediately change. Those men are tall. 6’2’’ is average height there. I interviewed this military guy who was a good 6’9’’ with the girth of a Prado to boot. (Hehe) Goodness, he stood up to shake my hand and when I placed my hand in his, I felt like a flower girl. I felt like those girls in white that used to wait to receive Baba Moi at the airport from his overseas trips. My hand disappeared in his. He held my hand like I was a young boy. Big men with big hands.

Then they are dark. A shade of dark that isn’t in the colour spectrum. It’s the kind of dark in which you can see your reflection. And it’s a beautiful smooth dark. Their skin has a very lovely sheen – both women and men. Tall and black and menacing.

I saw a man at the airport wearing a Kaunda suit. By the way South Sudan is the land of Kaunda Suits. Men love ‘em there. One night Dickson Migiro took us to this club called Nest and there I saw a guy clubbing in a full Kaunda Suit. Right in the middle of the club! It was like seeing a giraffe standing outside that Barclays ATM on Loita Street. I was flummoxed. I thought to myself, so this guy showered, opened his wardrobe and said, “I’m going to rock this Kaunda Suit because today I plan to kill them ladies.” Maybe he had a specific Kaunda Suit for going to the club with. Oh, and most South Sudanese ladies have weaves. I’m just saying. In fact I turned to the PR girl – Ann – and asked her, “Is it me or do these mamas all have weaves?” and she said, “Oh yeah. They love it.”

Anyway, back to that chap wearing a Kaunda Suit at the airport. He was easily 6’11”, very athletic, dark as a taboo, and with a small set of very white teeth running in his mouth. He had a face that seemed to have been carefully sculpted from a hardwood and then roasted in a kiln. His chin was solid, angular and perfect. His cheeks sunk in the right places, drawing small pools of shadows in the process; and he had these set of high cheekbones that gave him a half-menacing look. On his high forehead were those tribal incisions and I could tell from them that he was a Dinka from the way they ended into a V shape at the bridge of his forehead. His fingers were long and tough looking like sprouting roots of a medicinal tree, ending in uncut cigar-like stubs at the end. Then he had those small, aggressive, penetrative, and somewhat vindictive eyes that you couldn’t stare into for too long. Eyes that could wear out an enemy before his weapon did. He was a picture, that man.

We all walk around thinking that we are very male. We tell each other in bars, “you guy, you are a man so you can’t back down.” We say, “mimi ni mwanaume” when we want to prove a point. Then you find yourself next to this man in a Kaunda suit at the airport and you know that he is a different kind of man, the kind that you aren’t. You feel like a bad wolf sitting next to a lion.

Our flight was delayed so we sat in that dreadful steaming airport that smelled of batshit (literally) and this man looked around in that half bored, half alert way. He was an elegant man. And I’m never going to write those words again ever in my writing career. The way he carried himself, I could tell he didn’t belong in that Kaunda suit. It had been thrust on him. Clothes were wasted on him. They simply hang on his frame. He exuded something primal. Something primitive. Primeval. Outmoded. An antiquated man. He seemed like a time traveler from a past century, grudgingly passing through a strange modern time.

Sitting next to him was like sitting next to an electric plant, and feeling it hum with current. You could feel the manhood hum from this guy, his male-ness filling the air around him. He vibrated with testosterone. A Muonyajang, a man of men. I have seen men like these before, in Pokot and in Turkana. I once interviewed a 19-year old Pokot warrior during the Rift Valley festivals where they try to bring the Pokots and Turkanas together for the sake of peace and that boy was not a boy at all. But such things you have to be there to fathom.

The guys reading this are probably saying, “Oh come on now, Chocolate Man, you have a crash on another man?” Zii.  You will only say this when the only men you have interacted with wear polo shirts with upturned collars, drink Heineken and say things like, “si you kuja?”

I was telling my office-mate, Fred, about this guy. And he stopped working on his laptop and listened to me with this look in his eyes. His mouth was closed but his eyes said “wow.”

In the plane, I wondered about that main in a Kaunda Suit. I wondered if a man his type who pays 150 heads of cattle for a woman, a man who can run for many kilometers in the dark during a raid, wrestle other men, walk barefoot on the hot African earth, love his cows more than he loves his woman, a man who is socialised never to back down, to cede to any man, a man like that, does he believe in foreplay? What kind of fathers are they? What dreams do they have?Is he the kind of man who will hold a woman’s hand or is this weakness? Does he cuddle, or is that a sign of weakness? When does he get vulnerable? What makes him vulnerable? How does he show fear?

OK, that’s enough. I have exhausted my gay quota for this year.

In other less manly news, my Creative Writing Masterclass will kick off between 8th to 10th June. We have now opened registration. To lock down a slot please email me bikozulu@gmail.com.

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258 Comments
      1. Assuming he got the email at 9:48 and commented, immediately, does it mean four minutes later you’d read it? Or were you also waiting with “First comment” BEFORE Jonyo’s appeared

      1. Elvis is a man’s name, right? You really want to be the boy of boys that celebrates commenting first on a MAN OF MEN post?

  1. “Grim looking blue-black men – not dark, but blue–black men”- Surely, are they that Grim and Navy blue. Biko, your SS cousins might whip you for that description.

  2. Hahaha! Half way , I found myself chuckle thinking ,”hasn’t the chocolate man exhausted his 2016 allowed gay moments?” . Absolutely fantastic read

    1. That line!!
      Took me back to school. Something about stylistic devices in writing and the collective name that was given to such phrases. I’m pretty sure the need to remember will torture me for the better part of today. Someone please put me out of my misery…

    2. “A man like that,does he believe in foreplay?” This line got me. It’s soooooo good! Didn’t see it coming, it just crept up on me, and I had to go back and re read if just to understand how brilliant it is!
      I love this article, it has so many good lines mmmmmmhhhhh

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  3. Boss, I’m glad you put a disclaimer. That overly description on Sudanese male was just too much. Loved the piece, though.

  4. e had a face that seemed to have been carefully sculpted from a hardwood and then roasted in a kiln.

    Man, that was a killer gay description. You better exhaust that gay quota ASAP. Your descriptive writing is on point.

  5. Good Heavens Biko!!! WOW!! What a picture you paint with your literal smithery,I totally get what you mean about being a bad Wolf next to a Lion. Some feelings are just visceral, you have to sense it to understand it. Very interesting!!

  6. You will only say this when the only men you have interacted with wear polo shirts with upturned collars, drink Heineken and say things like, “si you kuja?”

    Okay, the Heineken and the si you kuja part has finished me.

  7. “He had a face that seemed to have been carefully sculpted from a hardwood and then roasted in a kiln. His chin was solid, angular and perfect. His cheeks sunk in the right places, drawing small pools of shadows in the process; and he had these set of high cheekbones that gave him a half-menacing look. On his high forehead were those tribal incisions and I could tell from them that he was a Dinka from the way they ended into a V shape at the bridge of his forehead. His fingers were long and tough looking like sprouting roots of a medicinal tree, ending in uncut cigar-like stubs at the end. ” Man of Men Indeed. Did you say they go as far as 6’9 tall? Jezz. That is intimidating. Nice read.

  8. Reminds me of this Sudanese guy I bumped into at the supermarket food section. Maybe too tall to fit on any Kenyan-made bed. Did you look at their beds Biko? Anyway the attendant at the food section did not know English and so for a minute I became an interpreter – an international interpreter. But I felt like a kiddo now that I was looking up at him every time I had to say something. It was weird to say the least.

    Okay the end was too much funny. Ati you have exhausted your gay quota? I thought you did that a while back Biko. Anyway, I also want to know whether those tall (more than cliff the tall), blue-black South-Sudanese men believe in foreplay. And whether they cuddle when it’s cold or drink Heineken and cry when they’re drunk 🙂 Do they even fall in love or just walk right into it? This piece is an amazing description Biko, I could literally see the giant men in uniforms behind desks with big-ass chairs. Even the women fanning themselves from the heat  I hope they have peace and stability in SS. I hope to go and see their country when there are no rocket launchers in sight.

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    1. Hehehe. I totally agree hands up. They are way tooooo tall. iI think it is painful to be that tall. But those guys get so angry very quickly. That is their only problem. Am safe to say they are the Meru men of South sudan.

      1. Haha I knew you’d concede. But i bet those guys see Kenyan men as soft and too happy for life. Imagine the look they’d give a man saying “ati si you kuja!”. Ask Biko he’ll tell you they think we even wear heels and swing our hips across town window shopping for fancy guy clothes that are no Kaundas 🙂 Do you think we are all gayish to them? I hope not!
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        1. hehehehe, ati do they fall in love or walk right into into? with that height i’d think they walk right into it…

          1. 🙂 crazy Wesh, Blair, yaani hio description wacha tu! Leo Biko ameweza ingawa I’m lost.

    2. Yes they fall in love.. Yes they cuddle and yess they r very romantic.. Ask me how? I’m dating a Dinka.. A man of Men!!!

      1. Thank you Viola for giving a very concise response to author unanswered questions. I am wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.

  9. You Biko your play
    of words is amazing amazing this got me ” The women fanning themselves weren’t doing it because of the soldiers but because of the heat” nice.Thanks for this week dose.

  10. Wow! I have never been this high in the comments list. I’ll be coming back to read this article many many times. ” you could feel the manhood hum from this guy,his male-ness filling the air around him. He vibrated with testosterone…Clothes were wasted on him. They just hang on his frame. He exuded something primal. Primeval. Outmoded. An antiquated man” Bellissimo!

  11. I’ve never been to South Sudan. But I’ve been to Greenfields. And Jacaranda. A breath away from Green span. There you will meet those men. But they are not muo- what you call it – yang. These ones will say “si you kuja” and if anything they will assault you with bad fashion sense.

  12. I wonder why you only saw the men. These people have gorgeous and very beautiful women. Real African beauty resides in South Sudan. Why lie

  13. Hehehe…I have lived and worked in South Sudan since 2009; actually right now commenting from a tiny village called Malualkon, Northern bahr el Ghazal – true, that stuff about Kaunda Suits and weaves.LOL – but the proper South Sudan is beyond Juba. You get to see the real deal, culture,fortitude,resilience- towering guys who are tough as nails and have fought wars.

  14. You smote me with your literature Chocolate man…I am completely undone. Indeed they don’t make men like they used to.

  15. Reeks of jarring, cold primal testosterone. This are me n indeed. You overlooked something though. Did their English accent nor hit you as something to write home about? I wager, no people speak in a fancier accent than the Suds.

  16. i swear these Sudanese boys scare the blackness in me. (i always believe am the blackest Kenyan?). i meet them at Accra road or when am at Nyayo estate chasing some pretty girl.

    “You
    could feel the manhood hum from this guy, his
    male-ness filling the air around him. He vibrated
    with testosterone. A Muonyajang , a man of men”

    what line says it.

  17. I don’t know.. But this has got to be one of the best pieces I have come across here! Totally love it. Thank-you!

  18. Biko this was vivid, now I have a complete idea what South Sudan and their men look like.Salute to the man of men.

  19. Biko this is vivid, now I have a complete idea what South Sudan and their men look like.Salute to the man of men.
    Steve, Dar

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  20. BIKO YIN EH MONYJANG…BIKO YOU ARE ALSO A MAN OF MEN. I had to comment on this one, I’m reading this from juba…but don’t get too excited, tumetoana Nairobi

  21. Good Read as always… Unfortunately Please note there is a quota of adjectives you can use to describe a fellow man..atleast here in kenya. That number is one.

  22. “I also don’t have to keep disclaiming that I’m straight before I say certain things.” Oh, but you do! I don’t think anyone thinks you are gay, just in touch with your emotional side which is quite endearing.. I read the entire piece with a smile plastered on my face. Great story!

  23. Eiiish…Biko!..you pen words like these..
    “Sitting next to him was like sitting next to an electric plant,
    and feeling it hum with current.
    You could feel the manhood hum from this guy, his male-ness filling the air around him.
    He vibrated with testosterone. A Muonyajang, a man of men…”
    …and I am lost in imagination!!
    Great piece.

  24. I don’t do well with detailed descriptions so the fist part I was half dozing.Then you started describing the man of men and I sat straight…shifted in my seat and focused. Damn!

  25. Gay quota? hahahaha.Biko, that was hilarious.
    A very vivid description of the Dinka man.Are you certain you didn’t have a tiny crush on him?

  26. “He was an elegant man…He exuded something primal. Something primitive. Primeval. Outmoded. An antiquated man. He seemed like a time traveller from a past century, grudgingly passing through a strange modern time.” mmh!…mmh!…mmh! Biko! This has done something to me.

  27. yes, chocolate man, back benchers tupo!! this is one class where i don’t fall asleep. ati you felt like a “flower girl” has just killed me. tell me, in the bar, how did these muonyjang treat their women? besides the one singing and money put in her you know where. am trying to visualize how far they go with the romance..

  28. I remember my last visit there,
    Juba has an interesting air about it.
    It “feels” safe but then you are consistently reminded of conflict at every
    corner.
    Tall, Dark, Blue – a hue that is impossible to describe,
    and shiny like those guys in the shaka zulu movies.
    The heavy armored trucks punctuate every street corner.
    Regular guys working for Multi-Nationals carry with them AK47’s the way
    we carry power banks.
    If you don’t find the right spot for the night you are stuck in a 1 star motel
    with nothing in the way of room service and electricity for only one half
    of the night, so just as you are getting used to your squalid 6 x 4 you are
    awoken by the sharp temperature change as the small AirCon power supply is
    cut off, the Eritirean owner will pretend to fix the electricity but by
    day 2 you know the drill. . .
    I remember spending more time at immigration than on the flight into Juba.
    And if you didn’t have exactly $50 anything extra you gave you “lost”

    Interesting place. Sad Place. South Sudan

    1. You must have been there long time ago…Things have really improved of late as compared to the late 2000’s

  29. Biko, you should have interviewed the Kaunda suit guy and asked him what makes him vulnerable…………i am sure he would have said when he is ejaculating. All men are vulnerable when ejaculating.

  30. Fantastic read Biko. Reminds me of my South Sudan sojourn back in 06 in the backwaters of Upper Western Nile with the Nuer.
    The roughest travel experience ever! Not ever going back there…
    And what is it about South Sudan and Rhumba music? Its everywhere out there…
    The Nuer ‘cattle boys’ I believe, are surely THE men of men in South Sudan

  31. That height is impressive, I sip with an ex-soldier from there and it’s just painful to talk to the guy. Keep craning my neck to talk. But they do have intresting stories about their country and it’s March from where it was to where it is and their vision for its future.

  32. The nostalgia…on point description of Juba and the people. Totally love your word play, reading this article my surroundings faded and I was transported to juba. Thank you for indulging my senses, think I had a braingasm reading today’s article. Cheers!!

  33. Please get us answers to these questions next time you meet Muonyajang…does he believe in foreplay? What kind of fathers are they? What dreams do they have? Is he the kind of man who will hold a woman’s hand or is this weakness? Does he cuddle, or is that a sign of weakness? When does he get vulnerable? What makes him vulnerable? How does he show fear?

    1. We are human.Muonyjang are human. We love our women, that is why pay huge bride price. Fear is the only thing we are taught never to have in hearts.That is the reason Muonyjang fought muslims for half century without backing down with all odds (firepower) against us.

      1. Chol is your first name John by any chance? I had a friend in primary school who told me how his dad walked into a flame rather than bow to the Muslims

  34. OK, that’s enough. I have exhausted my gay quota for this year.i would like to take your word but i never got to know the difference
    a dinka and a nuer.never mind we have our total men.a very good read

  35. He had a face that seemed to have been carefully sculpted from a hardwood and then roasted in a kiln. ha ha What a description chocolate man…..I liked it…No, I loved it.

  36. The well detailed masculinity in the story is quite interesting. It has made me rethink my earlier assumption of the Sudanese men. I sure wouldn’t mind visiting the place and interacting with these ‘giants’but that wouldn’t worry me, I am one among them! Great piece Biko.That’ flower girl analogy was just a cracker.

  37. When Biko writes, i take time to study the whole thing. I wish you knew how long it is to wait for another Tuesday. One day i’ll look up and tell OBONGO NYAKALAGA to bring fourth all thy men and women who’ve not joined the Gang

  38. ‘Black glass against black faces-you couldn’t even tell where the dark glasses started and the flesh ended.’ That’s the best way to describe South Sudanese. They are too dark to be black. I think blue is their right color. ‘Blue Africans’

  39. “Is he the kind of man who will hold a woman’s hand or is this weakness? Does he cuddle, or is that a sign of weakness?” I wish you asked him this, you have made me very curious Biko.

  40. I am sorry chocolate man, I still couldn’t get my mind off the gutter despite the disclaimer. That description…

  41. Biko, disclaimers are unnecessary. “The people we call great writers are in the end merely people who’ve known how to manipulate the butterfly nets required to catch their own flightiest, airiest, shyest thoughts,” Alain de Botton. No topic is off limits or perhaps dark as taboo. And yes, dark as taboo – epic wordsmithery!

    1. njambi you are right.but this is kenya where a compliment by a fellow man can get you stoned to dead.this is where you are even thought suspicious when you look at a man’s eyes while talking to them.thats the KENYA.

  42. Cool description! Now I want to go to South Sudan.
    But this was long…I hope you are working on a manuscript..this can be a chapter in a book.
    How long does the writing class run for? Would like to plan sometime in the future to join one.

  43. For the kuyo curiosity. Ati juba hakuna Mpesa. Maybe I should move there, I might just get myself a man of men while running the biz

  44. Biko the words you be using these days to describe your fellow men!!,i know, i read the disclaimer and all but huh?!! That was quite a picture you painted for us ladies though, thanks. hehe

  45. Biko the words you be using these days to describe your fellow men!!,i know, i read the disclaimer and all but huh?!! That was quite a picture you painted for us ladies though, thanks. . hehe

  46. Biko, you paint such an elaborate description that I no longer feel like I’m just reading this, rather experiencing all off it hapo kando yako. Enjoyed reading every bit of it.

  47. I had this counterpart in kakuma who was a Dinka bor, proud like hell and darker than a dark night. The guy however had adequate humour to salvage those intimidating moments. You would ask him something like “Makuach, are you Dinka or Nuer?” He would feign offence and candidly respond ” of course I’m Dinka” like it should be obvious to you.

    1. Hi, I read your comment and inserted, “darker than midnight” in my head. Felt it had a nice ring to it. You too should pen a guest piece.

  48. At the beginning I thought this article was written by a typhical Westerner. SUPRISE, SUPRISE!. And we called white people racist when they write articles like this? I thought Americans where more racists and Ignorance. After going through all the comments, I realized there is nothing African about Kenyans.

    I have been to Nairobi many times and after more than 50 years of independence, you guys have nothing to be proud about. I can guarantee you South Sudan will be okay.

    I can’t believe all the Kenyans who commented have not called out this racist bigot for what he is.. It’s says a lot about Kenya society. I always wonder why there are many Jenny’s, Jessicas, Roberts, Johnson, John,etc in Kenya. Even villagers go by Wazungus names. Kenya has sold out its soul for anything white.

    For those who are claiming the colour of my skin is not in the Shades, I would suggest you go to Wazungus and ask them name name your color because black is South Sudanese.

    1. Majok,Majokes whatever your name is STFU!You know nothing about Kenya.Please thank Biko for this article because he just “sold” South Sudan to the whole world.Nothing racist here!Go hug a cactus!

    2. Go sit in a corner man! Clearly you’re starved for attention. For Chrissake don’t ruin the SS Biko painted for me up there. Would you rather he’d written about your country like a CNN reporter would??

      What kind of name is Majok anyway? Am I supposed to denounce my Christian to appease people like you?
      Again have several seats do a wall slide while at it too.

    3. Majok, Sir, this story offers the highest of praise for the men of Southern Sudan. Sorry you read it negatively, and that the way color is described touched a very raw nerve. Racist texts written by wazungus or for the mzungu gaze typically contain the noble savage archetype who is exotic, mute and fetishized. IMHO this story is a study in African masculinity and the author’s long disclaimers suggest as much. Color is part of the armor, along with the height, complexion, chiseled looks and tribal cuts. The cheeky jokes featuring kaunda suits and inability to dance further humanize the men. If the comments are anything to go by, many Kenyan women will seek out a Muonyajang they can call their own (the same way African men threatened to move to Eritrea on the promise of multiple beautiful wives).

      1. Njambi,I appreciate your clarification. I didn’t see it they you saw it. Disregard my comment above. Sorry for any Kenyan offended by it.
        Most importantly, I apologize to Mr. Biko

          1. Aaaah see why I love the gang. Mr Majok we are celebrating being African. I wish I could be a Dinka or a Neur and have such depth of culture

    4. Majok, please disregard the tirade below we are not all to quick to judge as Nduta has clearly articulated. If anything, Biko’s descriptive writing makes me proud to be a descendant of the Muonyajang because my ancestors were Muonyajang and in our bearing it shows. Be proud of who you are, our English names are an indication of our christianity though you will find many Kenyans using their indigenous names.

  49. .. this is a great piece of literature!, a bit uncomfortable for “us” the real Muonyajang on account of your suspect man crush but a fantastic piece indeed

  50. “….he stood up to shake my hand and when I placed my hand in his, I felt like a flower girl.”
    I’ll read up to this point and continue later. This is too good to read while at work

  51. Never given a thought to Sudanese men. But this……He had a face that seemed to have been carefully sculpted from a hardwood and then roasted in a kiln. My curiosity is piqued!

  52. Biko yawa, what’s the flower girl feeling now? Is it the pee-in-your-pants feeling? I like your thought structure…perfect prose!

  53. Biko,Next you should go to Khartoum,I think the heat in Juba will be like winter in Khartoum and I’ll look forward to the description of the Women in Khartoum and the hugs from men.

    Btw,when you went to Addis, were you hugged by men? Did they also hold your hands or wrap their hands around your shoulder while walking in the streets?

  54. outh Sudan is a bit like a human body that has suffered a bad bout of malaria and is only just recovering. There is a bad taste in the mouth and a sense of lethargy. The appetite isn’t quite back yet. It feels fragile. And jumpy…………this made my heart weep

  55. powerful imagery plus it’s bloody hilarious yaani I’ve gone through my entire repertoire of nudging the nearest person, reading passages out loud, reading to myself then giggling at random or full out belly-laughing. Thankyou, my week isn’t going to get less stressful but it has become just that much better 🙂

  56. I really want to attend that master class. Problem is, I have no sponsor and I cannot afford it myself. Do you know any willing sponsor somewhere?

  57. In the plane, I wondered about that main in a Kaunda Suit. I wondered if a man his type who pays 150 heads of cattle for a woman, a man who can run for many kilometers in the dark during a raid, wrestle other men, walk barefoot on the hot African earth, love his cows more than he loves his woman, a man who is socialised never to back down, to cede to any man, a man like that, does he believe in foreplay?
    The ending did it for me-epic!
    ‘What kind of fathers are they? What dreams do they have?Is he the kind of man who will hold a woman’s hand or is this weakness? Does he cuddle, or is that a sign of weakness? When does he get vulnerable? What makes him vulnerable? How does he show fear?’

  58. I have been to SS and the heat is too much.There are ACs in almost all offices and rooms except the the airport.And those guys love titles,almost all ministries have an attorney general who am sure the salo doesn’t match the title.But I do agree with you Biko,there is something very attractive about the South Sudanese men other than their physique.Good read.

  59. You nailed it Biko.
    People can pay as much as 300 cattle for ladies here.
    Can’t believe that you were actually in my country

  60. Hahaha! this gang and its leader are all a bunch of crazies.If you thought that piece was funny,wait till you read the comments.

  61. they are dark. A shade of dark that isn’t in the colour spectrum. It’s the kind of dark in which you can see your reflection. And it’s a beautiful smooth dark. Their skin has a very lovely sheen – both women and men. Tall and black and menacing.

    This, we’ll this got me.

  62. I’m usually a Phantom reader…somewhere at the back just totally tickled by your writing. But today, I must say I sense major conflict in you…Yaani the way you have described that man?! Your gay quota must be above average. I’m willing to bet that you’ve not even scratched the surface

  63. Excellent chocolate man, very well delivered, you’ve made me want to visit that country, not for the men….but to see everything else including the women who you never gave much time herein, they must’ve taken your breath away.

  64. Interesting article. Reminds me of a pokot guy we schooled together years back. Now the guy towered above us all & was as dark as night. He was also aloof & had a pride u could not really put a finger where it really emanated from. When around him u always felt ‘silent menace’ vibes sparking from his soul. Its like he had lived & experienced what only us ‘town’ boys saw in movies. It so happened i found myself in our communal baths alone with him one cold morning. Okay,the phrase ‘man of men’ should be taken seriously. The guy had a d*** so unbelievably huge that had me almost traumatised just by looking at it! This guy Biko,when he describes the dinka guy @ the airport,memories of the pokot guy vividly click open in my head. By the way,the guy used to shit only once in a week…! Hahahaha

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  65. I might have overspent my gay quota seeing that I couldn’t resist “googl(e)-ing?” SOUTH SUDANESE MEN. Yes, in capitals because it would be insulting to do it in any other way.

  66. I love it, it long since I read your articles, guess I have been busy.i don’t believe is wrong to appreciate same sexs,atleast it was genuine. You should see women pretending to appreciate other women.

  67. I have always thought men from SS weren’t very attractive but after your description I definitely will see them differently. Thanks Chocolate man as always!

  68. “What is this Muonyjang?” because it sounded epic and dusty, something revered and covered in a banana leaf and kept on a rafter of a hut. Not to be touched by children. A Muonyjang

  69. Oh Biko!The zeal with which you describe these muonyjang is unmatched!To think I’ve always referred to them as monjang all this time I have been with them!Ha ha ha!
    Great read,and ya,I should be on the masterclass line up 🙂

  70. Man of Men …. Apt! Biko I stumbled on your blog on one of my flirting internet escapades and I have been part of the silent gang for close to two years. Today I break my silence … You are truly gifted. God bless you.
    And any time you plan to be in Ghana, let me know

    Reds,
    Your Ghanaian fan

  71. You have unknowingly explained to me why I am the way I am…a descendant of a Muonyajang. Awesome read Biko…just awesome

  72. I’ve not been to southern Sudan but I’ve played basketball, football and even sat in a class with them. Nice fellows. Really nice. Open hearted too. Once a southern Sudan lady fell for me. The sister to one of my classmates. She way shy of course. She opted to write me a love letter and gave her tall brother to bring it to me. The guy, with his 6’4 height stood gave me the letter. Stood right infront of me and told me to read it. Shaking like a leave I read it. Long story short I dated the girl until she went back to Sudan. That where you feel the woman is running things

  73. Oh you have taken me back to African novels. You read and it turns into a movie. I love these SS men. I am not scared of a man of men. Its thrilling. But I guess in theory though, and fantasy, unless ofcourse, the will hold my hand in public, commit to foreplay. Eventually I want a man man..

  74. Endless legs…that cracked

    Biko, please get the answers to those last questions about the ” Men of Men”….

  75. Oh my what a description; the tribe that is described in the bible in Isaiah 18:7 At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers– the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.

    I’m tall 6″3 and have met tall Men who tend to intimidate me; I feel you over the same.

  76. Often without warning a
    small boy in military uniform would step
    onto the road and raise his thin hand
    consisting of more elbow than arm.
    hahahaha that was VERY FUNNY.

  77. I will definitely be re-reading this post just to take in the beauty of the words herein.
    One of my top 3!Now I want to go to South Sudan

  78. Next time, please visit other parts of South Sudan where you will find that the “black” color isn’t universal in that country and tall people are not predominant all over the country. Perhaps your stereotypical depiction and the condescending colonial tone of your piece may not suffice next time.

  79. Wonderful! I’m a Muonyjang based in North America and I find it objective and enjoyable to read. Whoever thinks this piece is patronizing to South Sudan needs to open a book. As a first time visitor to Juba, there is only so much he could have covered in one blog post. Biko shared experiences he considered unique, that his audience would find interesting. I have read similar stuff about the Maasai here in the west, there is nothing wrong with it.

  80. Biko I had a dark-blue classmate. Man, that guy was black. A jang’o, hehe.. I always laughed when I saw him, but he can’t beat the Suds.. Awesome, awesome piece !!

  81. So descriptive that after reading this article I just want to google images of tall Sudanese men in Kaunda suits, so I can SEE for myself!

  82. Hahaha… ‘I have exhausted my quota of gay for the year’. I can lend you my quota for I do not see myself using it. As per kay, Kazi safi Chocolate man!

  83. One of the ghost readers too. But I had to comment. I had a South Sudanese friend. He was called Awar. First day he told me his name I heard Awour, and stupidly asked why he had a lady’s name,hehe… Thank goodness he wasn’t that intimidating. Been in Kenya for 10 years. Spoke Swahili like a Kenyan. But he missed home. I could often hear it in the way he spoke about it. With this nostalgic look on his face. He didn’t understand the lack of variety in our Kenyan food(We were in Kiambu then, I didn’t want to come off as tribalistic so I just laughed it off).
    Oh, and he could laugh. Maannn, I loved his laughter. The laughter of an African man who wasn’t apologetic for not holding anything back. His deepest scar was how stereotypic Kenyans were, especially police officers. He wanted to be a doctor, and go back home. I hope he will.
    FYI: We have short and chocolate(pun intended,hehe) South Sudanese guys. Most of us have only met Dinkas and Nuers. But South Sudan is a land rich in diversity.
    As usual, very good read Biko. I wonder if sometimes wake up in the middle of the night scared you will one day run out of words this deep,hehe…keep up the good work Chocolate Man

  84. There was this ‘ Are we together there at the back’

    And then this
    “He was easily 6’11”, very athletic, dark as a taboo, and with a small set of very white teeth running in his mouth. He had a face that seemed to have been carefully sculpted from a hardwood and then roasted in a kiln. His chin was solid, angular and perfect” It should have a girl seeing this …. Such a missed opportunity for the ladies…

  85. What a vivid description of Muonyjang- I will be on the lookout from now for my SS brothers .
    And I also really hate those polo shirt upturned collars

  86. I wonder what kind of questions you ask when interviewing the military men of South Sudan? Do you ask “trivial” questions like what do you do to unwind? Or what’s your favorite music band?
    I am sure the gang would love to hear a personal story from one of your interviewees!

  87. I had just read the article on Dreamcatchers before reading this article. Biko, maybe you need to get an SS man of men stand guard in your dreams hence forth. Good piece as usual. Looking forward already to next week.

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  88. Great article about the muonyajieng (pl. of muonyajang). Found it interesting that you mentioned that their chairs looked like those of the Pharaohs. Their forefathers once ruled Egypt. Google 25th Dynasty.

  89. Haha Biko you should have tried that shoulder to shoulder thump, guys call greetings. You would be nursing a wound by now
    It’s a great piece

  90. Hi Biko, awesome read, the description very vivid, been to South Sudan in a moment. You should do a piece about the ‘sapeur’ of congo. I insist.

  91. “a man like that, does he believe in foreplay? What kind of fathers are they? What dreams do they have?Is he the kind of man who will hold a woman’s hand or is this weakness? Does he cuddle, or is that a sign of weakness? When does he get vulnerable? What makes him vulnerable? How does he show fear?” I really wonder about the real answers to this questions. You should ask about it next time. Great piece Biko, no one paints a picture as clearly as you do with words.
    P.S Aki Biko please get people to proof-read your articles more thoroughly so it is well in the land of grammar Nazis. There are so many typos.

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  92. A bit of jeer here, bit of tease there but a great piece all the same. I am a MuonyJang after all.
    Kazi nzuri Mr. Biko

  93. Biko, did you notice how many people had to stoop to through doors? I hope that as they move forward, they will design doorways which will not require stooping..

  94. I swear by the time I got to the bottom of this piece I could feel a beard sprout on my chin. Lovely!
    I believe Bwana Muonyjang Kaunda has a Khaleesi in his life As for South Sudan the future can only be bright.
    I believe for Nations to be great they need some feminine. The Yin and the Yang. Fire and Ice. Brash military power and sleek seductive almost cunning diplomatic prowess .

  95. Their chairs are gallant and elaborate and they rise behind them like the thrones of pharaohs. I keep loving this, one story at a time. Keep it up.

  96. 1. Sometimes (and I mean sometimes), in the center of apprehension lies the inadequacy of self. I believe a man ha to be born to realize that giving birth to someone is a treasure. So, am only going to ask this once, why was Biko really so apprehensive?
    2. I appreciate the descriptions of a man as told by another man. However, what really makes the man in the story a man of men? It’s definitely not his aura, ego, or sense of wonder. Rather, it’s his ability to share a message that not he can tell, but others who “experience” him.

  97. I love this piece about Dinka men ,a friend introduced me to your blog and I couldn’t help reading ..I hope I am not the. only Sudanese in this gang .you got your way with words ,especially the description bit .I love it

  98. Seeing how much Biko, being a man is so fascinated by the Suds’ sexiness and maleness, am curious to know what’s going on with the ladies. I mean, arent Kenyan ladies always known to be categorical n choosy when it comes to men? We want them tall, dark and handsome, donge? So ladies, what’s yua take on SS men ama hao ni moto wa kuotea mbali? Speaking for myself, I see them from a tourist perspective. I mean, what kind of people are they? All that height and all that blackness makes them good fr tourist attraction heheeee

  99. I’m a South Sudanese who grew up in Kenya. I mean I have 17 good years in Kenya. You need to go to drive to Bor when you visit Juba again. That place is rich in culture. The kind of hospitality they will give you will wow you.