In Media: Interview for Esglobal on South Sudan’s new government

I recently did an interview for Esglobal, a Spanish political and economical analysis website. The interview was centred around the formation of the new Transitional-Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and my general opinion of that and the peace agreement.

In February 2020, the re-Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-RARCSS), came into effect; Dr Riek Machar came back as one of the 5 VPs and agreed to form the new government. The 32 states also became 10 states again. As of 10th April 2020, there were still no newly appointed governors, and South Sudan has also been recording new cases of Coronavirus.

The interview was in English but my commentary was translated into Spanish. The author of the article, Pablo Moraga, expounded quite well on the causes of the conflict and the future challenges ahead for South Sudan. Where I came in, was mostly my own views on the formation of the new government and the peace agreement. In my view, I simply believe that there is no real peace, unless grassroot conflicts are addressed, and justice and reconciliation has taken place. A quote from the website translated into English:

”To achieve peace, much more is needed than the creation of a government. As long as social problems are not addressed, the rebels will continue to fight. Or new militias may be born. Although in general South Sudanese have been tired of war for a long time, many think that the only thing that will be achieved with this peace agreement is to put their usual faces in positions of power. We still do not know how key aspects such as local conflicts or justice and reconciliation processes will be managed. ”

Adhieu Majok

In Media: Interview for RFI on South Sudan’s new government

I recently did an interview for French public radio service, RFI. The interview was centred around the formation of the new Transitional-Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and women’s’ views and expectations.

A few days ago, the re-Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-RARCSS), came into effect; Dr Riek Machar came back as one of the 5 VPs and agreed to form the new government. The 32 states also became 10 states again. All of these events came as a surprise for me, and I am pretty sure, for many others too.

The interview was in English but my commentary was translated into French. The subject that was touched upon the most was women’s’ expectations and views on the formation of the new government and the peace agreement. In my view, I simply believe that women invested so much into the peace process because women and children tend to be the most affected by conflict. Women fought for a better inclusion of women in the government, increasing the 25% affirmative action rate to 35%. I added that many women are just waiting to see if the 35% will be respected, as the new cabinet has not yet been announced. A quote from the website translated into English:

”Women have been particularly affected by this conflict. This is why they have invested so much in the dialogue for peace, but also for justice, and for a better representation of women. The peace agreement stipulates that 35% of positions must go to women. And we hope that the various armed groups will remember this.”

Adhieu Majok

A friend today and an enemy tomorrow

Original posting: 17th May 2014

This is my written story of comradeship, one which is summarised by late Dr John Garang’s quote, ‘stabbed the movement on the back.’ Perhaps this is with slight comparison to what is currently occurring in South Sudan. You are free to interpret it in any way you want to.

Blaise Compaoré is the serving president of Burkina Faso (Land of Upright Man).

His position didn’t come about with honesty, a ploliti(ri)cs comprising of dignity and fairness (theoretical democracy, because is democracy ever a practiced system, even in the deemed epitome of democracy, our ‘beloved’ and ‘hailed’ West?).

Compaoré was a comrade of Thomas Sankara, first president of Burkina Faso, the ‘African Che Guevera’, Thomas Sankara.

A Marxist and military president, Sankara, had a revolutionary plan extending beyond the borders of The Land of the Upright Men. He reiterated the importance of self-reliance and self-sustainability. Sankara also included women in the movement, famously stating that ‘women hold up the other half of the sky’.

The French disapproved of Sankara, from a distance (with combined silence and calculated moves), did what they always did and everywhere else; use trickery, treacherous behaviour to achieve their aims.

Compaoré was consumed by the need for power and the appealing offers from the French, while unconcerned with the rest of the nation or the vision for Africa by Sankara.

Compaoré orchestrated the killing of Sankara in a coup d’état, illustrating (perhaps truthfully) that Sankara’s rule of Burkina Faso, was affecting the nation’s relations with the French.

After his death, Compaoré (still in power today) returned Burkina Faso to puppet nation status; a lap dog to the French.

As I conclude the story, I recall a quote by Sankara, a quote unforgotten, a quote with much relevance today; ‘while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill (their) ideas’.

This rings true with particular relevance to South Sudan, as Dr John Garang read on Sankara and recalled his words and his ideas…

While he himself has transitioned to ancestral realms, his ideas and his vision hasn’t died as many still try to recall his vision (much of which came from Sankara as well).

The moral of the story is, one who is your comrade today can be your enemy tomorrow.

A snake will always be a snake no matter how much you feed it and take care of it. One’s true nature will always come to the surface like a wild cat which can never truly be tamed.

Exploring our South Sudanese heritage

In November 2018 I took part in a film making project in an attempt to explore our heritage as South Sudanese young people of the British diaspora. The film was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation via The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) Global South Visiting Professor scheme.

We explored Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, UK, and paid extra attention to some familiar and unfamiliar objects hailing from the different ethnic groups of South Sudan. Visiting professor and anthropologist, Dr Jok Madut Jok, talked us through the different objects at the museum, and also went on to answer some questions we had about culture and cultural practices.

The film making took place over two days, and around 40 minutes of footage had to be cut down to make a film of around 3 to 4 minutes. It was tough but we managed!

I really enjoyed this project because it really showed us how much we have managed to keep and how much we have lost. The photos in particular, of our people in the last 100 years, were incredible. They really give you an insight of how people lived at the time.

For those interested in visiting Pitt Rivers Museum to view their objects from around the world, please visit their website for more information.

See our film below:

My YALI RLC EA Cohort 27 Commencement Speech

One of my highlights of 2018, was being voted as the woman to give the commencement speech at the YALI RLC EA Cohort 27 graduation. It was an incredible honour. I must admit, I doubted in my ability to be voted as the one to give the commencement speech, however, when I did it, I did feel like I had delivered. I am continuously grateful for the belief and trust in me to carry out this task. Please view my speech below:

Dear fellow participants of cohort 27, the YALI Regional Leadership Centre East Africa team and all other distinguished guests.

It’s a great honour for me to be one of two class representatives chosen to speak on behalf of the cohort today, elected through popular vote.

When I told my mother the news, she said that this is the start of my political journey. And though I laughed about it, I remembered that this is exactly what YALI RLC EA is about; Building and shaping leaders, by catalysing their personal and professional transformation.

It’s been an incredible four weeks, with ups and downs, and challenges that forced us to re-examine the beliefs we held about another country or culture, or bad habits that we needed to abandon in order to become more effective leaders in our own personal and professional lives.

We are an incredibly diverse group of young leaders, inundated with talent, filled with different life experiences, bursting with knowledge and aspirations. We come from all walks of life. Some of us had it easy, like myself, but some of us did not. Some of us are urbanites from East Africa and some of us are from the very rural corners of our countries. Some of us want to bring water to the people and some of us want to make women realise their full earning potential. But one thing that is certain is that we are all leaders in our respective communities and we all desire to make a considerable impact at home.

The first week was our arrival on a new journey, where we encountered new faces that we had never seen, or names that we had never heard of before. The two day retreat became the opportunity to turn this around. Some of us conquered our fear of heights, and some of us saw it as another adrenaline filled challenge to tick off our bucket list. The first week really showed us, just how important it was for us to trust one another, in order to complete a task successfully.

The second week was a holistic approach in how we view Africa, the better habits we should adopt and how to design an innovative solution to a problem affecting our society. We were challenged to learn about other countries, and confront some of the bad habits we possess. We unlocked our creative side, and some of us, like myself, did not know we had the capacity to be creative.

In the third week we recapped all we learned, to answer a real life question of our track specific design challenge. We prototyped, prototyped and prototyped. We worked well in our teams for a moment, but then wanted to work independently for the rest of the week. Some of us even had our set solutions, but by the start of the 4th week, we had new solutions. Yesterday, we showcased our masterpieces, that one week ago, we could not have imagined.

Five years ago I reconnected with home, armed with a Great British bachelors degree, but realising that was not necessarily what was needed back home in my native South Sudan. What was needed is what I tried to develop over the years. YALI RLC EA helps contribute to what my country and what our continent needs; transformed young leaders.

Africa is rising, and that is what this great initiative is supporting. 4 years on, over 2500 alumni and 27 cohorts in, there is no shortage of change makers in Africa. We are breaking barriers, we are innovators. We are the Sunrise generation.

I want us all to remember that being here was a privilege we all earned through our commitment to our communities, and making it here today was a promise we all kept. The communities we come from are owed the lessons we have learned and the skills we have gained and sharpened during our time as cohort 27.

I would like to thank all of you amazing fellow participants for your commitment to the program and to the continent. I would like to thank YALI RLC EA partners USAID, MasterCard, Deloitte and Kenyatta University. Last but not least, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the YALI RLC EA team for equipping us with lessons and knowledge, to help us create the Africa we want.

Let’s make Africa great again.

Thank you.