This poor phone photo is of a poster from the South Sudan Referendum party that was held in London to celebrate the secession vote – Zoe has a post about it, and photos, here. The ‘welcome’ poster shows three photos of a model of the ‘new capital’ of the Republic of South Sudan, some larger versions of which I’ve found.
While GoSS is clearly enjoying contracting urban planning companies to make pretty models and maps, including the classic elephant option (image at the bottom of this post), the idea of a new capital is a long-standing one. Juba has to expand, quickly, and is a mess. Land ownership disputes are endemic, the cost of living is crazily high and the overcrowding is terrible. There’s nowhere to put a new capital: the idea of having it equidistant from the three state capitals is very friendly and all, but is scuppered by the lack of water there (which is one reason why the land is a little empty there), and expanding Juba where it is, or building a new centre to the north, runs into the problem that local Mundari groups are claiming that Juba is on their land, and they have the right to stop construction or demand compensation accordingly.
It would be fun to talk to people in Juba and elsewhere about what they think should happen; there are huge debates on online forums about this, and if it’s being put on posters, albeit in a very nebulous way, the idea of an entirely new city hasn’t totally died at GoSS yet. I doubt Juba is going to get an organised extension or completely move in the near future, but the idea – and the shiny models – are an interesting part of arguing over the future face of South Sudan.