Video #13 COVID-19: What’s the history behind the manikay Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie?

In this program Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra and Richard Trudgen deal with more European history that’s helpful in understanding Coronavirus. They also look at the meaning behind the children’s song ‘Ring a Ring a Rosie’.

When Yolŋu elders pass away their relatives have a particular songline they sing to remind them of the event. Richard shares with Djiniyini one of the European songlines that comes from the 700-year-old plagues of Europe. It was taught to Yolŋu children in the Mission days and is often still taught today however the meaning of it is rarely explained.

The program then discusses the cultural habit of men wearing a flower in the top buttonhole of their coat. Richard explains it’s a custom that began in the days of the plague, as it was believed the smell of the flower would overcome other less desirable smells and hopefully stop them getting the “Black Death”.

The traditional worldview of Yolŋu means they want in-depth, science-based information in order to understand any new topic. This is what Yolŋu call the “dhuḏi-dhäwu” – the deep true story. This full series of videos attempts to answer some of their questions from a Yolŋu worldview, using their linguistic construction of knowledge.

Watch the full series by clicking the links below: