Commentary

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.

In solidarity with the people of southern Sudan

Dear His Grace the Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak,

Greetings from Christ Church, La Crosse, Wisconsin. We have been keeping vigil and praying for peaceful referendum and God's blessings on the people of Sudan. As I look back of my own involvement from1994 onward with the Province of the Church of Sudan. In 1992 I read an article in the YES magazine of CMS with a picture of Bishop Nathaniel Garang on the cover. It is from that time I committed my efforts and voice to speak for the persecuted church in Sudan. We have been praying for this day for God to set the people of Southern Sudan free from the oppression of Northern Sudanese government. Finally, God has brought this moment, a day for the people of Sudan, to decide their future and enter into the Promised Land. I am your brother who has stood in solidarity with the suffering people of Sudan. God opened doors for me to be the voice of the people of Sudan in the USA, at the Lambeth Conference 1998 "Hear My People's Cry", around the Anglican Communion, before the US Congressional Hearing on the Capital Hill in Washington D.C. and to President George Bush. It has been great honor for me serve as the chair of the Link committee in the Episcopal in the USA to ECS and Canon and Commissary to the Archbishop of Sudan. With deep humility, I give thanks to God for allowing me to be a servant of Christ to serve my people in Sudan.

This morning I join many around the world on my knees in prayer and fasting for a peaceful separation between north and south. Tomorrow when there will be a new day we shall celebrate your freedom on the Altar of Christ Episcopal Church as we celebrate Feast of Epiphany. For this new Epiphany that God has set His people free from the tyranny of Pharaoh to let His people go free. We give thanks to the risen Christ who has suffered with his people in Sudan and now in the power of resurrection we are about to celebrate new life. ALLELUIA!

A free Southern Sudan shall present many challenges. Although President Salva Kiir Mayardit in a speech last January said, "This is the final part of our journey." In reality tomorrow morning you begin a new journey in the family of the world community. It shall be now your responsibility to turn the page from decades of civil war to learn to walk on the road to be a peaceful community. In few hours we shall find Southern Sudan as world's newest country on the map with new challenges to build, to heal and to establish law and order in an area of longest war of Africa. New challenges can also be opportunities for your people and the people of world community to work together to build prosperous and peaceful Southern Sudan. Our world is in desperate need of such models. People of Southern Sudan cannot do it alone. The world community needs to stand in solidarity with you. I pledge to continue to work for peace and stability for my people in Sudan. Please let me know if there is a future celebration service organized at ALL Saints in Juba of the freedom of my people in Sudan. I would like to join you in your celebration to give thanks to God. I continually pray for God's blessings on your ministry and the people of Sudan.

Salaam, Shanti, Shalom!

Your brother in Christ,

The Rev. Canon Dr. Patrick P. Augustine, Honorary Canon, All Saints Cathedral Juba

Rector

Christ Episcopal Church

111 N. 9th St, La Crosse, WI 54601

Which name is best for southern Sudan after 'inevitable' independence?

(Vancouver, Canada) - First, let us start with the nowadays talk: referendum, referendum, referendum!

It appears apparent that multitude of South Sudanese are impatient about the

referenda of S. Sudan and Abyei region in January 9th 2011 as stipulated in the

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in Naivasha, Kenya in January 9th 2005.

Southerners have so far believed wholeheartedly that the forthcoming referenda for

self-determination are “sacrosanct” and sine qua non for a true comprehensive peace,

freedom, justice, equality, progress, development, the line goes on and on and on.

 

There is an indication that majority of Southerners have already vowed to run

“ransack” against anyone who plans to postpone or tamper upon with the highly

anticipated plebiscite. Some top GOSS officials have openly indicated that in case

of failure to conduct the referendum the regional Assembly in Juba (SSLA) will

decide on behalf of the Southerners. This is definitely none other than Unilateral

Declaration of Independence (UDI). Furthermore, the President of the Government of

Southern Sudan (GOSS), H. E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, has recently reiterated this

to the international community in the USA that, there would be a “massive”

escalation of war in the Sudan if the referenda for self determination is being

denied to the people of the South. The highly charged atmosphere in the South, due

to the long awaited self-determination for over a half century, makes the remaining

three months restless months ever in the history of the Sudan.

Prophecies for the “Inevitable” Independence of the South

“The South has no intention of separating from the North, for had that been the case

nothing on earth would have prevented the demand for separation. The South will at

any moment separate from the North if and when the North so decides, directly or

indirectly, through political, social and economic subjection of the South," Rev. Fr.

Saturnino Lohure said on the 2nd Sudan parliament (1958).

 

“I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years, have

brought to you CPA in a golden plate. Our mission is accomplished. It is now your

turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience bush life. When time

comes to vote at referendum, it is your golden choice to determine your fate. Would

you like to be second class citizens in your own country?, it is absolutely your

choice,” said Dr John Garang de Mabior, Rumbek, Southern Sudan, May 15, 2005

 

Henceforth, the ongoing processions in the South, with special dedicated days on

9th of each month, do tell us, without any doubt, that Northern Sudan is losing its

oil rich region—Southern Sudan—its main economy basket. People from all works of

life in the South such as GOSS officials, civil servants, traditional chiefs,

bishops, Muslim leaders, youths, women, common people and even people from other

nationalities do come to the streets in all the ten states of Southern Sudan showing

their anger and dismay against the bitter and unrealistic unity of the Sudan thus

favoring secession. Famous slogans extracted from Exodus 8:1 such as “LET MY PEOPLE

GO” and others like “YES FOR SEPERATION AND NO FOR UNITY” are common.

More so, Hillary Clinton of the US calls the likely independence of the South as

“inevitable”. Even some people interpret the central stipulation in the CPA for the

word “unity” as a euphemism for the word “slavery”. They believe the CPA phrase for

“making unity attractive” actually means “making slavery attractive.”

 

In addition, once, a friend of mine told me that almost all South Sudanese, if not

all, have become “politicians” whether intellectuals or not, whether church

ministers or not, whether literate or not, whether soldiers or not, whether young or

not. The ongoing political atmosphere in Sudan, as a whole, has educated the

uneducated to become educated and thus with substantial experience about “politics”.

To justify this supposition, just meet South Sudanese in any of their gatherings, at

least you would hear them talking politics. Paradoxically, it is not even uncommon

to hear politics taken to church pulpits and mosques.

 

Likewise, majority of South Sudanese musicians intensely campaign for separation.

Their songs also warn the “Thomases” not to doubt the likely forth-coming

self-determination for the South. (Remember that Thomas, one of the disciples of

Jesus Christ, doubted the message that Jesus had risen from the dead, until Jesus

himself appeared to him and told him to prove for himself, John 20:24-29.) On the

same manner, some of their songs warn those Southerners who act or who are trying

to act like “Judas Iscariot” to abandon such devilish practices. (Judas Iscariot

was only given thirty pieces of silver as a bribe to sell Jesus Christ into the

hands of the enemies, Matthew 26:15.)

 

Furthermore, opinion polls done by several researchers do tell us vividly that

Southerners have already decided their own destiny; they are now showing “deaf” ears

to the gobbledygook call in Khartoum for the unity of the country. They are openly

favoring total independence of South Sudan come January 9. This includes the SPLM,

one of the principle signatories to the CPA. As this article goes on media, South

Sudan is on the process of refining and finalizing its own proposed National Anthem

prior to the coming independence. Again, the recent opinion poll conducted in Lake

State by Agency for Independent Media (AIM) revealed that 97.6% of Southerners favor

secession. The experiences of the people from the past and current brutal

governments of Sudan have taught them enough lessons as to what the so-called unity

would be. They are opting for a total independence to avoid the ongoing

dictatorship, imposed Islamization and Arabization as well as inhuman legislations

on non-Muslims deemed to censure them for their refusal to accept slavery. Such

brutality, however, comes from within (Khartoum) and indirectly from other foreign

bodies that are Arab chauvinistic and anti Christian in nature. Even though now

Khartoum and its allies pour “rains” of dollars to the South for urgent development,

all will fall on deaf ears. Most Southerners believe the recent pro unity funds sent

from Khartoum actually come from the exploited resources in the South; they are just

taken to Khartoum and then a handful “za tongau min inak le wara fi Junub” in the

name of unity, as one of the chiefs from Central Equatoria once said. Ironically,

when a Southerner talks about unity of the Sudan, many Southerners see that person

as a “traitor” who is trying to sell them out for personal gains. This, however,

makes it difficult for the pro unity campaigners to do comprehensive campaigns in

the South.

Circulating names for the new state

South Sudanese all over the world are impulsive in knowing whether their anticipated

new country would have a brand new name or it would retain its current

name—South(ern) Sudan. They want to know whether GOSS has already proposed a name

for the soon to be new state, in which they still keep the name secret thus awaiting

the declaration of the referenda results. However, many Southern intellectuals are

brainstorming their minds in order to see as to which name would best suit their new

state. Below are some of the proposed names commonly circulating around the media,

which have sparked some hullabaloos or controversies as well:

• The Republic of South Sudan

• The Republic of Kush/Cush

• The Republic of Nileland

• The Nile Republic

• The Republic of Nile Africa

• Others acronyms

 

Experts studying names say names of countries matter; a name can “taint” the image

of a country or it can positively lift its image. Names that are associated with

unlucky countries may prevent investors from coming to those countries because “most

people usually do not bother to surface past their impressions” (Simon Anholt, the

founder of the Anhold-GfK Roper Nations Brands Index). Now let us examine critically

the pros and cons of each of the above-proposed names for the upcoming new state in

East Africa.

 

a) The Republic South Sudan

Proponents of this name favor the soon to be new state in the South to be called The

Republic of South Sudan. They assert that this name is a well-known name and it

reflects the indigenous people of Southern Sudan. The name Sudan comes from the

Arabic word as sud (black) or Bilaad as Sudan—the land of the blacks. Therefore,

Southerners are typically Sudanic and there is no doubt about that. Instead,

Northerners should change their own name and leave the whole name “Sudan” for the

South. Opponents of this name, however, see it as a “wounded” name. They stress that the

name, Sudan, has been spoiled or tainted by Khartoum governments and especially the

NCP led government of today. The word Sudan now sends a bad impression to the

international community—the name has been closely associated with genocide in

Darfur, wars, brutality, Janjaweed, indictment, human rights abuse, hunger etc. And

more worse, Sudan is under the US list of countries supporting terrorism. So calling

the new state in this name can mistakenly result to mistreatment of its own citizens

when travelling abroad. Again, if the South retains the “Sudan” name, it will

definitely chase investors away from coming to invest in the new country. Anhold

said that South Korea, one of the developed countries in the world, scores so badly

in Anhold Survey “because too many people fail to remember which Korea is ‘good’ and

which is ‘bad’”. Therefore, South Sudan may experience similar case if it does not

change its name. Instead, it should “get off” to a better brand name. Furthermore,

the opponents urge that historical facts inform us the name Sudan is not only for

the current Republic. The vast Sahel of sub Sahara constituted the Sudanic people

which extended from Senegal, Ghana, northern Nigeria, Mali, Niger, up to the Red Sea

coast; and even northern Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania have some Sudanic

people. So the only difference is that a small region has taken this name for its

country (Republic of the Sudan) which was baptized by Egypt. Therefore, the South

should not think they are the only Sudanic people.

 

b) The Republic of Kush

The people described as Cushites, descendents of the biblical Cush, goes far back to

the Old Testament period of the “Tables on Nations”. Thus, the Bible tells us

(Genesis 10 and 1 Chronicles 1) that Cush was the eldest son of Ham, the son of

Noah. He was the brother of Mizraim (where Philistines descended from, not the

current Palestine), Put (Egyptians descended from him) and Canaan (whom God

cursed—ancestor of the Hitites, Jebusites, Amorites etc who became a snare to the

Israelites later). The children of Cush were Nimrod (the mighty warrior on earth who

spearheaded the building of the tower of Babylon) Seba, Havilah etc. Cush was the

grandfather of Sheba of Ethiopia, whose queen later visited Jerusalem and got

impregnated by King Solomon. The book of Numbers 12:1 shows the wife of Moses,

Zippora, as a Cushite. Isaiah 18:2, 7 (NIV) describes the Cushites as “people who

are tall and smooth-skinned…feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange

speech, whose land is divided by rivers”.

 

In history, Egyptian old manuscripts and archeological findings (excavated by Gerstang

and Dows Dunham) found out that there was a well developed and civilized nation

called the Kingdom of Kush which stretched from southern Egypt and to the Sudan and its first capital in Kerma, above the third cataract of the Nile (along Dongola of

Sudan). Later when Kush (dark skinned people) became independent from Egypt it

established its capital in Napata (the capital of the flourished, civilized ancient

world) and then moved to Meroe (along the confluence of the Nile and Atbara rivers)

for 1,070 years until the middle of 4th century A.D. Kush became strong and

conquered the neighboring states including Egypt thus established 25th black dynasty

of Pharaohs in Egypt which it ruled for about 200 years. Finally, rival Kingdom of

Axum from the Ethiopian highlands broke up the Kingdom hence ending its 1,070 years

rule.

 

Proponents of this name want the new nation from Southern Sudan to be called The

Republic of Kush (or Cush).They believe this name has historic contexts stretching

from the biblical times and proved by historical facts, legends and archeological

findings. They believe this name, however, re-instills confidence in the people of

the South who have undergone prolonged slavery. The proponents see themselves as the

“biblical people” whom Isaiah prophesied that its nation would one time become a

flourishing nation after the long censorships. Also some statements have been made

by some GOSS officials about their support for this name. For example, the content

of the proposed South Sudan National Anthem mentions Cush and its black warrior-like

people probably cited from Prophet Isaiah 18. And more so, there is an independent,

public strategic research and policy studies institute established by GOSS which is

already called Kush Institute headed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Opponents of this name do not believe this name is appropriate. They think this name

may cause some tension in the future since the biblical Cushites are said to be

“tall and smooth-skinned…feared far and wide, an aggressive nation (warriors) of

strange speech”. Many of the ethnic groups in the South are not in that manner;

these groups are not tall, worrier like people as some of the ethnic groups in the

South. Therefore, it would be difficult to reconcile this description to accommodate

all Southerners. Likewise, history and biblical accounts do not necessarily confine

the Cushites to the current Southern Sudan. It goes further to describe some groups

of people in the horn of Africa and Asia as well. Historians and theologians still

have some conflicting ideas as to who these Cushites are. Nevertheless, the

opponents of this name urge that the etymological word which is claimed to describe

the black Africans (Cushites) need to be expounded. The Hebrew word ??? or Cush was translated in the Septuagint (the Greek translation) as ???????? or Aethiopia (“of

burned face”) and in other Bible translations it is translated as Sudan (see Isaiah

18). So calling South Sudan as Kush is the same as calling it Nuba, Sudan or

Ethiopia. To make it funny, many women find it hard to pronounce the word Cush since the pronunciation for the female reproductive part in Arabic is similar to its

sound; so some people may use it derogatively.

c) The Republic of Nileland

Proponents of this name believe Nileland is the best name for the people of South

Sudan. The reason is, they believe, naming the new state in the name of the Nile and

its vast land will prevent the new country from tension between communities in the

region. For instant, if the name of the new state represents only one part of the

region, those who are not represented would feel alienated. They would feel

disregarded as genuine citizens of the nation thus it would cause some future

conflicts. It would be the same as calling Sudan an Arab state when majority of the

people are not Arabs. Opponents of this name believe the name is not suitable for the people of Southern

Sudan. Many who oppose this name commented through the social media that they feel the name (Nileland and its people, Nilelanders) sounds like a “small” land or an

island within the Nile, while Southern Sudan region is even bigger than the combined

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.


d) Nile Republic

Proponents of this name assert that the new nation should be called Nile Republic.

They believe this is the most appropriate brand name for Southern Sudan. Steve

Bloomfield, author of the recently published “Africa United: How Football Explains

Africa” says “calling the new country the Nile Republic could instantly transform

its image. It is a positive popular brand known all around the world”. On the other

hand, northern Uganda opposition politicians, including Norbert Mao, the Ugandan

presidential hopeful for 2011, had threatened the Ugandan government that they would

create a new state called Nile Republic for the people of northern Uganda if their

government continued marginalizing their people. This, however, indicates that this

name is positive and popular and it would be a catalysts to attract investors.

Opponents of this name believe the name would cause some tension between Egypt and the South if the South opts for this name, as Egypt is curious about anything

relating to the Nile. On the other hand, coming up with a name to describe the

citizens of “Nile Republic” would be difficult. Since majority of South’s ethnic

groups are “Nilotics” coming up with this name would send a wrong message to the

Sudanese with a Bantu ethnicity from Western Equatoria and even in Western Bahr el

Ghazal, to some extent.


e) The Republic of Nile Africa

Proponents who support this name believe this name is the most appropriate than all

the others; hence, it mentions the longest and popular river in the world where the

new state to be is situated. Calling the South “The Republic of Nile Africa”

actually describes both the geographical location of the new country and its people.

This, unlike the aforementioned, would not carry any wrong message to any of the

ethnic groups found in the South since they are all Africans in which the

consecutive Khartoum governments and their allies are trying to make extinct. Those

who favor this name believe the name would definitely attract investors as well as

send a “shiny” image of the new country to the international community. They argue

that this brand name is very accommodative. Additionally, the way to describe its

citizens is easy and to the point—Nile Africans.

Opponents of this name think the name carry no sense since the Nile is only found in

Africa. Therefore, there is no need to call a country “Nile Africa”.

f) Acronyms

Proponents: Many have also suggestion that the name for the “soon to be” nation in

Southern Sudan should be named by using acronyms. For example, The Citizen English

newspaper in Juba indicated that one prominent Southerner proposed the name to be

JUMAWA, taken from the former regional capitals of the provinces of Equatoria, Bahr

el Ghazal and Upper Nile, with their first two letters of Juba, Malakal and Wau.

Others think it should be called GEBU, Greater Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper

Nile. Some believe all the ten states of the South should be represented as well.

Opponents to these suggested acronyms say these names do not make sense since a

town’s name can be changed at any time. Such names cannot accommodate all the

states; for instant, some of the ten states are not fully represented and if Blue

Nile and Southern Kordofan states join the South as they still have some room in the

CPA, the suggested names would not accommodate these states.

Suggestions

The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) should not hurry to endorse any unnecessary proposed name for the forth-coming new state in East Africa without thorough study  by looking into its pro and cons to avoid any blunder, which would cause tension/conflict in the future. The new name should not be dictated upon, rather some of the well-informed Southerners be involved in the process.

 

*The author of this article, Peter Towongo John, holds Dip and BA in Bible and

Theology and currently he is a graduate psychology student in Vancouver, Canada. You

can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The story of Chilean miners - A lesson for Southern Sudan

 

Chilean-miner-rescue-006(Winnipeg) - Like many in the world, I watched the first and the last trapped miner lifted to the earth surface. The heroic Chilean miners rescue has sent a rare level of joy and celebration across the globe. While the watchful glare of international media sensationalized the rescue effort, the Chilean people led by their president who took full command of the rescue operation, demonstrated what has become a once in a lifetime tragedy-turned-blessing story to all humanity. In a world filled with human tragedies caused by accidents, plane crashes, tsunamis, hurricanes, terrorism, earthquakes, epidemics etc – not often do we hear of such magnitude of success.

The 33 men that were trapped 700 metres below the earth surface had the luck of their life yet. Their lives didn’t become theirs, or their families’. Backed by the Chilean people, the courageous president took the responsibility over his shoulders to ensure that the deep-earth stranded miners were safely rescued. Some might argue that President Pinera took the advantage of intense world media coverage for political purpose to ensure that his rating soar to the roof. In any event, he did what Chileans and the world expected him to do – he gave his all for the lives of 33 stranded miners.

The heroes of this whole drama have been rightly applauded but one of the unsung heroes has had very little media mention. That first rescuer who emerged from the rescue capsule to the cheers of stranded miners fits what brevity and courage means.

Anything could have happened when he was down there. His life could have been in danger too if the rescue effort had failed. But, how can he not do it considering that their whole nation was behind him!

Besides the books, movies, documentaries and TV shows that are going to be borne out of this extraordinary rescue effort, what struck me the most is how precious and valueless the Chilean government hold the lives of her citizens. The Chilean government almost bankrupted their country’s economy to save the lives of 33 men.

They made the cuts in all sectors to make sure that the miners were rescued.  At the end of the rescue operation, the Chilean president claimed that what they accomplished in Chile could not be done in many parts of the world. Any country in the world would have access to the resources Chile had. But, this brutally honest claim touched me and those from the implied parts of the world.

Can this show of support and relentlessness ever be replicated by any government in Africa or Sudan in particular? From the atmosphere where politicians invoke civilians’ emotions to cause countless loss of innocent lives, does this story hold any significance? These and many other questions came to my mind while I was watching the trapped Chilean miners being lifted to safety. If this had happened in Africa the most likely response from the government of the day would be to cover it up as much as possible and to let the families deal with their losses however they like it. Our leaders, current and aspiring, have to take note of what Chile has done. Africans and Sudanese need to see the time when their leaders will demonstrate to their fellow countrymen and women that their well being is the number one priority of their governments.  What has been happening in Sudan is absolutely contrary to this exemplary act of government responsibility. Our government needs to recognize that it is their responsibility to respond to all kinds of misfortune that befall any family or community whether accidental or incidental. How many times has anybody seen our president issue a statement from a disaster zone?

It is equally a government responsibility to make sure that the security, external or internal, of her citizens is assured. A government’s representative to Canada recently shamelessly claimed in Winnipeg that insecurity in Southern Sudan is “isolated and contained”.  Or he needs somebody to remind him that insecurity in Jonglei State did not start with George Athor?

I recon that acceptance of reality is the first step towards achieving a meaningful solution. Sudanese or South Sudanese for that matter need to see their leaders demonstrate that the lives of their fellow citizens are a priority.

The story of Chilean miners rescue made Chileans and the world proud. It brought Chileans together. South Sudanese need a story of similar significance that will make them proud as a nation should the referendum materialize.

*The author can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southern Sudan: Time for referendum, not time to tackle land disputes

(Kampala) - Land conflict has been one of the challenging and burning issues during the interim era since the signing of the CPA in southern Sudan and the Sudan in General. This ranges from as large as the claims by the Misiriya Arabs on the Ngok Dinkas’ land in Abyei region to the minor, but disturbing ones of Ma’di on Acholi’s among others. Worse still is the extensions of borders by our neigbouring countries into our territories as evidenced by Ugandans settling and cultivating right into the land within Pajok payam in Magwi County, Turkana in the side of Kenya into that one of the Toposa of Kapoeta East County, Eastern Equatoria state.

Another case in point is the wrangle between the Kuku of Kajokeji County, Central Equatoria and Ma’di of Moyo district of Uganda. These are just a few to mention of the numerous claims and counter claims on lands in southern Sudan. In my own view, and as many of you would agree, this is not the right time to tackle this important point as we are preparing for the most important one – the south Sudan Referendum is just around the corner. We must therefore resist any attempt to divert our attention and that one of the international community from the referendum issue. Having said that, I would give this suggestion as the most viable mechanism in solving internal land wrangles among southern Sudanese communities which should be our next target after the referendum;

First of all, the CPA has been very clear on the land issue as a sub-section within the wealth sharing chapter. Its key points I would want to base my proposal on are the consideration of customary laws and practices and local heritage. This to me is the most important part of the section that would solve most if not all of the internal land claims among southern Sudanese communities. Notice should be taken of the above, as not only being local mechanism, but customary laws being one of the pillars of international laws as defined by Article 38 (1), (b) of the statute of the International Court of Justice. Let begin with the customary practices: among most African communities and southern Sudanese for that matter, land is one most important asset owned both by the livings and the deads (the living deads or ancestral spirits). These two categories of land owners have equal responsibilities to protect the land on which their survival lies from any person, group of persons or the force that be who wants to grab it.

Whereas the livings benefit directly by settling, cultivating among others on the land, the living deads benefit through sacrifices offered to them by the livings, but also by using the land as their homes in the forms of graveyards, mountains, big trees, streams and rivers among others. Local practices which I think can be derived from customary laws and practices as stipulated in the CPA involved here are therefore, landlordism where every clan has a land lord/lady in charge of the affairs of the land. These individuals are in charge of offering sacrifices to the living deads who in this case are the co-owners of the land, performing traditional rituals as per the particular custom, blessing the land, but also cursing it, and mediating between the livings and the deads as regards the management of the land. How this can be a solution The different clans of the different tribes have their land lords or land ladies; each tribe claiming for the piece of land would then be asked to bring forth their land lords/ladies to present their case through their customary practice such as offering sacrifices to their ancestral spirits or demanding the latter to either bless or curse whoever is laying false claims on the land.

Through this, I tell you, the true owner of the land will emerge since the spirits are just and merciless on pretenders i.e. they are prepared to harshly punish the side or party that might try to falsely acquire the land that they don’t have ancestral right to it. The punishments can be in the forms of serious outbreak of mysterious epidemic diseases, unproductivity of the land due to prolong drought or flood and some natural disasters among the tribe or community that is trying to lay false claims. The second point mentioned is the local heritages: these are very simple to be understood by many. Among the local heritages could be origin and meanings of names of places, mountains, valleys and rivers or streams in a particular land. Whereby, a tribe or group claiming ownership of a land should have all the above associated with them or their community. For instance, if the name is called Owiny ki Bul or Opari, the tribe claiming it should be able to associate the name, its origin and meaning with their tribe. If such a tribe can’t do that then there is no ground for their claims as based on the local heritage principle stipulated in the CPA.

Why this is the best option A number of reasons could point to this option of settling land wrangle as the best one: whereas the human beings might accept forged and falsified documents and information, this mechanism does not entertain such since the spirits have the power to see through false documents and punish those involve accordingly, It does not allow for bribery or political pressure from any group as the ancestral spirits do not take offering from any person or group they are not ancestors to, it creates harmony among the different communities and leaders since they will not need the use of force to determine the rightful owner of the land, political leaders will be release from the blames of supporting any of the party in conflict since this will be judgment of the spirits facilitated by the traditional leaders of the two communities; civil society members and other non political stakeholders like what happened with Alobo of UNMIS Torit will not have to abuse their offices to support a particular community; and above all, this method will allow for a compromise in that the tribe that the land does not belong to them can still be allowed to benefit from it through cultivations and settlement on the condition that they recognize the true owners of the land who will in turn through their land lords bless them to enjoy full benefits of the land.

*The writer is a southern Sudanese pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies in Makerere University. Can be reached through the email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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