Posted: October 5, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Thiik Mou Giir

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

Mandela and John Garang

Nelson Mandela and John Garang

October 3, 2017 (SSB) — In September 28, 2017, I have had my article on Non-Violence Revolution published.  One of the responses I received afterward came from one of South Sudanese Archbishops.  He had asked questions that I have been receiving from time to time.  This article is to address those questions.  But first, read part of what he wrote:

Thanks, Thiik, for sharing this analysis. I wish many of your colleagues in the Diaspora who are fueling the conflict in South Sudan through social media could choose to do something constructive as you are doing rather than promoting tribal conflicts as they are currently doing.  Of course, your analysis has many things which are not practical in the current situation in South Sudan given the military mindset of many of our leaders but could you please shed light on;

  1. What exactly do you mean by new identity?
  2. Once achieved, how will that identity look like?

I have not read your other analysis so you may have answered these questions so please forgive me if I am asking something you have already answered.

Every blessing,

The Most Rev Moses Deng Bol

Archbishop of Northern Bahr El Ghazal Internal Province and Bishop of the Diocese of Wau.

Thank you very much for appreciation and for the questions.  Let me try to answer those questions.

  1. “What exactly do you mean by new identity?”

The vision Construct Our New Identity (CONI) is a vision that means, from our tribal cultures and from our creative work, we can Construct Our New Identity (CONI) for all.  We will then become one people, indivisible.  This vision is to inspire each and every one of us.  I have no intention to explain what exactly it means to each person because each person is different.  It is up to the people, to the individuals, to interpret what it may mean to them and to implement it through whatever they do.

They will then be able to make it work, starting from their areas of influence and beyond.  If we all do this, we will certainly be able to construct our new identity.  We will then have a new mindset by which we will be able to face the challenges that the modern world presents.

South Sudan has now become an independent country.  All the cultures are cultures of the indigenous people of South Sudanese.  We should have no hesitation but to commence Constructing Our New Identity from these cultures.  Unlike the time our people were under the oppressive regime of Sudan, South Sudanese now are in control of their own media and their own educational system.

They can make this vision work.  This is not a sophisticated vision that the only people who can implement it are the educated people.  As the following scenarios will show, it is a simple one.  Anyone, educated or otherwise, can be inspired by it and can implement it.  Read the Jieng’s Kuen-Diang (Assida and butter) and the Acholi’s Dance scenarios.

First Scenario: Jieng Kuen-Diang (Assida and butter)

Oboya and Achiro, memebers of Acholi tribe, were in love.  Their families were organizing their wedding party.  Achiro had a Jieng friend, Ajok, whose mother knew how to cook a delicious Kuen-diang (Assida mixed with butter).  Achiro suggested to her wedding organizing committee that Kuen Diang be considered for the wedding menu.  Not only that, she insisted that Ajok’s mother and whoever would accompany her be invited to the wedding party.  Her wish was accepted and Ajok’s mother, along with a few other Jieng women, came to the wedding with Kuen Diang.

They handed over the food to Acholi women who were busy in the kitchen then they sat down, enjoying the wedding.  After they listened to a few speeches and danced with other guests, some Acholi women approached them and asked them whether they would come and be part of the group that was assigned to distribute the food.  The Jieng women accepted.  They served the wedding guests with food.

Days after the wedding, some Acholi women had a conversation with those Jieng women who served at the wedding party.  They told Jieng women that one of the things that drew the attention of so many Acholi people was this exotic Kuen Diang.  They told them that they would like to learn how to cook that kind of food and wondered whether they would be willing to teach them.

Jieng women gave instruction lessons to Acholi women in their own homes.  After a few days, Acholi women excelled in cooking Kuen Diang.  They became so confident that they went on and taught other Acholi women.

Second Scenario: Acholi Dance

Deng and Ajok, members of Jieng tribe, had made their wish to marry each other known by their respective families.  Deng once attended one of his Acholi friend’s wedding.  He recalled that when it came to dancing, Acholi people could dance like no other in South Sudan.  “They were the best”, he assessed.  He, therefore, suggested to the committee that was involved in organizing the wedding that it would be interesting that Acholi people be invited to the wedding so that they would entertain the wedding guests with their breath-taking dance.

His suggestion was welcomed and on the day of the wedding, Acholi invitees, males and females, came to the wedding.  During the wedding party, there was music and dancing episodes as expected.  However, the whole wedding hall lit up the moment the Acholi dancers exclusively went onto dancing floor.  It was electrifying.

At some point, some Acholi dancers invited some wedding guests to join them on the dancing floor.  Many guests seemed to had hesitated before they accepted, apparently, because they felt they would spoil the show.  However, in no time, they had learned Acholi dance moves.  They went crazy.  Dancing to the beats!

Following that event, some of those Jiengs went on attending other parties.  They requested that a Jieng DJ, or otherwise, play Acholi songs.  When Acholi songs were being played, they went on the floor danced like Acholi people.  Unbelievable!  Members of other tribes were all bemused by what they saw and they, in turn, joined Jiengs and learned from Jieng the Acholi dance.


The reason that made me come up with these scenarios is not to suggest that our people had never enjoyed each other’s company before.  They had.  What is new is the idea that whatever beautiful cultural aspect that used to belong to any particular South Sudanese tribe, any creativity work and any good work of any particular South Sudanese individual or group, should now be shared, not borrowed at the spur of the moment, by all South Sudanese people.

 It is no longer a thing that belong to the other tribe or foreign, but as one of our own; in other words, as part of our new identity.

  1. “Once achieved, how will that identity look like?”

Our people’s engagement in order to make this vision work will be in progress up to the point, if you ask a South Sudanese person in the next one hundred or two hundred years ask questions or make statements as these:

Tribal or Citizens: “Oh, South Sudanese have never been one people.  They were a bunch of tribal people who pulled themselves together to fight off their common enemy, the Arabs.  When their common enemy was off their back, they were on their each other’s throat”.  Our people will respond: “Well, that was true.  We didn’t know better.  But look! We had conceived a vision and we have constructed our new identity.  We have become one people, indivisible.  We are South Sudanese citizens”.

Incidents similar to December-2013 incident in the future: The incident that sparked violence in South Sudan on this date was not the first neither will it be the last.  There will be similar incidents.  But, having made this vision work, our people will not say, “It is happening to members of Nuer, Jieng…”, or any other members of other tribe in South Sudan.  Rather, they will say, “It is happening to all of us and all of us must face it together.  If we are going to fall, we will fall together, if we are going to stand, we will stand together”.

Jieng Council of Elders (JCE): This vision will ensure that there will be no Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).  The only group of elders that will be allowed to exist and to operate will be the National Council of Elders or nothing.

In the final analysis, there are things that we can see emerging from the mess.  The political situation in South Sudan is a mess.  Negative as well as positive things are emerging from this mess.  Armed factions that are fighting the government are multiplying.  Civilians in their thousands have become collateral damage.

People who are inciting hatred, especially along tribal lines, are also multiplying.  The voices of those who are calling for guns to be silenced are drowned by the voices of those who are inciting hatred and fueling the war.  CONI is one of positive things and, a rare one too, that is emerging from this mess.  The decision is for our people to make.

This vision can be made to work by politicians, by lawmakers, by educators, by farmers, by religious and non-religious people, by traders, by artists and all those other people whose status in life I have not mentioned.  CONI is mainly a social revolution that will help reduce tribal conflicts tremendously.

Thiik Mou Giir, Bachelor Degree in Education from University of Alexandria, Egypt; Post Graduate Diploma, from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.  He can be reached via his email contact:

  1. Deyara Deyara says:

    Dear Thiik,
    You have given a wise and constructive vision for new South Sudan. A new identity that will absorb our different cultures and traditions in harmony and becomes semi-homogenous. A vision of a nation that will embrace and cherish our diverse and mosaic social fabric, and will enrich itself with the power of united diversity and multiculturality. Your articles are encouraging and building our strong morale for unity and cooperation, and we as one South Sudanese people, will encourage and back your tremendous effort to bring together our intellectuals to understand our need for peace, dignity and prosperity. You are setting an example for us all to follow in your foot steps, so please keep encouraging and supporting the unity of our people and those who are preaching hatred and division will be ashamed and embarrassed of your great works.


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