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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid