News / Africa

S. Sudan Marks Two Years of Freedom with Prayer

  • South Sudan held a national day of prayer as part of celebrations to mark two years of independence.
  • South Sudanese turned out to pray for the world's newest nation on a national day of prayer, held as part of celebrations to mark two years of independence.
  • South Sudanese women pray on the country's national day of prayer, which was held ahead of celebrations of two years of independence on July 9, 2013.
South Sudanese Mark Two Years of Independence with Prayer
Andrew Green
Thousands of South Sudanese gathered in stadiums across the country to pray for the world's newest nation ahead of celebrations on Tuesday to mark two years of independence, and to try to heal the still painful wounds left by decades of war.

“Today is a good day for us as South Sudanese because it is a day for reconciliation and peace.  We enjoyed these prayers, because they gather all the churches, all the government officials, all the communities," said Jenty Bangafu, one of hundreds of people who sang hymns and danced in Yambio’s Gbudue Stadium during a prayer ceremony on Monday.

The event in Yambio was part of a national day of prayer, organized by South Sudan's  Committee of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. The committee was set up by President Salva Kiir to promote forgiveness and try to end rebellions and the outbreaks of violence that still plague the country, such as deadly cattle raids.

In Eastern Equatoria, the day of prayer was turned into a week of prayer. Torit's Episcopal Bishop Bernard Oringa Bamloi said the national day of prayer was a good first step in the healing process, but warned that South Sudan still has a long way to go.

In Juba, where the main prayer event was held, Joshua Peter Aggrey arrived at the stadium hours early. A Muslim, he said he came to the prayer ceremony to show the country’s leaders that all denominations support reconciliation efforts.

“As Southern Sudanese, we respect our leaders and we listen to them. We pray that God may lead them in a way that this nation shall be successful,” he said.

The national day of prayer was a first step in efforts to address violence that has flared in South Sudan in  the past two years, said Episcopal Church of Sudan Pastor Emmanuel Natanie, a member of the national reconciliation committee.

“If we pray as a church, then we are sure that God will penetrate our communities and soften the hearts of people as we begin the process of healing and reconciliation of our republic. Something good will come,” he said.

The reconciliation committee is due to visit communities around South Sudan to gather feedback on what the government should do to promote peace and reconciliation in the country, Natanie said.

South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in January 2011 to break away from Sudan, and on July 9 of that year became the world's newest nation.

The referendum was a key condition of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war in Sudan.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi, Gift Friday and Yasolo Oketa James contributed to this report.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs