Category Archives: South Sudan

Durham University visiting scholars applications open

The Sudanese Studies Programme at Durham University, led by the Departments of Law and History, calls for applications, particularly from Sudan and South Sudan nationals, for three one-term visiting scholarships based at Grey College, Durham, for September-December 2014. For the application information, please see here:

Durham – Visiting Scholars – Sudans – 2014-15

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Reference material for South Sudan crisis

As a partial response to the events of the last month, I don’t want to offer my own comments, but point to people and sources that are good summaries of current understanding and analysis.

Lesley Warner has an ongoing summary of news on South Sudan on her blog; the last post is here.  Erin has just returned to Juba, and her blog is worth keeping an eye on here.  Magdi has written a recent analysis here, and Aly Verjee’s work on his blog is also excellent.

The best South Sudanese-led summary and analysis of the situation comes from the RVI discussion, reported and podcast here.  It is worth listening to this in full, because of the many excellent South Sudanese critics and reformers asking questions in the open session.

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Not an expert

My radio silence could be partly explained by a forthright intercession by a member of the South Sudan Embassy at a SOAS discussion yesterday.

“Self appointed experts on South Sudan [are a big problem at the moment]… [we need discussion to be] made more academic. … [Their comments are how] we are judged”

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Last week in Juba: photo diary

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The end of the tent: South Sudan National Archives update

20131108_161229_filterQuick update on the South Sudan National Archives, from the African Studies Association conference in Baltimore.

A few months ago, the Ministry of Culture staff, with Dan and me from the RVI, moved the final load of loose paper from the USAID tent where they’d been housed since 2006, their first post-war home.  These were the last of the damaged pages from burst files, which are now waiting for someone who enjoys serious puzzles.

Three weeks ago, when passing, I saw that we were right to get out of the tent.  Temporary in the Juba climate really does mean temporary.

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Juba style: nail art update

I’ve had a bit too much of politics at close hand this week, so here’s an update on my ongoing beautification in Juba.  Now I’m back in the capital, there’s no excuse not to go to my favourite nail artist, Joseph, in Souk Libya (next to the pharmacy in the centre).  Joseph has upgraded his stool-and-basket to a full on nail bar!

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Favourite bus slogans in Juba: 2013 edition

football

For a while, I’ve kept a running note on my phone of my favourite bus slogans, which are cut-out decals on the back of “taxis”, the private mini-van bus services in Juba.  These are my favourites so far this year – more to come.  Obviously the all-time favourite is the bus labelled “Where does Abyei belong?”, which has been in service since at least 2011.

  1. No fear – attack like a lion
  2. Serving my customer is my pleasure
  3. Big man
  4. Rich also cry
  5. Get little keep going
  6. No appeal
  7. Time keeper
  8. Gentel man
  9. Injury time
  10. No pain no gain (also see: “no gain no pain”, and “no gain without pain”).

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Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba: South Sudan: The state we aspire to (2013)

The SPLM leadership is paralysed by internal schisms that compound the absence of a shared vision.  The leaders operate individually and without coordination, leading to contradictory public stances. [177]

Reading Dr Nyaba’s latest work – after his The Poltiics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View (1997) – is like being slapped quite softly with a long, angry editorial from a man who (as per his reputation) has always been an internal critic.  It is refreshing, surprising – even the Sudd Institute’s briefing papers don’t have this element of anger and disappointment – and timely, despite Dr Nyaba pointing out at the book launch that the text has dated – it was supposed to be released in 2011, but the print run was accidentally sent to Khartoum and impounded.

I am going to do a quick sketch of Dr Nyaba’s main points regarding the SPLM/A in the interim CPA period, which is the meat of the short book, and his criticisms of the future of Southern government and leadership.

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Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba’s new book: notes from the launch

At the launch of Dr Nyaba’s new book, ‘South Sudan: the state we aspire to’, today at the New Sudan Palace hotel in Juba, the panel quite strangely didn’t opt to take questions from the relatively large audience. Instead, we were presented with three speakers: Dr Cirino Ofufo Hiteng, the previous Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports; Professor George Bureng Nyombe, eminent scholar of Bari history; and the Hon. Canon Clement Janda, SPLM member, ECS priest and previous SPLM Envoy for Darfur.

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I’ll admit that panels speaking about a book that the audience hasn’t read, in Juba, tend to be paeans rather than solid recommendations, notes or criticisms on the author’s arguments, and I wasn’t expecting to be overawed – although I was keen to get my hands on a copy. I was enjoyably wrong.

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Geography, and re-learning Juba

I’ve just moved back to Juba, after a few weeks’ break in the UK, and I’m realising I know very little about this town other than that I can get a $4 sticky toffee pudding for breakfast.

That’s maybe an exaggeration. But in the process of starting up interviews again with returned Khartoum residents around Juba, I’m finding whole new neighbourhoods (and local names) I’ve never heard of before. So now I’m working on building a map of Juba that’s becoming similar to my now-ragged map of Khartoum – complete with arrows, notes and scribbled lines.

my huge Khartoum map being pored over in Apada, Aweil

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