News / Africa

In South Sudan Camp for Displaced, World Cup Soccer Brings Hope

Young men watch sport on a small television in a makeshift viewing hall in UNMISS's Tongping Protection of Civilians site in Juba.
Young men watch sport on a small television in a makeshift viewing hall in UNMISS's Tongping Protection of Civilians site in Juba.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi

In a corner of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) Tongping camp in Juba, men sit on plastic chairs, watching soccer on a small television screen in a makeshift cinema.

David Rajor Konyi, who worked as a driver before he sought shelter at the UNMISS compound when South Sudan plunged into conflict, set up the cinema "...to help encourage some youth. Young men need to watch films and other sports, like wresting and soccer,” he said.

Rajor used the few thousand pounds that he was able to save before fighting broke out in Juba in mid-December, to buy a TV set, chairs, mats, lights, a sound system, and a small generator. He put the equipment in a four meter by eight meter tent and opened for business.

At first, Rajor showed a lot of wrestling, which has a large following in South Sudan. The cinema got quite full for the wrestling shows, and after paying his expenses, Rajor was making a daily profit of 30 South Sudanese pounds – enough to buy food and clothing for the seven family members who are with him in the camp.

David Rajor Konyi writes the day's program on a whiteboard outside the makeshift cinema that he set up and runs in an UNMISS camp for the displaced in the South Sudanese capital, Juba.
David Rajor Konyi writes the day's program on a whiteboard outside the makeshift cinema that he set up and runs in an UNMISS camp for the displaced in the South Sudanese capital, Juba.

But when the World Cup kicked off, Rajor says his fortunes changed dramatically. His cinema was overwhelmed by clients. Sometimes, the 100 seats in the viewing hall were not enough to accommodate everyone who showed up for a match. 

'I forget about everything'

Michael Koang Khan, 38, says coming to the cinema to watch football helps him to forget the awful situation that he and more than a million other displaced South Sudanese are in -- living in cramped, squalid camps as peace talks grind on without producing much in the way of results.

When you go to watch a game, there is no difference between you and other people. You watch together and there is not anyone who can say this one is from this tribe or that tribe.

“When I am watching, I forget about everything," said Khan, who had just returned to Juba from Kenya, where he earned a university degree in business management, when the fighting broke out.

"It also gives me time to rest when I watch. It is also helping me to remember what I was doing before, when I was young. I was also a footballer," he said. 

Ruei Ter Koul, 27, said he feels a sense of unity when he sits with other football fans in the tent and watches World Cup action unfolding on the small television screen.

“When you go to watch a game, there is no difference between you and other people. You can watch it together and there is not anyone who can say this one is from this tribe or that tribe,” he said.

The World Cup has also been a learning experience for Koul.

"There is a country called Chile -- I had never heard about it until I saw it in the World Cup," he said.

Even though the five African nations that qualified for the World Cup -- Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria -- are out of the running for the gold-plated trophy, Rajor says he still expects a full house at his cinema to watch the final matches.

  • Algeria's goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi taps the ball away during the game between Germany and Algeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • Greece's Sokratis Papastathopoulos, left, fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba during their match at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza ,June 24, 2014.
  • Ghana's goalkeeper Fatau Dauda denies Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo with this tremendous save at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia, June 26, 2014.
  • Ivory Coast national team midfielder Ismael Diomande plays with a ball during practice at Castelo Stadium in Fortaleza June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT WORLD CUP SOCCER) - RTR3VD8O
  • Ghana's Mohammed Rabiu, left, and United States' Kyle Beckerman struggle with each other to head the ball during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Ph
  • Algeria's national soccer players celebrate their team's fourth goal by Yacine Brahimi at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, June 22, 2014. Pictured are: (counter clockwise from top) Algeria's Islam Slimani, Rafik Halliche, Madjid Bougherra and Yacin
  • A fan of Ivory Coast cheers before the start of the match against Greece at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, June 24, 2014.
  • An Algerian fan smiles for the camera before the match between Germany and Algeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • A Ghana fan waits for the 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match between Ghana and the U.S. at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014.
  • A fan of Cameroon's team cheers before their 2014 World Cup match against Croatia in Manaus, Brazil June 18, 2014.
  • Fans arrive for the Nigeria - France game at the National Stadium in Brasilia, Brazil, June 30, 2014. (Nicolas Pinault/VOA)
  • Algeria's Abdelmoumene Djabou celebrates with his teammates after tying Russia at the Baixada arena in Curitiba, June 26, 2014.
  • Brazil's Fernandinho (R) shoots to score past Cameroon's Nicolas Nkoulou during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia, June 23, 2014.
  • Brazil's Neymar, right, controls the ball in front of Cameroon's Allan Nyom during their match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia, June 23, 2014.
  • Nigeria's Kenneth Omeruo, left, and France's Laurent Koscielny go for a header during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between France and Nigeria at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, June 30, 2014.
  • Nigeria's goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama seems to defy gravity in the net for Nigeria at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.

But like his clients, his most fervent hope is that he will be able to shut down his cinema hall in Tongping camp because peace will come to South Sudan and it will be safe for him and everyone else to go back home.

More than 1.5 million South Sudanese have fled their homes since the fighting began. Around 100,000 of them are living in U.N. compounds that have been turned into camps for the displaced, and in spite of the government assuring South Sudanese that it is safe for them to leave the camps and return home, they are staying put in the U.N. Protection of Civilians sites.

 

 

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid