A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE COLLO

By DR. LAM AKOL
Posted to the web on September 24, 2010

The leader and founder of the Collo nation was Nyikang the son of Okwa, Okwa was the son of Mol, Mol was the son of Kolo, Kolo was the son of Omaro, and Omaro was the son of Odhiang (Nyadhiang Aduk). One source (Angelo Othow) takes the genealogy further. He contends that Odhiang was the son of Diwad, Diwad was the son of Oyel, Oyel was the son of Cacre, Cacre was the son of Lwor. Nyikang’s mother was Nyikayo nya Kiir (literally, the daughter of the river). Nyikang and the small group of relatives and followers that went with him to the present Collo land were from the Lwoo family. This name could easily pass as the pronunciation of Lwor. For Collo, the last letter (R) is not pronounced in a number of names such as Oyor (pronounced, Oyo).

The land of Nyikang’s nativity and the cradle of the Lwoo community (wij pac) is believed to be in the Bahr el Ghazal region around the area of Rumbek town. It is referred to by the Collo as Kar and also as the land of Diwaad.  The Lwoo family witnessed the most extensive migrations. Nyikang and his group moved northwards around the first half of the sixteenth century. Other Lwoo groups moved southwards following the course of the Nile to Uganda (such as the Alur and Lango tribes) and yet the rest proceeded up to Lake Nyanza (the present Lwoo tribe in Kenya). Those who remained behind are: the present Lwoo tribe (erroneously termed Jur-Col, an identification given them by the Jieng to distinguish them from the light-coloured tribes in the area), the Chat, the Thuro and the Balanda-Bwor, all in Bahr el Ghazal region. Members of the last group are the descendants of Bwor wa Okwa.

As they migrated, the Lwoo absorbed or influenced other groups they came into contact with (for example, the Jopadholo in Uganda). 

In the case of Nyikang, he totally absorbed the people he found in the present Collo land forming a new tribe (Collo) speaking a Lwoo language (dho Collo). Of course, the language is affected by the environment and surrounding tribes, hence the present variations in the languages of the Lwoo tribes.

The Collo are politically the most highly organized of the Nilotes with the rädh as the local and temporal leader. The rädh is believed to be possessed by the spirit of Nyikang and is his incarnation. Most of the present Collo country (north of the present Panyidwai) was formerly belonging to the Apuny (the Funj tribe of Southern Blue Nile). The Apuny put up stiff resistance before they were dislodged from their traditional homeland by Nyikang and his group.

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