In South Sudan, the experience of returnees coming home for the referendum is a popular story right now. Whether returning from the North, refugee camps, or abroad, stories are dramatic, emotions are raw, and anticipation is high. Joseph Gatyoung Khan’s journey from the United States to the remote village of Nyal in southern Sudan, captured by the NYT’s Jeffrey Gettleman, is particularly captivating. And don’t miss the video.
Actor Ben Affleck’s Eastern Congo Initiative, launched earlier this year, aims to empower local leaders in eastern Congo already working to address the challenges facing their communities. In a Washington Post op-ed, Affleck highlights some of these leaders and describes the “fragility” of the environment in which they work. “Supporting Congolese efforts to move beyond their nation’s violent past and ultimately stabilize civil society requires strong leadership and a more holistic approach from the United States,” he writes.
Reporting from Renk, the northern-most town in southern Sudan, reporter Maggie Fick and photographer Pete Muller produced this feature for Al Jazeera about the mixing of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in this region that is peaceful but fragile. Fick writes: “On its surface, Renk is reminiscent of the late southern rebel leader John Garang’s vision of a ‘New Sudan’ – a place where the enormous diversity of Africa’s largest country can be of mutual benefit to its peoples instead of a cause for conflict or exploitation.” But from the markets, to the police commissioner’s office, to the bases of northern and southern armies on either side of the border, everyone is alert to the fact that they’re sitting on a fault line.
Daunted by the full 190 pages of the U.N. Group of Experts’ new Congo report? Jason Stearns, Congo Siasa blogger and expert himself, interviewed three members of the group about their findings. Here’s the detailed Q+A.
Between corruption and the expectation that war with the North would resume, South Sudan’s “oil money has not been well spent,” a prominent southern government minister told Bec Hamilton, on assignment for The Washington Post. Now, on the cusp of what many expect will be the emergence of the South as the world’s newest country, expectations are high, but so are the hurdles, particularly the moment you venture beyond the boundaries of the capital.