Desmond Tutu once said, “I have no idea what childbirth is like but I am told it is a painful yet rewarding experience.”
For me, as a person who grew up in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this quote is perfect to describe the situation in South Sudan. In many African traditions, a new child in the house brings new hope; a new child symbolizes a bright future and reconciliation in the family. South Sudan is the new child of the motherland.
As an African, I’m truly happy to see South Sudan gaining its independence after many innocent lives lost, after many women experienced rape, abuse and violence. After many years of living in uncertainty, after many people lost their homes and love ones, and could not exercise their human rights, South Sudan is now celebrating its independence. Welcome to the 54th child of Africa: the Republic of South Sudan.
South Sudan is officially broken off from the north, the capstone of decades of civil war and years of international negotiations to stave off further bloodshed. Nothing in Africa is easy, and inexperienced politicians in the new country need support to avoid corruption. South Sudan has many people to look up to, its youth and its natural resources. But this newborn will need support now more than ever.
People may not know what independence means yet to people of South Sudan. I understand that this new country deserves attention. I always wonder why when something great come from Africa, the media seems to be absent but when something horrible comes from Africa, it is on the front page of the newspapers. I’m happy and I feel optimistic about South Sudan, even if it was not on the front page of the New York Post.
I want to wish South Sudan the best. I consider myself quite lucky to get to see the birth of this new country. Congratulations to people of South Sudan.
Madeleine Shukurani is an AJWS intern with the grants department. She grew up in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.