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On 10 January 2014, three weeks after the South Sudan crisis began—as peace talks stalled in Addis Ababa and the death toll continued to grow—representatives of South Sudanese civil society met in Nairobi to discuss the crisis, its historical roots, and the possibility of peace. The event was held under the auspices of the Sudd Institute, the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS), the Gurtong Trust,…

The third phase of RVI’s South Sudan Customary Authorities Project, funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), is now underway. The project aims to deepen understanding of customary authorities’ role within, and with, their communities, and to amplify their voices. The work builds on previous phases of the project, activities and findings of which are captured in two…

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On Thursday 3 August, the full eighteen member Dutch Embassy national and international staff team in South Sudan visited the National Archives as part of their annual team outing. Staff from the Dutch Embassy were interested to learn about the presence of documents across a variety of fields of interest including rule of law and traditional authorities, health and sanitation, and agriculture…

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The fourth annual Juba University Rift Valley Institute lecture series took place on 22, 23 and 24 October, in the New Hall at Juba University.

The 2014 series examined three historic peace agreements and their implications for the current peace negotiations in South Sudan: the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, which brought the first civil war in the South to an end; the Wunlit Peace and…

Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, a Sudanese veteran communist politician and feminist, passed away in London on 12 August. She is survived by her son Ahmed with the late al-Shafie Ahmed al-Sheikh, a communist trade union leader who met his death at the gallows at the orders of President Nimayri in the aftermath of the failed 19 July 1971 communist coup attempt. For Fatima the political was essentially…

Last month in Yirol I bought a heifer—a brindled two-year old, not yet in calf. In the Dinka cattle-naming system a cow like this is called nyang, the crocodile, a reference to the colour-pattern of her hide. I bought my nyang at the livestock auction on the edge of Yirol town, the administrative centre of Eastern Lakes state, in South Sudan’s pastoral heartland. The cattle…

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There are precious few history books about South Sudan that look beyond its recent origins. South Sudan: a new history for a new nation is an excellent example of just such a work. Douglas H. Johnson is one of the world’s most eminently qualified authors for such an undertaking, having spent many years chronicling the history of the region more broadly.

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As part of its ongoing South Sudan Customary Authorities project, RVI, in coordination with staff and students at the University of Juba, organized an event which discussed the role of chiefs. The discussion centred around the screening of RVI’s film We Are Here for the Sake of the PeopleThe role of Chiefs and Traditional Authorities is changing in South Sudan and the…

Uganda hosts by far the greatest number of South Sudanese refugees, but Sudan also hosts nearly half a million, Ethiopia more than 400,000, and Kenya over 100,000. In 2017 alone, the number of refugees increased by 500,000, and there’s no sign the massive and rapid depopulation of South Sudan will abate any time soon. 

Chief Morris Ngor of the Buoyar Chiefdom (Western Dinka in South Sudan) is the oldest chief in the Apuk Dinka. He ascended to his position of communal power in 1973, when his father, who was also a chief, was killed by the Khartoum based regime because of his support to the liberation struggle of Anyanya I. Chief Morris’s forty-five years of service, his favour with the local titweng (armed…