This is a small aspect of my paper about the national identity process in Juba, South Sudan, presented on Monday at the 9th Sudan and South Sudan studies international conference in Bonn.
In the passport and identity card issuing offices in Juba town, the queues and waiting applicants crowd the courtyard. The gates are manned by suited men with a half-working metal detector and some ambiguous ledgers; the security staff are preoccupied with crowd control at the entrances and exits of the photograph and identification offices, holding back the otherwise orderly queues.
Official staff are therefore relatively thin on the ground in this compound, in comparison to the mass of aspiring citizens. However, this office is at the centre of a sprawling secondary bureaucracy that spreads out around the compound, and has created a form of vicarious officialdom – informal and unsalaried, but part sanctioned (or at least tolerated) and part-integrated into the state process at its centre.