News / Africa

South Sudan Puts on Dress Rehearsal for Independence

Southern Sudanese march and carry signs during a rehearsal for independence celebration, in the southern capital of Juba on Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Southern Sudanese march and carry signs during a rehearsal for independence celebration, in the southern capital of Juba on Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Gabe Joselow

The countdown is on for South Sudan's independence July 9, and the country's future capital is making its final preparations for the big day.

Joy in Juba

Southern Sudanese military police participate in an independence rehearsal procession in Juba, southern Sudan, July 7, 2011
Southern Sudanese military police participate in an independence rehearsal procession in Juba, southern Sudan, July 7, 2011

"Right now we're on one of Juba's main streets, which has been closed down for a parade. It's a massive event with thousands of people, some from civil groups, some from student groups chanting, singing, welcoming the new independence as they walk toward the parade grounds that will host Saturday's ceremonies," reports VOA's East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow from Juba. "Nothing to say about it, except that its just unbridled enthusiasm and joy, and quite a scene to behold."

Juba, the future capital of southern Sudan, is buzzing with excitement as the country prepares to officially declare independence Saturday.

Remembering John Garang

The ceremony itself will be held at the John Garang mausoleum - a stadium that honors the man who led southern rebels during Sudan's 20-year civil war.

One of the most anticipated moments will be the first performance of the country's brand new national anthem.

Susan Junua is part of a national choir that has been recruited to teach the anthem to people around the country.

The words, written by students and faculty at Juba University, reflect hope, a respect for God and a commemoration of those who died during years of conflict.

Southern Sudanese from the Dinka tribe take part in a rehearsal celebration for independence in the southern capital of Juba, July 5, 2011
Southern Sudanese from the Dinka tribe take part in a rehearsal celebration for independence in the southern capital of Juba, July 5, 2011

Junua says independence marks a new beginning.

"As a South Sudanese, the independence is a freedom. To my life, because we have been tortured, we have been in slavery for many years," said Junua.

Security

Following so many years of war, the presence of military on the streets of Juba is overwhelming.  Soldiers and police have been conducting security checks, and occasionally shutting down the town's few paved roads to help prepare for the festivities.

But the citizens of the town are looking forward to a new era of peace.

Joseph Otumoro, who goes to a Catholic school in Juba, hopes with independence, there will be more opportunities for students like him.

"Every youth should get educated at least, this is what I need because we were marginalized and a lot of people did not get a chance to go to school and that is why I need that change," he said.

Ceremonies

Hundreds of foreign dignitaries, including the heads of state of 30 African countries, are expected to arrive for the ceremony. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been listed as one of the key speakers.

And in another much anticipated moment, entering the parade grounds to the tune of Sudan's current national anthem, will be President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir represents for many the years of oppression against southern Sudan by Khartoum in the north.

And his presence will almost certainly cause mixed emotions for some as the Sudanese flag is lowered, and the new, six-colored flag of South Sudan, is raised on independence day.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid