Looking beyond the obvious: Possibilities post South Sudan independence

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:08
Written by Dr. Deepa Rajkumar, The New Sudan Vision (NSV), newsudanvision.com
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(Toronto, Canada) - The 9th of July 2011. Finally! And a new country, Republic of South Sudan, ROSS, is instituted, amidst so much celebrations and hope, emotions. With happiness, remembrance, and a call for caution and patience. A historic moment.

The intent and promise being, that the shackles are thrown forever. And people know what is to be done. Just governance, development of natural (and other) resources with equitable distribution of wealth, infrastructure building, no corruption, no tribalism, and freedoms for all and expression. Democracy.

Maybe one question remains, however. It lingers: as a country emerging out of a struggle, a long fight, against marginalizations, of lands, of peoples, of economies, what can be done to really ensure equity, sustainability, self-expression and expressions of differences within ROSS? Are the above identification of problems and solutions enough for this? Are the recommendations enough? Is it enough to work for making the recommendations come through? Will this lead to the democracy that people fought for, lost lives for, and got a polity into being. Is this the way to move forward, and away from all marginalizations? Slowly but surely, to ensure lives of dignity for all, on the terms set by the peoples of ROSS.

Without giving further recommendations for this, since it is a long road ahead as well, that has to be walked, and built as it is walked, along with others, I wish to remember Franz Fanon here – what he said about colonialisms, anti-colonialisms and national struggles. Against black skin and white masks, against inferiority complexes and insecurities, and for the necessity of getting rid of all colonial hangovers, for the realizations of decolonization in a manner that goes beyond mere institutional transfer of power to new (local) rulers. His was a call for a contemporary imagination, process and working out of ways, to not merely imitate the liberal institutions of the modern west that are in turn the cause as it were for the very problems one seeks to solve. But, to foster processes and actions that will allow for interactions among peoples that allow for the expressions and realizations of their own multiple desires and aspirations. A fuller sense of democracy than one embodied in regurgitations of mere electoral based economies and societies and associated checks and balances.

So that, outside powers – states, international organizations, corporations, businesses, and international non governmental organizations – that are working on peace initiatives, infrastructure building including for schools, hospitals, electricity, roads, housing and sanitation, service providing including in the hotel industry, and in the ever lucrative and life and land destroying oil and mining industry; and inside powers – governments, businesses, ngos and others – also similarly working, are not the ones that set the terms, conditions, possibilities and limits. Of what people, individually and in community, require and want, as per the current taken for granted universalized/globalized standards of living, lifestyles and progress inscribed by the present day dominant systems – of neoliberal economies, and statist liberal polities. And, make a business, a rather lucrative one for certain people, out of it.

Finally, to take further the call for the inclusion of all people in the dreams and (future) realities of ROSS, and to add to what Jemma Nunu Kumba said – “Every  human being is born with an instinct for freedom” –, I extend Fanon’s final prayers for himself to all peoples of South Sudan, who I believe already imbibe its spirit, – “Oh my body, always make me a [wo/]man who questions”.

And, I sign off, with hope, wishes and admiration. For the peoples of ROSS. 9th July 2011 is upon us!

Dr. Deepa Rajkumar is an independent researcher, based in Toronto, Canada. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.