News / Africa

    S. Sudan Musicians Raise Funds for Abyei Referendum

    • South Sudan artist Zahara Ali, whose stage name is Queen Zee, performs at the fundraiser for Abyei at Freedom Hall in Juba, October 2013.
    • A Ngok Dinka woman, who spent years in exile in the North, shows her happiness at being reunited with her family and friends in Abyei.
    • Peter Garang is joined on stage by fans at the Abyei fundraiser at Freedom Hall, Juba, October 2013.
    • A camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abyei in Akong village in South Sudan. The IDPs want to return to Abyei to take part in a delayed referendum about the disputed area.
    • Duop Pur Doup whose songs were widely played during the South Sudan referendum campaign performs at the fundraiser for Abyei in Juba in October 2013. He and other artists will be going to Abyei later this week.
    • People from the Misseriya tribe of the Abyei oil region protest against the proposal of African Union (AU) mediator former South African president Thabko Mbeki for a referendum to decide whether the region belonged to Sudan or South Sudan, outside the Uni
    Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
    You could call it a concerted effort for Abyei: some of South Sudan’s best-known musicians performed at a fundraiser this weekend for people who are returning to Abyei ahead of a proposed referendum on the disputed territory's future.

    More than 500 people donated between 25 and 100 South Sudanese pounds to get into Juba's Freedom Hall and organizers say they raised some 20,000 pounds. Nyok Deng Rou of Abyei Task Force, which organized the event on Saturday, said the funds raised will be used to buy food and water for people who have returned to Abyei to vote.

    Concert-goers listened to some of their favorite bands and demanded that the Abyei referendum be held this month as recommended by the African Union, the United States and several other Western countries.

    According to the 2005 agreement that ended more than 20 years of civil war in Sudan, Abyei residents were to vote in January 2011 on whether they would remain part of Sudan or become a part of southern Sudan. The Abyei referendum was to take place at the same time that southernors were voting on whether to secede from Sudan.

    Musicians like Peter Garang, of the popular band Southern Voice, and show organizer Rou -- who is from Abyei -- called on the concert-goers to keep up the pressure until the vote is held.

    Prized for its fertile land and oil reserves, the 10,000 square kilometer region is claimed by the north and south, and is currently under United Nations' administration.

    Khartoum has repeatedly said it will not allow the proposed Abyei referndum to go ahead, citing the fact that Misseriya nomads, Sudanese citizens who pass through the disputed territory on their way to watering and grazing grounds for their cattle, would not be eligible to vote.

    Experts have said that Khartoum is worried about losing access to yet another oil-producing region after South Sudan won control of most of the once unified country's oil resources when it split from the north in 2011.

    Abyei community leaders have said that, regardless of how the vote goes, a final decision will allow for greater trade between South Sudan and Sudan, and finally give residents political representation.

    Musician Duop Pur Duop said the concert was all about keeping the pressure on so that the vote happens.

    “My songs contributed towards the referendum of South Sudan and independence, and right now we are in position to provide the same songs and to participate, to support, to make sure that the referendum of Abyei takes place," he said.

    "We are trying to do awareness to the people of Abyei that it is time for them to be free, musically, morally and socially,” he said.

    Duop said he and  other artists who performed on Saturday will travel to Abyei later this month to hold another concert and demand that the referendum take place.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora