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

Gun Nation

This is who America's gun owners are More

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs