Why Republic of Kush should be adopted for country in waiting?

“South Sudan without North Sudan is illogical,” argues Chol de Kwot.

(UK) - People of South Sudan through the referendum exercise had demonstrated to the world their high degree of civility and organization; contrary to what many in the region and beyond had perceived as South Sudanese’s inability to rally for a common cause. My heartfelt gratitude to people of South Sudan for disproving those prophets of doom and for demonstrating to the world their readiness to build a new country for which all will be proud of and identify with.

The referendum exercise had surpassed people’s expectation and had been described by SSRC Chairman Prof. Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil and foreign observers as the most successful national voting exercise ever carried out in the Sudan. The referendum votes’ count indicates South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted in favor of establishing an independent state in the South. With referendum outcome clear to every southerner, many writers have started suggesting possible names for to be 54th African country which will celebrate its first independence on 9th July 2011. Some contributors had alluded to names such as Azania, Imatong Republic, Nile Republic, Republic of Kush, Republic of New Sudan, Wunjubacel, and Republic of South Sudan. Any name selected and approved by South Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) among aforementioned or from other sources will be an important platform for which national pride and collective identity will be built upon.

Although any of the aforementioned names can be used to name our country to be, Southern Sudanese still need to understand why certain names are more important than others in the list. Many of the contributors of those names did not provide elaborate reasons why we should support a certain name and not the other. Therefore, this article provides a brief analysis on historical background, contemporary significance and disadvantages of those names and recommends the most suitable name for the new country.

Azania: It is a name that was used in Roman time or perhaps earlier to refer to a large part of Africa’s Indian Ocean coastal region. Others believe Azania was used in Roman time for a coastal area stretching from Southern Somalia to South Africa or probably Azania was used interchangeably with Africa to refer to land of the black or dark-skinned people. South Africa had used this term extensively during Anti-Apartheid campaign. It had featured in South Africa’s names for political parties during Apartheid regime and is currently part of South African political literature. Thus, Azania had been claimed already by modern South Africa and South Sudan had no basis to use it as a name of the republic since it had not featured much in our political literature and had no direct relation to our social, political and economic existence both in ancient and modern Sudan.

Imatong Republic: This name is derived from South Sudan’s beautiful mountains scenery in Eastern Equatoria. Imatong Mountains range is a beautiful geographical feature, but its contribution to South Sudan geographic landscape, and economic and political existence is limited compared to Nile, Sudd and other rivers that had acted as barriers to invading armies throughout history of South Sudan. Therefore, Imatong Republic is not a viable name in present of other more important geographical features such as Nile and Sudd.

Republic of New Sudan: New Sudan as a proposed name for the new country is derived from SPLM/A vision of transforming the Sudan from pre 1983 political ideology and development policy to a more inclusive and secular Sudan based on devolved government, equality, respect for human rights, and equitable development. Although some people may argue that New Sudan is a good name to use, it still calls into question the notion of who are the true Sudanese (New Sudanese in the South or Sudanese in the North) and what will be the effect of political and religious ideologies already built around the Sudan on the branding of New Sudan. These questions render New Sudan worth for change-campaigners within the same system but not a name for a new country. In addition, North Sudan will maintain Republic of the Sudan or Islamic Republic of the Sudan as the official name of the country. With Sudan already established politically and religiously, it will be costly and time consuming to brand a new country under New Sudan considering the widespread effect of current political and religious ideologies of the Sudan.

Wunjubacel Republic: According to the contributor, Wunjubacel is an acronym of names of ten states of South Sudan, Abyei, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State, and Juba. It is a four syllabic word without a national adjective. With a national adjective, it will be Wunjubacelan or something similar. Wunjubacelan is a five syllabic word which is difficult for a common man to call. Therefore, Wunjubacel is an important political name, but it is difficult to call and its acceptability by the people of South Sudan is not tested. Therefore, it is not viable for a state name.

Republic of South Sudan: Another name frequently mentioned in recent literature is the Republic of South Sudan. During colonial administration, the term South Sudanese was adopted as an official reference to people inhabiting southern part of the Sudan. People of South Sudan are now debating whether to change the name or retain it as the official name of 54th African state to be inaugurated on July 9, 2011.

According to my opinion, South Sudan should not be the official name of our new country due to the following reasons.

South Sudan as the official name of our new country will encourage rise of hard-line unionist movements both within South and North Sudan. Currently, people in the Sudan and especially in the north are divided on the issue of South Sudan separation. There are some political parties supporting separation while others perceive division of Sudan as foreign forced solution to South North crisis. Political parties and religious groups against separation of south Sudan from rest of the country will continue to be reminded about division of the Sudan by the name use in the south and may likely adopt a long term reunion strategy which in the future may lead to a rise of hard-line unionist moments both within the South and North. Such hard-line unionist moments may go to the extreme and reunion strategy may be a source of future political dispute or even military confrontation within South Sudan and between the two independent Sudanese states. In addition, some Southern Sudanese politicians under the pretext of brotherly people had already started calling for an open door policy on immigration with the north which can easily be utilized to grow South Sudan unionists. Such calls are signs of favorable conditions for hard-line unionists to develop in the near future in South Sudan in case South Sudan is retained as official name.

South Sudan without North Sudan is illogical. After separation, north Sudan will likely retain Republic of the Sudan or modify it to Islamic Republic of the Sudan or in a rare case to Arab Republic of the Sudan. Therefore, Republic of South Sudan without Republic of North Sudan will cause a national identity crisis among peoples of the two countries. North Sudan will definitely claim to be the legitimate owner of the Sudan and development of attractive and easily marketable national identity around South Sudan will be greatly affected by influence of already built Sudanese national identity. Some people may cite South Africa as an example of a country name without north. The answer is, there is no another neighboring country called Africa for which South Africa may compete for identity. Others such as Republic of Congo and D.R Congo, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau had never fought identity wars between them and cannot be compared with North Sudan and South Sudan issue.

Sudan had been classified as a state sponsor of terrorism and this has affected country’s image globally. Less informed investors and other potential friends may perceive South Sudan to be geographically and politically independent but ideologically and culturally linked to Republic of the Sudan. Such perceptions may take time and resources to change through aggressive marketing of South Sudan as a different brand from Republic of the Sudan. Those resources needed to brand South Sudan as a different entity ideologically in western media are not there right now. In such a circumstance, it is a feasible idea to name a country with a name that encourages curiosity and therefore, markets itself.

Sharing of a name may cause arms race between the two Sudanese states due to fear of renewed conflict in the future. This will also cause the two states to undermine each other’s development efforts so that one is projected as a failed state to justify move to re-unite the country through either peaceful mean or military force. An example of two countries sharing a name locked into arms race is Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). In addition, patriotic euphoria among northerners and other Arab states that view South Sudan as a breakaway region of the Sudan or hijacked part of Arab country by Zionists and has to be reunited with the Sudan in the future may fade over time if different country name is adopted but may increase if the name South Sudan is still in use.

During Sudan’s protracted civil war between north and south Sudan, Junubi (Southerner) meaning was shortchanged to a disparaging term almost equivalent to a slave. Southerners were considered less equal to northerners. With such experience of unspeakable humiliation in the name of Junubin, South Sudanese may still be viewed by their fellow northerners as the same people perceived to be inferior to them. Therefore, South Sudanese is not an ideal national identity for the people of a new hard won state who want to break away from bad past and project themselves as free people with equal rights like any other people in the world.

Nile Republic: White Nile is the most important geographical feature in South Sudan. It is a source of food and water to millions of people and animals, and home to millions of reptiles and other aquatic animals that live in it and along its bank. Nile and its tributaries had provided natural defense system for the population of South Sudan and their resources throughout ancient time till the invasion of Sudan by Turkey in 1820. Nile continues to play an important role in the history of modern Sudan and its neighbors – Egypt and Uganda. Thus, naming a country after this important geographical feature is a viable idea in case there are no other historical names rivaling it. It is also important to note that what passes through South Sudan is White Nile and that may complicate use of Nile since actual Nile is formed from Khartoum onwards.

Republic of Kush: This name is derived from the ancient Kingdom of Kush. The Kingdom of Kush or Cush was the earliest and one of the most powerful ancient African states. Kush was centered on the confluences of the White Nile, Blue Nile and River Atbara in today’s Republic of the Sudan. Some records in ancient Greek and Greco-Roman also referred Kush to as Nubia, and Ethiopia which basically means land South of Egypt.

Kush is described in the Bible (Isaiah 18) as land divided by rivers inhabited by tall smooth skinned brave people with strange speech, feared far and wide.  According to the Bible, inhabitants of that land will suffer a lot and at the end will rise from their sufferings and give thanks to God.

Kush is believed to be an ancient kingdom of some of the current tribes inhabiting South Sudan.  The word Kush is still in use in modern languages spoken by some of the Nilotic tribes in South Sudan. For example, in contemporary Jieng Language, Kush usually spells as Kuc literally means ‘unknown’ and Kushite spells as Kucia or Kuca literally means ‘am I not known’ and ‘don’t you know me’ respectively. Such pride and patriotic meanings of Kush and its derivatives and presents of a location such as Khartoum, which literally means ‘meeting of tributaries’, near the ancient capital of Kush demonstrate that Kush was indeed a kingdom of Nilotic tribes which were later pushed southwards by ancient Egyptians and Assyrian armies.

Kush is the only important ancient name that is not used as a name of a modern African country and this makes it available for use in South Sudan. With its rich ancient background, biblical backing and contemporary patriotic meaning, Kush is a strong name to consider.

In addition, many Christian communities in South Sudan believe South Sudan liberation struggle is linked to Israelites liberation from ancient Egypt. The untimely demise of our hero John Garang shortly after signing of CPA and President Salva Kiir’s ascend to power to accomplish remaining issues in the liberation struggle is likened to Moses and his deputy Joshua during Israelites liberation. Such strong believe in fulfillment of God’s prophecy can easily be tapped into to enhance growth of patriotism and nationalism in our people which will in turn be a platform to  rise beyond tribalism and other vices within short time. Therefore, Republic of Kush is a name with ability to unite us as people of the same land and destiny.

Furthermore, Republic of Kush links us with our robbed history and can easily be marketed in the Christian world. Adoption of Kush as a name of the country is a sign of biblical prophecy fulfillment and Christians in South Sudan and abroad will find this name as a source of collaboration in areas such as institutional development, and archeological research which are badly needed in the new country but with no resources to implement them. Kush will easily generate research interest on cultures, ancient political and economic issues of the people in this region which are currently under researched.

In conclusion, seven names analyzed show Republic of Kush as the most viable name for 54th African state due to its ancient root, biblical backing, ability to unite people, and widespread acceptability by people of South Sudan and especially Christians who are estimated at 80 to 90 percent of the population of South Sudan. The second choice should be Nile Republic. Nile is the most important and politicized geographical feature in South Sudan and tapping into its political weight is an important idea.

Below are proposed Republic of Kush facts:

v Official name of the country: Republic of Kush

v National adjective (people/person): Kushi (Jieng language literal meaning ‘who doesn’t know you’). Hebrew literal meaning ‘dark skinned person

v Army name: Kushi Defense Forces (KDF) or Kush Armed Forces (KAF)

v Capital city: Ramciel or Ramchiel (Jieng language literal meaning ‘meet in the middle or centre’). The proposed capital city of Ramkiel (Jieng Language literal meaning ‘Rhinos fighting place’) will be renamed Ramciel or Ramchiel (meet in the middle or centre) and will be the seat of Government of Kush (GoK) and a national centre for all Kushi. It will be the main centre for Kushinization project – anti-tribalism and anti-vices project.

v Ruling party: Kush National Congress (KNC). Current ruling party (SPLM) should be renamed on July 9, 2011 as Kush National Congress (KNC) to match new country’s name.

v National currency: Kushi Pound or Kushi Wew or Kushi Rial. Whichever is chosen by the body tasked to carry out currency management function.

v Official language: English

In case South Sudanese do not like any of the above names, than they may consider Garang Republic with national adjective as Garangdit or Garangda.

**Chol de Kwot is a Sudanese student in UK. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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