Tag Archives: South Sudan
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.
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.
My last few days in Aweil felt quite sad – as I did some last chats with ladies in Apada, said formal goodbyes to people in ministries, and tried to take photos around the town for memories. Oh, and broke down on the bike a few times.
I am not an anthropologist. I’m not “trained”, I have no critical understanding of the theories or methodologies, and I have a functional legal background in interviewing, not a research one. I am also rubbish at “living in the community” – I’m a skinny-jeans-wearing, foreign-food-eating, boozing-and-dancing inappropriate nightmare.
It’s been pretty wet here. Continue reading
- Carrying water from the borehole, putting it in the bucket in the sun to warm up, and then showering at sunset outside in the grass open-air cubicle.
- Managing to work out how to use the choke on my motorbike to make it start in the rain.
- Waking up to tea and bread being brought to me by the toddler in the compound. Make ’em work.
- The moments where someone starts discussing something in an interview that I’ve been desperate for more details on, and my interpreter and I share a look of “jackpot”.
- Roasting coffee beans in a skillet in a green, green village, on Sunday afternoons.
- Being given a chunky-assed baby to hold for a bit.
- Heavy rain on my tin roof.
- People being genuinely happy and surprised when I say, I’ve heard that you were an activist for community language classes in Khartoum, ten years ago. And then them looking mildly terrified about how I’ve tracked them down.
- People giving me their “spy names” from secret work they did in Khartoum.
- Finding Nutella in a local shop. Bought three jars immediately.
- Film nights in my compound, and the joy of small boys seeing orcs and hobbits. (Ayak said she had nightmares about dinosaurs after we watched Jurassic Park, though.)