A quick chronological look at South Sudan’s 2.5 years of independence, with a more detailed overview of the last two month’s events that pushed the country to the brink of a civil war
July 9, 2011: After decades of civil war with the North that left millions dead, South Sudan becomes a new country on the map, gaining independence from Sudan through a referendum. Juba is named the capital and Salva Kiir is the country’s first president. As much as 75% of the long-fought-over oil stays in the South, but the North maintains control over the infrastructure used for export.
August 18, 2011: Just a month after South Sudan proclaims independence, clashes between Murle and Lou Nuer groups in Jonglei state leave at least 600 dead and 985 wounded. The fighting involves cattle raids, with Murle stealing close to 40,000 cows as a revenge for Lou Nuer’s recent attack. According to State Governor Kuol Manyang, the inter-ethnic clashes in the area are the result of underdevelopment, competition over resources and general poverty.
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I’ve written a little bit on the subject of child soldiers in my Africa United movie review and in some other posts in the past, and today I was reminded about it once again by Ishmael Beah. I had to write something after seeing this video; it was just too touching and disturbing at once. A big shout out to Ishmael for sharing it on Facebook and keeping this major international issue fresh in people’s minds. If you ever wondered how the release of child soldiers is negotiated and whether or not these kinds of efforts are ever successful, you should watch this.
And here a some quick facts about child soldiers that will make you think.
Recommended for anyone who loves children, Africa and football (aka soccer), and just anyone who genuinely cares
I watched this film when it first came out and, again, before writing this review. And it wasn’t just to refresh my memory – seeing it for the second time was just as enjoyable.
I should probably post a quick disclaimer right away that my friend, Emmanuel Jal, stars in Africa United, so the first time I watched it was partially to support his work and partially out of curiosity – I wanted to see what he was talking about so excitedly after every trip to the filming locations. I promise you I am not entirely biased toward the movie because it’s good to support your friends… (although it is ;)). But let me get to the gist of it.
– Why do you keep going to all these… war-torn places? Why can’t you just stay here?
– Mom, the researchers of human DNA say that all of us still lived in Africa 60,000 years ago. In a geneticist’s calendar, that’s two minutes.
– What are you trying to say, that you miss “home?”
– Don’t you?
It’s been a while since I posted here and I wanted to get back to it. I miss Africa and I miss blogging about it. So here it goes – my brief guide to Kenya’s capital for those who are looking to spend a day in the city.
Thousands of tourists pass through Nairobi every year on their way to safaris in Kenya’s numerous national parks, eager to spot the “big five” game animals of the beautiful East African savannah. Not many realize, however, that the country’s capital has a lot of its own charm to offer to visitors who fit it into their busy itineraries.
Stopping by the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a great way to start your day in Nairobi. The David Sheldrick Animal Trust takes care of baby rhinos, elephants and other animals are rescued from the wild when their parents die from the hands of poachers, or as a result of drought or disease. Check the trust’s website for information on fostering one of the recently saved orphans.
I don’t normally believe in anything supernatural. But life has a way of shaking up your beliefs sometimes.
We were looking at a bonfire in the Samburuland, sitting on a log in the woods, eating the goat slaughtered for our arrival. In front of us, morani were dancing. I had no idea people could jump that high. Samburu girls were dressed colorfully, their beads elegant, their young men partially wrapped in shukas, hair long, spears in hands, a deep sound coming out of their throats and serving as a beat to the song, ululating in between the lines, endless energy in their voices and moves.
We had just gotten back from a mini safari ride to the Olentile lodge, and without stopping by the manyatta to drop my things, I went straight to the bonfire. Read the rest of this entry »
I hope that after a sad post, this one will be a breath of fresh air. “I’m hearing only bad news from radio Africa” comes to mind… Well, there were some negative things here and there, but I definitely have more positive memories about Kenya.
This was supposed to be a post about my somewhat unbelievable Samburu “adventure”. But then I got carried away describing how I ended up in Samburu and what I was doing there. I didn’t want to cut that short, because I think that’s interesting, too. So here’s the story about Samburu. I’ll write about my crazy adventure next.