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!
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.
- No fear – attack like a lion
- Serving my customer is my pleasure
- Big man
- Rich also cry
- Get little keep going
- No appeal
- Time keeper
- Gentel man
- Injury time
- No pain no gain (also see: “no gain no pain”, and “no gain without pain”).
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. 
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.
Money makes theWorld dance.Dance for youA big dance aGreat waltzMoney breaks mountaindown and irrigated deserts.Money makes u able toSee well & show u the wayBut my friend toldMe that the personWho loves youBecause you haveMoney, that personWill bite you whenYou have no money.Money make greatFools wise.Money is love.When you have a lotsOf money there reToo many womanWho love you.When you’re poorThere’s hardlyAnyone to love u.Money can buyA human being!Oh money, moneyHundreds of notesThousands of dollars &Pound make u enjoy anEarthly paradise butRemember money kill!
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.
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.
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.