Dinka Gathering At Radford
By Zsuzsi Soboslay
On November 17, Radford College was host to the Dinka Culture Hub. Staff and students from Radford College, members of the wider Canberra community, and more than 300 of the Dinka [South Sudanese] community gathered from near and afar. The event began in the afternoon with soccer, basketball and games; followed by speeches from community leaders and special guests, and then became a celebration of cultural dance and songs lasting long into the night. A new drum, recently bought from the Sudan, was a highlight.
Special visitors included Michelle Bamford [and her husband Mark] from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Charles Wood [and his wife Therese] representing the project’s Auspice body, Anglicare, and representatives from the Dinka community in Sydney [Nul and Deng] who drove down especially for the event.
Dinka cultural practices are an important part of their cultural identity. We are grateful to Mrs Fiona Godfrey for accepting our proposal for the Dinka to Gather at Radford.
Our gratitude to Oz Harvest for providing so much fruit; Canberra Magic Kitchen for their ‘loaves and fishes’ act--catering to the multitudes; Tiny’s Green Shed for sundry items; and to Louise Curham and Roger Hacker for taking photographs. Thanks also to Radford groundsman Dave, and staff members Tamara, Alison, Ailsa and their children who gave so generously of their time and enthusiasm; as well as senior students Harry Blake, Michael Shillington, Lachlan Sampson, Patrick Knight and Nikki Rossendell, who always come for the basketball and stay for the ride. Each Gathering, Radford students share such generosity of spirit; but as you can see from the photographs, the giving goes both ways. Special thanks to Father Richard Browning for being such a tireless and ecumenical enabler.
The Gatherings will continue, with soccer, games, a playgroup, and dancing open to anyone who would like to attend. The Culture Hub has potential to evolve into a mentoring and cultural exchange programme, open to families and participants of any age.
In the words of Rev Peter Kuot, Dinka community leader:
“We are no longer feel being isolated from now on as you have seen the face of joyful. I have much deep appreciation to all of you. Because you have joined hands without doubt. Many blessings. Peter Kuot “
As initiator of this exchange, it is heart-warming to witness such good will from so many, and the joy that comes from enabling a sharing of strengths and understandings between communities.
Anyone who would like to contribute their help, expertise or indeed sponsorship of the ongoing project, within and beyond Radford’s auspices, is welcome to contact me.
0402 283 615