The traumatic past, the present turmoil and the uncertain future, of South Sudan

Posted: February 5, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Thon Atem Ayiei

By Thon Atem Ayiei, Juba, South Sudan


February 5, 2017 (SSB) —- Good experience and bad experience move altogether in human life. You don’t expect to be happy all the time and Vice Versa. You don’t wish to be left behind by your age mates so that you are cited as an example of failure in a society. Any of your decisions have to be in line with the situation of that very circumstance.

There are other situations whereby anyone can simply subject him/herself into a certain mayhem which will later amount to desperation and an unprecedented choice. It’s very important to take a decision with clarity of mind in order to avoid a blame of others or avoid missing the best opportunities in life.

As a result of group influence and wrong path, the living example is the current situation of our country whereby the rebellion was declared without considering the repercussions of it on the country significant installations, civilian’s lives and public properties. Commonly, the motive was just to cling to power and the exaggerated competition over who should manage the country affairs without weighing the venom of the country economic viability.

I have been compelled to write this essay in reflections of my own life experience as a young-man who spent seven years as a displaced person within South Sudan and eight years in the refugee camp in northern and western Nile of Uganda. It’s unforgettable childhood in contrast to this pathetic fallacy in correctly concluding or predicting what the future holds for me/us. The failure to do so, make it difficult for one to cast some hopes and determination towards the future ambiguity. The imprecision has to be always God guidance and rectified by ones’ existing qualifications.

Bor massacre of 1991 was my first experience as a young boy aged 5. I did not by then know what exactly caused it but I was later informed by my father when I found myself eating mangos, sweet potatoes, cassava flour and cultivating maize in Kajo-Keji County in Yei River State. My father didn’t explain to me in details what transpired, but he just handed me pen and an exercise book and introduced me to Kendiri primary school in a small village called Mangalatoria under Lelolo payam where I started to climb the academic ladder, although it wasn’t an initial dream to study.

Following the inevitable Bor Massacre, I was able as young as 5 years to witness terrible tragedies alongside others who were escaping the man-made disaster not forgetting how mummy survived my life in that catastrophic development. It is traditionally prohibited for young people of our age by then to see dead bodies or witnessing burials but was unavoidable circumstance because we had to move along dead bodies scattered on our way to the sanctuary.

At the civilian protection site, I continue my primary school studies and 3years later, my mother decided to relocate us to a refugee camp in west Nile of Uganda in a place called Lorije under Obogi sub-county of Moyo District till CPA was signed by the SPLM/SPLA with Sudan government in 2005 and followed by the tragic death of Dr John Garang De Mabior the same year.

The news of JOHN GARANG tragic death was another major setback to me and many other colleagues including the public. What was expected after liberation of the country, became apparently a quagmire in the absent of Dr. John Garang. The flagrant administrators left behind by charismatic leader (Garang) have suffered a ghastful staggering to render fundamental stability, freedom of expression, peace and security. The notion to strongly build our country, our own Army as an independent state, has conspicuously and egregiously remained a growing exigent.

Life in northern Uganda with LRA rebels was another lives threatening hardship that confined refugees’ movement in trying to meet living challenges in the territory apparently occupied by a group of pillage rebellion. As a result, some camps were displaced and roads connecting the displaced camps and refugees camps were also ambushed, brutally killed. Both refugees and natives lost their lives mercifully and others sustained severe injuries. I felt into their hands on one occasion, when my dad was admitted in Keijo-Kaji hospital, and sent with the little amount of money collected by my mother local brewery called “Areegi” or Makoya by the inhabitants. Many thanks to God for I was set free due to my age although I kept it as a secret from my family.

The funny part of refugee life is lack of personal experience, coupled with too much of idling. All these experiences contributed to positive and negative memories of my life. When I returned home in 2007, two years after the signing of CPA, I first settled in Yei with my parents and one year later resettled in my home town “Mading Bor where everything was new to me, socially and culturally. It takes me time to adopt to cultures especially how to approach a young lady to declare your desire to her. I ended up sustaining countless slaps on my cheeks on numerous spot lights and later beaten twice by the relatives of girls. The refugee social fabric was entirely opposed to home social interaction.

Although I later managed to settle down and started on something tangible for life, the 2013 power struggle erupted and all of sudden my entire life and some other youths fall apart. It was followed by 2016 incidence of J1 known as state house dogfight, many life were lost, destructions of properties and displacement.

With all these scenarios, I ask myself whether if there will be any change for anyone to exercise his/her specialization without fear of repeated wars. God! Help South Sudan!

The writer is a former displaced person and a former refugee, youth activist and a concerned member of the society. He can be reached at

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, city and the country you are writing from.


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