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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More