Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

HAS EDUCATION CHANGED DINKA BOR AS A COMMUNITY?

Posted: September 11, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Education

By Tearz Ayuen, Nairobi

It’s often said the Dinka of Jonglei have huge numbers of educated people. That some of the most highly educated South Sudanese are found in Bor, Twic East and Duk counties. Nice. However, if it is true, where is the education? Do you see it? Do you smell it? Is it being kept in some corner of the brain, perhaps for later use or is it on the paper, barren, hanging on the wall?

Education changes individuals’ lives but in wider perspectives, it’s meant to transform lives of communities. People go to school to improve their lives and lives of those around them. Think about Louis Pasteur, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell and so on.

Has Dinka Bor proved to the other communities the importance of education? Is there anything to show for it? Is there anything that their educated selves have done to encourage the neighboring education-starved communities such as Murle and Jie to beat their children to school?

It’s true that education has changed most of individuals from Dinka Bor. They work in banks, in law firms. They work in big hospitals and clinics, both private and public. Some are working for the United Nations and its agencies. Others are actually the government, working in various institutions.

Nobody is being forced or expected to invent anything, though. It’s just a concern. With all those Doctorates, Degrees and Masters, one or two scholars should have been able to put an end to at least one of the perennial problems. Schools teach us how to solve problems, first as an individual and then as a community or society.

There is an educational policy called sustainability education. It spells out the purpose of education – why people go to school. Anyone who once or twice wore graduation attires should be able to possess it. According to education researchers Daniella Tilbury and David Wortman, it demands:

Envisioning – being able to imagine a better future. The premise is that if we know where we want to go, we will be better able to work out how to get there.

Critical thinking and reflection – learning to question our current belief systems and to recognize the assumptions underlying our knowledge, perspective and opinions. Critical thinking skills help people learn to examine economic, environmental, social and cultural structures in the context of sustainable development.

Systemic thinking – acknowledging complexities and looking for links and synergies when trying to find solutions to problems.

Building partnerships – promoting dialogue and negotiation, learning to work together.

Participation in decision-making – empowering people.

In Jonglei, Bor present generation faces problems that they inherited from their parents. Their parents also inherited them from their parents.

Flood is one of the major natural problems affecting the people. Flooding comes with lots of life-threatening issues. It destroys crops. It makes farming so difficult. It comes with various water-borne diseases which attack both humans and livestock. Thousands of cattle, the sole source of life among the Dinka Bor, are left dead by the likes of Leptospirosis, annually or biannually.

Another issue is drought. Drought still affects farming in Bor area. That’s stupid and ironical. It is ironical because they have the Nile waters and acquired education.

Cattle theft and raids by the alleged neighboring Murle and Lou Nuer tribesmen should have also been put to an end long time ago. There is something called mircochip implant; a device used for identifying domestic animals. It’s practiced in Botswana. With modern technologies, no Dinka Bor should be killed for his cow anymore.

Unfortunately, you find the educated in bars, celebrating – drinking the week away and chattering like apes over beer. You can spot them driving big cars on the streets of Juba. You can also see them in clean suits and ties at Shirkat or Gumbo, watching traditional dances. They are always out there, bespectacled. To them, eyeglasses are a symbol of educated-ness.

Unless proven otherwise, the understanding of education amongst these folks is: Go to school > >earn an education>> buy a pair of reading glasses>>find a job>> get paid>>buy or build a house>>buy a car>>drink beer>> walk around with chest sticking out>> and then die.

Tearz © 2014


Apply To Be A Banaa Scholar

Applications for the 2014-2015 cycle are now OPEN! The link to the updated application can be found below. The deadline for this year’s application is NOVEMBER 5, 2014 AT 12:00 AM EST. 

To apply, you must complete the first four pages of the “Common Application” (found at http://www.commonapp.org) as well as  the Banaa Supplemental Application. We are currently accepting applications from now up to November 5, 2014.

Eligibility          Admissions Process          Waivers          Submitting Applications

Banaa works hard to generate an ethnically, politically, and economically diverse pool of young women and men who are exceptionally qualified for studies at US colleges and universities.

Download the Banaa Scholarship Application

Eligibility

Potential applicants for the scholarship must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Come from a conflict-affected region of Sudan or South Sudan and be under the age of 26
  • Possess a genuine interest in building a peaceful Sudan and South Sudan
  • Demonstrate a history of participation in peace-promoting activities
  • Have documentation of secondary school graduation or proof of an equivalency degree
  • Display competency in English and the ability to score well on a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (actual test score not required)
  • Write English-language responses to a series of essay questions
  • Provide letters of recommendation, including contact details, from individuals who can comment on applicant’s suitability for the program (former teachers and/or employers are preferred)
  • Be able to come to the U.S. by August 1, 2015 for program orientation

Does Banaa accept candidates who live in or grew up in the United States or Europe?

While we greatly appreciate the commitment of Sudanese Diaspora to improving life in the Sudans, our limited resources enable us only to support students coming directly from the Sudans (or refugee situations in neighboring countries) at this time. This policy is in place to ensure Banaa Scholars (1) have recent and intimate experience with policy challenges facing the Sudans and (2) return promptly to Sudan to begin work.

What if I am over 26 years old, and/or have a University degree? Can I still apply?

While applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, applicants should ideally be under 26 years old and possess no prior university degrees. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis, but these guidelines are to ensure that Banaa Scholars are in early stages of shaping their careers and close to the average undergraduate age at the universities they attend.

The Banaa Team and the University Admissions Process

All applications for the Banaa scholarship program are first submitted to the Banaa Team, which is comprised of a number of individuals from the Banaa Board of Advisors. Applicants are then evaluated holistically using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated Commitment to Peace in Sudan and/or South Sudan
  • Academic Achievement
  • Relevant Employment
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Essay Quality
  • Interview
  • Leadership Experience

It is important to note that the Banaa Selection Committee does not employ a formula based admissions process. Applications are not assigned point values, but instead read cover to cover and given a comprehensive review. Moreover, neither race nor ethnicity is used to determine admission. During the comprehensive review, however, it is noted when applicants from economic or socially disadvantaged positions have exhibited character and determination in overcoming both personal and structural obstacles.

Applications are reviewed by the Banaa Team to ensure they are complete. Applicants with potential are submitted to the Banaa Board of Advisors for review. Banaa submits the most promising applicants with a cover letter highlighting the Board of Advisors’ comments to the George Washington University and University of Rochester’s undergraduate admissions offices. Both offices complete an independent review and rank admissible candidates. A Skype interview will be conducted with the top applicants. An admissions decision will be made and the applicant(s) who is admitted will be notified by late February.  Candidates must accept their scholarship by April 1 If they fail to accept their scholarship by this date an alternative candidate will be notified and accepted into the program. It is expected the accepted scholar is diligent about making travel arrangements (the cost of the flight to the US is included in the scholarship) and be available to come to the United States as early as August 1, 2015 for orientation.

Waivers

Given the extenuating circumstances under which many applicants live or grew up, SAT and TOFEL scores are often unavailable. Students who do present these scores may be more competitive in the admissions process, but ability to provide such documentation is not required. Banaa encourages candidates to provide a cover letter explaining why you are unable to access TOEFL or SAT scores.

Applications

To apply, you must complete the “Common Application”along with the Banaa Supplemental Application. Instructions for required application materials are on the first page of the Banaa Supplemental application. Complete applications and application materials  can be emailed to applications@banaa.org,  or printed out and mailed to:

 Banaa.org c/o Kevin Hostetler

The George Washington University

2121 I Street, NW Suite 201

Washington, DC 20052

Applications are currently OPEN. Please direct any specific questions to applications@banaa.org.

Click HERE to go the site: banaa.org


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

africa colonies map

There has never been a better time than now to return to our African linguistic roots. The 1884’s Scramble for Africa (also called Partition of Africa) brought us unforeseen divisions and rivalries whereby we are explicitly known as Francophone, Lusophone, Anglophone, and Italophone, respectively. At any given moment, whether it is a conflicting issue that needs resolution, African states leaning toward the axis of Anglophone orientation gang up against the Francophone, or it could be Afrolusophone versus Afroitalophone, muddling it up over matters of economic interests.

It is not a question of whether we are enriching the European languages with our ingenuity, rather it is a call to put our authenticity in perspective that we will never discover our true genius by continuing to use other people’s languages. We could still enrich foreign languages by way of translation; a true literary work of genius could get noticed at any instance the word is out. Literary works, such as Camara Laye’s The Dark Child, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s horseman, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Weep Not, Child, are exceptionally rare works of intelligence.

Indeed, those are true gems of literature, but could they have done more, or how come they stopped from there? To put it another way: Was their ingenuity complete, or was it in fragments? What if there are still some undiscovered geniuses lingering in the hades of the unfamiliarity with these foreign languages?

When Europe was mired in a debacle of the dark ages, they didn’t have the enlightening period called the Renaissance, until they discarded Latin. For an African Renaissance to take off, going back to our native languages is the first step towards launching a dawn of a new era. Our native languages are rich with a burgeoning tradition of progress; for no matter how tempest the foreign languages they maybe, we do not have a deep understanding of their sly ways. We have an exuberant attachment to our native languages, almost spiritual.

That connection makes it easy for us to wade through impossibilities, and, in the midst of this scuffle, our languages and us, have fused into one thing, becoming inseparable over time. It is not just our genius that we are trying to unearth from our native languages, myths, fables, and even, knowledge of ecosystems and species of both plants and animals, and their interactions with our domiciling environments, could all be lost if we do not come up with a swift answer to this nagging hurdle. Every once in a while, a scientist would appear and state, I have discovered this species of plant, and I have discovered that species. What these scientists always avoid to take into account before rushing to publications of their discoveries, is failing to ask the indigenous communities if they knew anything about the species in question.

It turns out that most of the time, the names of the species of plants and animals, they are belatedly discovering were already commonplace in the local languages of the said communities. Not only that, many of today indigenous communities have the ability to derive certain medicines and medicinal herbs from the varied wild species of plants and animals, they have been interacting with for centuries in their ecosystem milieu.

In the foreseeable future, it is predicted that global cultures and languages that encompass national borders are going to take center stage. As times goes on, more and more languages, are going to bow to pressures of the most influential languages. Many more languages are going to disappear altogether from the face of the earth. Language as a medium to carry one culture from one pocket of the globe to another cultural hub, is going to be more prominent than ever. And since we have no idea of where the next hegemonic, all conquering languages, are going to hail from, shouldn’t we put our house in order right now, before the sun calls it a day?

This is where our return to our native languages comes shouting hard on our necks. Our native languages were taken only for a ride by the imperial capitalist West. They were only taken for a nightmarish ride up to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but they were eventually returned to us, changed, and needing a new system of mothering. The reservoirs of our native languages are still wet, they haven’t entirely been laid to waste by the poisonous fangs of the European languages. All they yearn for is the constant nourishment by the beloved sons and daughters of the continent.

Our world is increasingly becoming smaller, and all we have to do is to return to something so familiar, something we have all known along, but have neglected for far too long, our mother tongues; be it a Dinka of South Sudan, Shona of Zimbabwe, or Yoruba of Nigeria; We call for something that has our authenticity written all over it; something that will carry our unique experience to the world stage. It is time to wake up our hibernating and graying native languages from the chambers of our granaries, where the termites have been eating their way into their hearts for quite some time now.

Once the world finally succumbs to the common phrase called the “global village,” it would not be our interest to gloat over how much we have achieved as a race, rather, our humble preoccupation would be to contribute our unique experience to the global plate; where it would be intended to improve the futuristic aspirations of mankind. Our world is always ever-changing, and we are always in need of ingenuity to rescue us from moments of frustration, even experiences of life and death. It is time to invest more of our effort and resources into our native languages, entities that hold sacred followings, in a sense, analogous to the spiritual attachment of the land of Africa itself.

In case, we fail to pay heed to this urgent call, we won’t have much to contribute to the betterment of mankind since we will only be playing on unfamiliar grounds of the European languages, which are bound to produce second-rated ingenuity, if there is a boon at all.


Durham – Visiting Scholars – Sudans – 2014-15

Classroom Discipline and Management in South Sudan

Posted: February 27, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Education

By Morris Mabior Awikjokdit

“A school can be regarded as a social institution, and important one for that matter. As an institution, it has to have certain basic regulations  governing, controlling   and directing the behavior of its members the majority  of whom are pupils”.

In such a setting discipline is important, since without it the purpose of the school cannot be achieved effectively. Discipline implies control, without which there would be anarchy and chaos and learning would not take place effectively. The problem of discipline is not new in our system of Education in South Sudan and Africa in general. Pupil’s defy   the teacher’s authority, thus creating a state of tension and hostility.

To begin with as an experience trained professional teacher, it is appropriate that we identify the causes that necessitate discipline. There are several causes and therefore I will attempt to discuss a few to the knowledge of my experience. Misbehavior in school and the classroom may originate in the child himself, the  school, the society,  the child’s parents or the teachers.

The child

A number of child-related factors may be responsible for pupil’s misbehavior in class. First, he may well have been raised to behave in ways which are not congruent with the behavior expected of him at school .It is also common for a child to misbehave in order to conform to peer expectations and avoid rejection.

Frustration’s at home or at school may result to misbehavior, as may the approval and recognition a pupil receives from his peers for challenging the teacher’s authority. .Misbehavior such as cheating in tests may be motivated by the desire to avoid making mistakes and being punished.

The home

A child who does not receive love and good care from his parents is likely to have no respect for them and may well extend this perception of adults to all the other figures of authority in his life, including his teachers and school itself. Often parents are unable to control their children, who transfer their way of relating at home to the school situation.

It also happens that a problem being experience by his parents, child becomes too preoccupied with problems at home, for example the marital problems being experience by his parents, can make him unable to concentrate at school and as a result transgresses school regulations. A child’s behavior may also be affected by his parents’ economic status. For example, he may sometimes miss school in order to do some form of domestic work to help supplement their income.

Parents themselves may foster misbehaviors by their children. Often they interfere in what the teacher is doing and refuse to allow their children to be punished, irrespective of what they have done. Some parents criticize the teachers in front of their children telling him/ her, what he or she may and may not do. Obviously parents must have a say in the way their children are taught and treated, but it would be in their best interest  to trust that  teachers knows what they are doing, and to refrain from interfering  in their work unless they do something really outrageous.

Society

Society too must bear its share of the responsibility for the misbehavior of children at school. What happens at school is merely a reflection of what is going on in society. Through the media, children are exposed to violence and see their peers and adults defying authority. They model such behavior and apply it to their relationships with other children at school and with the school itself.

The School

For various reasons school may also be a source of lack of discipline and misbehavior among   children. Some of the school rules and regulation may not only be rigid and strict, but also punitive and unnecessary, in my opinion.

If the classes are large and crowded, it is difficult for the teachers to maintain control. Undesirable behavior on the part of children in such classes may well be the result of them   being uncomfortable and therefore unable to concentrate. Misbehavior in this context may actually be a way of releasing tension.

Inadequate supervision of the pupils during break period may give the older, stronger pupils the opportunity  to  bully   others.  Another factor affecting discipline in school is the authority vested in the teacher. In some schools, certain disciplinary measures may be administrated by the head teacher only. Teacher is the only person with limitations on his time, and it will be too much to expect him to cope  with all the disciplinary problems in school.

The Teacher;

Teachers seldom acknowledge their culpability for disciplinary problems. The blame is usually laid on pupils and their parents who did not bring them up properly! However, teachers can cause children to misbehave as a result of the way in which they interact with them at school particularly in the classroom.

Some teachers have very little regard for pupil’s feelings and ridicule, belittle and humiliate them, which does not contribute to the establishment of a positive relationship between the teacher and his pupils. A teacher cannot expect his pupils to like and respect him in my opinion, since he  knows  no other method of disciplining children expect through corporal punishment.

Furthermore some teachers come to class unprepared, late or improperly dressed, which is unlikely to engender respect for them among their pupils.

Some teachers use the classroom as a platform for destructive criticism of the pupils’ parents and culture believing  themselves to have some sort of immunity with regard to arousing the children’s resentment.

Teachers can also contribute to disciplinary problems in the classroom by giving their pupils assignments that are too difficult for them, being unable to answer their questions satisfactorily, or setting unreasonable and flexible deadlines for assignments and having groups of favored and disliked pupils.

How to maintain discipline in the classroom

In an attempt to  identify some of the origins of classroom discipline problems, I will now focus on how in my opinion  the issue of discipline can be maintained in a classroom in the process of teacher-pupil interactions.

The teacher must make it clear what the objective of his lesson is, so that pupils can approach it in a purposeful way, with the aim of achieving certain goals. The work pupils are given should neither be too easy nor too difficult for them. If the work is too easy, the pupils will probably consider it a waste of time and an insult to their intelligence, but if it is too difficult, they are likely to experience failure and frustration and ultimately, to give up. In either case, inappropriate behavior is likely to occur. Moreover, the teacher’s preparation for his lesson can result in improvements in classroom management.

A teacher who is well prepared exudes a sense of self-confidence, and his pupils will perceive him or her as being well organized. It is imperative that new teachers or teachers who are working with new class, over prepared rather than underprepared. The pupils will realize that there is a great deal to do and   therefore they have no time to waste. They will also feel that their time is considered valuable and that the teacher is in control.

Whatever is being taught, the lesson should be presented in such a manner that pupil’s interest will be aroused and sustained for the duration of the period. It is also essential that, with assignment, pupils should be given clear instructions as to how they should proceed. Their progress must be monitored and individual questions should be attended to as they work on the assignment. The teacher should not consider this to be  spare time for sitting in the staff room or knitting or reading a newspaper.

A person’s name signifies his identify and most pupils find it satisfying to know that a person as important as a teacher knows them by name. Therefore a teacher should learn his pupil’s names as quickly as he can. This is likely to make them feel positively about him and that they are welcome in his class. Having learned their names, the teacher should make a point of using them as often as possible to ensure that he does not forget them, for example when greeting them, talking to them or asking them to do something.

The teacher and pupils should collaborate in drawing up a set of rules regarding what is expected of the pupils in class. These rules should be kept to a minimum and should be workable, reasonable and clear. The teacher should discuss any  violation of the rules calmly with the pupils concerned in order to find out what caused it. He should be prepared to listen  to the pupils and show an interest in their learning and success. He should intervene to help pupils as soon as he can, and praise them where such reinforcement is warranted. If criticism is necessary, it should be aimed at the offence rather than the pupil as a person.

A teacher should be known for or strive for the following qualities: friendliness and firmness, competence and a positive self-concept. In dealing with pupils he should be both reasonable and fairly consistent and should give them the impression that he knows what he is doing. This is especially important when a teacher starts working with a new class.

Finally, at all times the teacher must show that he is in charge, competent, confident and prepared for the lesson, and act in a professional and business like yet, pleasant and supportive manner. In my opinion, teachers who are competent, organized, and well-prepared will have fever management and discipline problems. It is also  my opinion that, teachers who are able to minimize the management and discipline problems tend to be successful in their teaching.

Dealing with misbehavior;

Despite taking the preceding  precautions , a teacher could still find himself dealing with a situation where preventive measures have failed   and he must take some sort of action concerning  undesirable  behavior on the  part of the pupil. There are several ways of dealing with such situations in my opinion, and I attempt to discuss a few It is my believe  that  reprimanding  a pupil privately is more effective than doing so publicly. Better still the teacher could discuss the misbehavior with the pupil at an appropriate time. The pupil is likely to take heed of this courteous warning.

If a pupil does not do or complete an assignment and the teacher’s attempts to change this behavior are unsuccessful, he should bring the problem to the attention of the head teacher or   the parents of the pupil or better still the school counselor.

I wish to suggest a number of ways in dealing with classroom problems;

If for instance a  pupil misbehave  during lesson, the teacher may take one  of the following strategies.

(a) Give the pupils a long hard look to show that you are not happy with what he/she is doing and the sooner he/she stops doing it the better.

(b) Simply draw the pupil’s attention to the undesirable behavior.

(c) Command the pupil to pay attention to what is going on.

(d) Draw the attention of the misbehaving pupil to that of a pupil who is    behaving   appropriately.

(e) Ignore the behavior and praise the positive behavior.

I also believe that the teacher can maintain discipline by moving in the direction of a misbehaving pupil without stopping what he is doing. Undesirable behavior would also be brought  under  control  simply by asking the pupil concerned a relevant question.

Troublesome students may be made  to sit  in the front row where the teacher can keep an eye on them. Where the teacher detects tension and a state of restlessness among the class, he should find out whether the pupil need help with their work and give it where possible. Otherwise he may crack a joke to release the tension.  Various   minor  misbehavior such as an occasional whisper or the passing of a note should be ignored, since they are not worth worrying about.

Punishment

Punishment as you may know means being  subjected  to a painful stimulus or having a pleasant one removed due to engaging in undesirable behavior.. Punishment in school may take the form of suspension, corporal punishment, manual work, expulsion, isolation, detention after school and being deprived of certain privileges. The types of misbehavior for which punishment may be justifiably be administered  in my opinion are disrespect for teachers or authority, fighting, vandalism, missing classes, failing to do assignments, making a noise in the class and not paying attention in class.

Punishment is used world-wide as a means of controlling undesirable behavior though in some parts of the world it is used extensively and freely, partly because there are no legal measures in existence to restrain its use, particularly in the form of corporal punishment.. Indeed the way in which some teachers interact with their pupils makes the classroom a war zone. The use of punishment is a controversial issue, with some psychologists   arguing in its favor and others arguing for its banning.

The focus of the controversy is the use of corporal punishment and server forms of punishment. My believe is  that,  the  best policy regarding corporal punishment is to avoid it all together.

It is widely argued that the use of corporal punishment is not an effective means of controlling  undesirable  behavior,  and    its   effect do  not justify its use. From experience   punishing  a child physically can cause the child to develop hatred for  school, the teachers and learning in general. In some cases it may lead to absenteeism or dropping out of school altogether. Although I don’t personally endorse the use of corporal punishment but it well be naive to believe that it has no place in the maintenance of discipline.

In my opinion if  punishment in whatever form is felt to be necessary and justifiable one needs to put the following factors into consideration when administering it.

i.  Ensure punishment be used rarely, sparingly and as a last resort.

ii.  Before a pupil is being punished he should be told why he is being punished.

iii.  Punishment should be administered as soon as an offence is committed so that a link is made between the offence and the punishment.

iv.  A teacher   should not administer corporal punishment when he is very angry or upset, since he is likely to be too server and inclined to appease his own anger.

v.  If the punishing a child is likely or make him a hero before his classmates or lead to defiance then the punishment should be postponed and administered where it is not likely to have such an effect.

vi.  Once the offender has been punished, he should not be given the impression that he no longer merits the teachers love and care.

Therefore, I am with the opinion that the teacher should look for desirable behavior for which the pupils learning can be reinforced.

Conclusion

The school is a social institution entrusted with the responsibility of containing and supplementing the process of socialization which begins  at home. As an institution, the school has to have rules and regulations which facilitate socialization and effective learning.

As there are discipline problems in society, so there are discipline problems at school, which is part of society. These discipline problems have their origins in society itself, the home, school  and  the  teachers .The role of teachers in controlling problems originating outside the school is rather limited. On the other hand, they are capable of influencing pupils’ behavior as they interact with them on the school premises and  in the classroom ,therefore in my opinion teachers can facilitate discipline and classroom management by seeing that their pupils are well treated, ensuring that they are prepared for their lessons and present them in an interesting and professional manner.

Although the use of  punishment has  its role in maintaining discipline in class, the emphasis should  be on reinforcing positive behavior and ignoring minor misbehavior. Where punishment is necessary, it should .be used with care so that pupils are not injured or made to hate school so much that they decide to quit school altogether. It should also be borne  in mind that children can learn and behave in accordance with the school regulations and in society at large without being subjected  to severe forms of punishments.

The author of this Article is a freelance opinion writer and a professional experience teacher based in Warrap State- Kuajok. He can be reached by email: morrisawikjok@yahoo.com 

 


South Sudanese Elites and Illiterate in their Twin Objectives, A nation Bleeds by Herself

By Garang Atem

Two decades of war eroded social progress, institutions and torn tribal cohesion in the country. The independence of July 2011 provided an opportunity for the people of South Sudan to ripe what is commonly known as ‘dividends of peace’ – social services, security, development and peace.

The event of December 2013 has halted the flow of social services and redirected the resources and manpower of the conflicting parties to war – an expensive affair that is causing immense damage to weak social infrastructure, systems and development programs that were initiated during and after the interim period of Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Already the death toll is high and outflow of refuges to neighboring countries and displaced camps is at its highest since peace was signed in 2015. The war is on and the destruction is unfortunately done and continues to be done. Since independence in July 2011, the country has witnessed various forms of rebellion that resulted in loss of lives, and property. However what is critical is the scale of destruction, the nature of destruction and the forms.

On many occasions, government forgave the insurgents; reward them with government positions and integrate them into the national army and in some cases; resources were mobilized towards peace conferences and seminars. All these efforts were noble but have not brought stability as an end envisaged product nor reduced the impact of criminal activities on the citizens.

The key problem facing South Sudan is an education access gap. When missionaries came in 19th century, much of what is currently making up South Sudan was inhabited by pastoralists’ communities whose lives entirely depended on hunting, animal husbandry, traditional farming and wild fruits gathering.

All these forms of economic activities required to some extend a degree of hostility – a true survival for the fitness. As result of this life setup, children and cattle raiding became the central form of commercial activities. During the war, between 1983 – 2005, the traditional form of commercial competitiveness took a new twist as weapons enhance enterprisation of criminal activities.

This led to high scale of economic and social destruction which further widen the social cohesion gap between communities. The animosities of war and enterprisation of criminal activities were imported to the new political and socioeconomic dispensation in South Sudan after independence.

For over two decades of war, there has never been a formal education system for South Sudanese, during and after interim period, the government priorities has been centered around security, governance and institutions’ creation leaving education at the periphery.

In reality, South Sudanese citizens are largely the same pastoralists of the yesteryears. However, two things have changed; enterprisation of criminal activities has increase as result of weaponry, and pursuit of ‘twin objectives’; power by educated elites and petty robbing by the illiterate citizens.

The twin objective hypothesis has in part united communities to jointly pursue criminal and inhumane commercial enterprises. While the elites fight for power and money, the illiterate and vulnerable are available for mobilization with an aim to revenge the old misdeeds and loot.

The pursuit of twin objectives by different interest groups within a community and wide spread of weapons are the main cause for inhumane and heavily destruction happening in South Sudan. Nothing explains this than ‘peace and reward dichotomy’ that has being going on between the rebels and the government; the senseless killings of civilians and looting is act of illiterate to achieve their objective.

My hypothesis is that actually, the twin objectives are complementary but at times conflicting. The killings and destruction is mostly used by illiterate and small raiders to scare off their prey may at most harm the achievement of objective by the high end raiders.

Nothing illustrates these better than ongoing conflicts between the government and the rebels in South Sudan. While the illiterate rejoice at destruction and killing of opponents, the leaders are more reserve as at time, they might held accountable or might reduce chances of ascending to power or vice versa.

South Sudan is unique, it problems are because of it. Though there is a growing population of educated citizens, they are product of the past, their association with the past – experiences and folk tales continue to drag and educate their minds the South Sudan way.

This is illustrated by how all act. During the December 2013 event and afterward, civilians were being targeted and resources destroyed. On the internet, the educated youth burn green leaves and beat drums to announce war.

The nation was divided right along their experiences and folk tales. Worst enough, when missionaries came, the pastoralists used to send their uncooperative, indiscipline and lazy kids to school. South Sudan being a pastoralist’s nation, largely its current leaders could be ‘community rejects’ with no leadership abilities to work for the good of the nation.

The viability of South Sudan must be built on true solid foundation. South Sudan must create a new nation by educating a new crops of people, people educated in class and not through bias folk tales. This will have many benefits, one it will create a true middle class that is self-reliance, sober and less pollutant.

Kenya though very tribal, its educated middle class is its tower of peace that holds it together during 2007 election violence. Second, though highly resources endowed, South Sudan will not develop and grow without human capital. Singapore, India and other Asian countries demonstrated that human capital is first amongst natural resources endowments.

Thirdly, growing an educated population will create informed citizens, democracy and public policies are key ingredients for country’s progress but both are function of education. Today, debates and issues of public interest get distorted – no one can truly and faithfully reads or interprets issues for others and keep his interest at bay.

Till such times, merit is recognized and reward, those who speaks issues will be kept away which is not good for the nation. The country must disconnect its new generation from old pollution. Technology is moving to India because of its hi-tech youth, Kenya has been holds together by its educated middle class, Singapore that was at par with East Africa economies in 1970s is already playing in the first class economic league.

The future of South Sudan must be based on its realities; the future must be separated from the past. Those of us whose cows were stolen, relatives killed and homes destroyed in 1990s though educated had bias reading. South Sudan must know it true self, keep the past away and create South Sudan for future.

Gabriel Garang Atem is an Independent Economic Commentator. He lives in Juba and can be reached garangatemayiik@gmail.com


The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Letters and Radio Messages of the Late SPLM/A's Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabioor (Volume 2) Paperback – November 27, 2013

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Letters and Radio Messages of the Late SPLM/A’s Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabioor (Volume 2) Paperback – November 27, 2013, ON AMAZON.COM

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Letters and Radio Messages of the Late SPLM/A’s Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabioor (Volume 2) Paperback – November 27, 2013, ON AMAZON.COM

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AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

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CAPTAIN JOHN GARANG’S 1972 LETTER

TO DOMINIC AKECH MOHAMMED

Southern Sudan

February 5th, 1972 

Dear Dominic:

Thank you for the correspondence you dispatched to this end on January 25th, instantly. Very lucky, I go them today from Kampala through the lorry. It is lucky because I am leaving tomorrow morning for the interior, about 500 miles footwork from where we last met and I will not be back for over 7 months, maybe more.

Find here enclosed a copy of a letter I wrote to General Lagu and the negotiations committee (See Captain John Garang’s 1972 Letter to General Joseph Lagu of Anyanya One, January 24, 1972). I have handwritten it (it is 2:00 a.m) since I have packed my typewriter for tomorrow’s long journey. You may type it and if necessary you have my permission to use it BUT AFTER the negotiations ONLY so as not to prejudice the same. As you can see I am not in favor of these so-called negotiations nor do I have any illusions that much will come out of them. What is more, a settlement with the enemy at the present time is not in the best interests of the Southern Sudanese people, the Sudanese people and the African people for some of the reasons given in the attached seven page letter (refer to Captain John Garang’s 1972 Letter to General Joseph Lagu of Anyanya One, January 24, 1972).

Firstly, the “solution” will be no solution since the Arab military dictatorship of General Numeiry seeks to “solve” the problem within the spirit of Arab Nationalism and the context of a United Arab Sudan. Secondly, the Numeiry regime is illegitimate, a regime of blood, rhetoric, instability and theft, it is only a matter of months before the Numeiry clique is couped out of office by a similar scum of political prostitutes. To sign a “settlement” with such unstable barbarians is criminal and makes one a member of that gang though in a different outfit. Thirdly, the conditions for permanent revolution have not as yet been sufficiently created within our own motion.

The objective of liberation (of armed struggle) is firstly the riddance of oppression and exploitation and the simultaneous creation of conditions and structures for the permanent (continuous) release of our productive forces, which have been so historically damned, deformed, stunted and impeded by exploitation, oppression and humiliation. This last point is central as it focuses on the essence, the particularity of our movement.

About my role as Information Officer for the Anyanya, it is true that there has been such talk, but after I finished my infantry training last October, I made a concrete analysis of the situation and objective factors indicated that I could not make my total contribution in that capacity. You know what I mean. And if that be the case, it would be an intolerable situation. I joined the Movement with total commitment and dedication. I have sacrificed (I don’t consider it so) all the benefits paper dehumanizing education is supposed to confer on the dehumanized, decultured native holder, I am resolved to give the ultimate sacrifice, my life, for I am bound by nothing else but duty and commitment to Africa and the African people starting with the Southern Sudanese people, as a matter of course. African liberation can only primarily be effected through combat and everything else must be built around the combat, must enhance and give political character to combat. 

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: (Volume 1)

It would take me a book to go into analytical, historical and practical exposition of this line, but it is sufficient to say that this is why I turned down the “Information” work and chose active combat, and so tomorrow I go to the interior to (eventually soon) take over command of a full battalion. War is war, should anything terminate my usefulness (services) to the African people and revolution, it is incumbent upon you to continue with the struggle and/or to prepare the children and generations to come for the revolution. It is our duty.

I am indeed sorry about brother Vuzi Zulu that he comes at a time I have to leave. It would have been my duty and pleasure to cooperate with him since I presume we are engaged in the same revolution. (I would have also found that out). At any rate, pass my regards and explanation to him on his return. Some other time we shall meet.

Yes, I shot all the five colored films you gave me. After the training I went to Kampala but failed to develop them, as they don’t have facilities for developing Ecktochrome film in Kampala. When Allen Reed came he took them to Nairobi and they were developed and printed on slides. He then returned them and gave me a bill of 80/= (eighty Uganda shillings) which I promptly paid and I got all the slides. Two days later he came to me in Bumbo (twenty miles from Kampala) and begged me to borrow him some of the slides to teach his (Southern Sudanese) photography cadets who were there assembled in Kampala and that he would return them the following day.

He went and disappeared, till now I have not seen him—a complete breach of trust. Please convey the charge of theft to him from me, and collect those slides from him, I had actually told him that I was going to send them to you. The balance, I have left them locked up in Bumbo as I could not send them in time expecting Allen to return the borrowed ones and then send them in lump. This concurs with your other remarks.

Also please convey my sincere appreciation to FOPANO, ANAM, and OFPA for their endorsement “in principle” to cooperation with you and the Movement in our “efforts towards the liberation of Africa” and to Roy Inis and Core for the inclusion of “the Southern Sudanese Liberation Movement” in its support of African Liberation Movements.

Tell those citizens of Africa, snatched away from the great BLACK womb of our Mother, that time has come for their consciousness and ours on the mainland to merge (again) with one big black consciousness that will pull Mother Africa from the bloody teeth of the monster and usher in the total release of our productive forces long damned, deformed and impeded by centuries of oppression, exploitation and emasculating humiliation.

Greetings to all our students and brothers.

Brother Garang Mabior Atem

Southern Sudan, February 5th, 1972