Opinion by: Eng. Chuar Juet Jock
In the late 1980s, during our stay in Khartoum in our resident at Sahafa Shariq, I used to have long conversations with uncle Gabriel Yoal Dok, who is not only an uncle to me but a mentor, a father, a leader, and an example of a human that have combined great qualities rarely could be acquired by majority of us in this ever-challenging life. Uncle Gabriel was a loving person, to his family, community, church, country, and people. His love and care was the first impression that would draw you closer and closer and the more you get to know him, the more you would love him.
A great leader yet humble, very social, and with a great sense of humor. A critical thinker with vast knowledge on many aspects of life and he would sail and navigate with you through the various points of the on-hand topic, and whether he is agreeing or disagreeing with you, the first thing you would notice is that he respects your opinion no matter your age and with the art of an experienced debater, the discussion always becomes an enriched, full of humor, fact findings journey that always ends with an additional wealth of new knowledge and learning.
Uncle Gabriel, a career public servant who walked his way diligently through various posts of Sudan national public service and the then Southern Sudan regional governments, from diplomacy to a public servant to a career politician who have held many leading positions, serving the South Sudanese people in every capacity, a minister, a governor and an advisor to the president and just to mention few.
He was a man of God and every Sunday with his bible at his hand, we would follow him, heading to church and as most of the Khartoum church congregations may remember him, he and his colleagues of church leaders, pastors Mathew Mathiang Deng, Late John Kang, late John Jock, Thomas Maluit, Michael Chot Lol and just to mention few who pioneered a solid Christian worship congregation is then united Sudan, take the stage preaching the word of God. He was a family man married to a lovely wife, our beloved mom Monica Benjamin Bill Lual (Maan Nyaruot), the cornerstone of a loving extended family.
Dokwea as he was always called by his peers and community, was a loving dad and grandpa to his many kids, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, a community leader to Nuer at large, and the Chairman of Lou Nuer Supreme Council. Politically, he was a nationalist, with the interests of all South Sudanese at heart, in the then United Sudan, he was the chairman of Sudan Federal Democratic Party alongside late leader Joshua Dei Wal, few who championed federalism as a system of governance, a member of the then African political block, Union of Sudanese African Parties (USAP) led by late Alibaba Surur who were leading the struggle from within for independence, more freedoms, civil liberties and rights to South Sudanese and the marginalized African Sudanese at a large.
In a Nutshell, It will take me a book to write about uncle Gabriel Yoal Dok and as his body being flown to his hometown, Yuai, for burial in the heart of Lou Nuer Land, we proudly stand to remember a great leader who never slept seeing his people suffering. We salute you our hero of all times. Rest Easy Dokwea, your glorious legacy will be carried on by many generations to come!