Jungaji is a song man, one of the few remaining fluent Gu gu Yalanji speakers among Australia’s First Nations.
He is responsible for continuing the ancient law by documenting the stories of his people through art, theater, music, and storytelling. Jungaji has learned these traditions over the past 20 years from his elder, Qawanji Brady, and from Babi Wawu, a 106-year-old bush man, with whom Jungaji had a life-changing spiritual initiation in 1991. Jungaji is passionate about preserving these traditions for future generations and is in the process of making new recordings, songs, and film clips available digitally.
In addition to his cultural work, Jungaji is also an advocate for those living with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that he has battled for 23 years. He has survived two strokes, two heart attacks, and multiple open heart surgeries. Tragically, Jungaji lost his 21-year-old son in September 2021, which has only increased the importance of traditional teachings in helping him navigate grief and find deeper understanding and purpose.
Jungaji has made the choice to abstain from alcohol, smoking, drugs, and gambling since 2017, thanks in part to the guidance of his traditional teachers and mentors. He uses his art, music, theater, cultural workshops, and social activism to inspire others to live a full and purposeful life.
In addition to his cultural and personal pursuits, Jungaji is also the Chair of the Dhadjowa Foundation, a national grassroots organization that provides support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families whose loved ones have died in custody. The Dhadjowa Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that is independent from government funding and relies on donations, fundraising, and philanthropy. It offers peer support, financial assistance, and campaign capacity building, all of which are family-led and based on self-determination.
For a brief history of Jungaji’s three decade musical evolution, have a read here.