— South Sudanese artists who fled to Uganda during the recent fighting have written a song calling for peace in the world's newest nation, where thousands have been killed and more than three-quarters of a million displaced in weeks of clashes.
Hip-hop musician Meen Mabior Meen, one of tens of thousands of people who fled South Sudan when fighting broke out on Dec. 15, said the song, called "No More War", can play an important role in bringing people together and healing the country's wounds.
“Music is one of the things that restores happiness in people, even those whose brothers are killed in that war," said Meen, a member of the Coozos Clan hip-hop group.
"Right now, if you listen to morale songs, like those the SPLA were using, you forget what happened and you enter into some moods. That’s happiness moods,” he said.
In Kampala, he teamed up with other South Sudanese musicians to discuss ways they could help to heal the wounds of the South Sudanese people. They decided to write and produce the song, which is expected to be released Thursday.
Hip-hop singer Joan Atieno joined the musical peace project to give voice to the thousands of women who have been silenced by the pain of war.
"Maybe if me, a woman, I raise my voice, it may be helping other women out there who cannot fight for themselves,” she said.
Ugandan artists, including Michael Kazibwe, also volunteered to help produce the song. Kazibwe, who is better known by his stage name, Michael Ross, said the conflict in South Sudan has affected the whole region.
"We felt like we had to use the platform that we have, which is music, to preach peace and forgiveness. It’s about time that this whole war came to an end," he said.
The musicians plan to post the song on social media sites so that people in South Sudan will be able to access it. They also plan to tour the region and perform the song -- including in South Sudan -- in what they hope will be the very near future.