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Published onOct 12, 2020


Dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom means ‘sharing feelings’. Or maybe we could call it ‘the law of feelings’, or maybe there’s a better way to say it in English. What I’m talking about is that experience of connection that you can get through feelings. That’s what we are doing here. Sharing feelings from inside us and giving them to you. So you can feel and you can know.

Dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom means that you can feel something just by looking at us and hearing the dhäwu [stories] we are giving out. These feelings come from inside us and they can go inside you.

We are sharing what we’ve got, sharing with our experiences, our bodies, our ŋayaŋu. And when someone does that, other people can see and other people can take it in. Then they can see and feel the same thing that we’ve got.

When you feel inside then you cry, because it hits you right in your ŋayaŋu, and then it comes out and you cry… you feel sorrow, what we call warwuyun, or you feel happy, like you feel satisfied from the richness of that feeling.

Dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom means when that feeling goes in and comes out it shows in your reaction. Something happens inside and other people can see. Other people can feel it as well. Your body opens up; that’s the connection. That feeling, it sits on your ŋayaŋu, ḏoṯurrk [heart] and your djäl [your desire]. And it comes out from your body… then you cry and you show and people can feel for themselves how you feel.

You don’t need to speak or understand Yolŋu matha [language, tongue], because you can feel it, straight away. If balanda can take in those feelings, it would help them a lot.


Dhäkay means taste. That’s what we’re talking about. Because when you get this taste you want more and more. It’s delicious.

For example, if you watch Jennifer take a sip of wine, she always moves it around in her mouth, right to the back of her mouth. She does it every time. Tasting it. If you watch her face you know that she is tasting all that flavour. The she takes the next sip. Because it’s delicious. She wants more.


Some people are gumurr-ḏäl [hard-chested]. They keep their heart closed. But sometimes dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom works. For soft-hearted people, especially. When you feel it, your body will show you. Your outside body will show your reaction; it comes from your heart but your rumbal [body] will show whether you cry, whether you are connected with that feeling. Sometimes it just hits. Boom! Drawing you near where you belong, drawing you nearer to who you are. It is in the manikay, in the songs and the stories.

Dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom is just giving out and sharing… and then those feelings settle down. That dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom settles down on your heart, and it is there, all the time. Like it’s waiting and when the moment comes, it is there, filling you up… the same attitude and feeling is there. It’s powerful. And it is through that feeling that you and I can be connected, from inside me to inside you. Alive in us both, it draws us together, even though we are living different lives in different places, we can share feelings together.

Young people, they don’t really feel it. They can’t really, they are too young. But when you get to a certain age, then you can feel it, especially older people from twenty-five and up to thirty, that’s the age when their reactions change, their mulkurr [heads] change (because young people have different things on their mind and heart).

Anger is another djäma. Jealousy is different again, a different reaction. With what we are talking about here with dhäkay-ŋänhawuy rom, the feelings are only sorrow or worry or that feeling of happiness that you can get. As you get older you get more knowledge, more memories… and more feelings, from going to ceremonies, spending time at bäpurru [funerals]. The wäŋa has the same rom. The wäŋa will feel you and it will talk to you. The dharpa [trees], the wäŋa, the sea. It’s a yindi [big, important] word. I am talking at this level, but it goes it down, down, deep to your djäl and ŋayaŋu.

It’s there all the time; it doesn’t matter that balanda came, it doesn’t change the feelings.

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