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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid