Building South Sudan is our communal responsibility


Do not break down our nation,” writes Ability Chol Nyok in this piece. “As communities, we should rebuke our children for failure. It’s irresponsible to celebrate them before they deliver. It’s a disgrace to embrace them when they continue to fail us.

Atlanta, Georgia – “It takes a village to raise a child.” This African quotation is true in every aspect of life. Therefore, let me turn it around. It takes communities to raise a respected nation. The great Confucius once said “If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” It’s our collective responsibility as individuals, communities, and leaders to teach South Sudanese values that build a cohesive nation if we think in terms of 100 years. If we are to build a cohesive South Sudan in the 21st century, we must promote a governmental morality by emphasizing personal and communal morality, pursuit of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

I hope I someday become a minister, but I forewarn my community not to organize an event in my honor before I execute my assignment. It soothes my heart better when my achievements not my appointment is celebrated. Of course, I’m proud of where I come from. I wish to succeed in life for I want to represent my community at the highest pinnacle of life. I’m indebted to this community for it raises me in perspectives of seeing the world. However, when I become a minister or president for that matter, I do not want my community to honor me. I want to honor my community. I would want to make my community proud if I loyally, constitutionally, judiciously, and liberally serve the Republic of South Sudan. The honor and respect would be accorded to the community through my service. This would speak into the nature of my community well, and I would then be very confident to call myself its son. This hypothesis, I assume is true of everyone who aspires to serve in South Sudan.

My note expresses my world-weariness with what has become a tradition in South Sudan-community celebration in honor of public appointees or officials. It is extraordinarily exciting to be loved by a community, but like failure is ascribed to an individual, success is an individual achievement not community’s. Anyone who wins the president’s favor by being appointed to higher position in our nation achieved that individual’s success. In communal societies like ours, people set goals to fulfill the communities’ expectation, but pretty much, most people aimed higher to authenticate individual’s capabilities. If this hard work later pays off, a community has every reason to show off for their child’s accomplishment through acknowledgement. It’s the very reason I think we should give our children time to set goals for South Sudan, and deliver in order to bring honor home. In contrast, communities celebrate too early, which lead me to believe that a lot is wrong when public officials are publicly celebrated by their respective communities just because they are appointed to serve a nation, and I have the following observations to share.

First, the act defeats the purpose of becoming a public servant, and promotes a purpose of becoming a community’s loyalist. A true example of this does not need a recollection. As I write, we live with it now here in South Sudan. Once a community holds a celebration in honor of their child, that child inclines to a temptation of compensation. He/she could not wait for the celebration to be over. Her/his first impression would be to pay back the community. Once the federal work begins, most job opportunities are doled out to relatives and community members, entrenching patronage.

This now becomes loyalty to a community not the nation. The minister immediately forgets the obligations to improve public institutions and public services by offering jobs to unqualified individuals of her/his community instead of hiring the right talents for the job. He/she abandons the call to serve the nation of South Sudan and focuses on the glorification of her/his community. Time and time again, communities celebrate these children for making it to the head of a ministry or military. This tradition is now espoused by many communities. In my view, celebration in honor of public officials for their national office by a community is nothing but self-identification, go look out for your community. This propensity humiliates my new quote “It takes communities to raise a respected nation.” It’s deplorable, it’s immoral, and it kills the spirit of nationalism. Second, it has created competition among the communities of South Sudan. Every community wants to be represented even though some of our communities at this time do not have individuals who are qualified enough to hold a national ministry. The oath of every president is to, despite the consequences, pull together the best minds in a nation to serve a nation. This notion creates animosity in South Sudan.

Individuals who are appointed by the president allow their minds to be corrupted by their communities, and hence embark on malpractices to serve self interest and community’s. Envious of the fact that they won’t be served well without their child in a national ministry, communities whom none is appointed to a national ministry become enemies of our nation. They hate the president and South Sudan. They encourage their children to revolt against our nation because they do not have a reason to celebrate the survival of our institution. Personally, I do not blame them. Eight years since semi-autonomy and independence, the Republic of South Sudan progresses less, and some public officials get richer. Our public officials for some reasons are not productive. They fail to meet public expectations every day. So communities, whom nobody is at the national level for lack of qualifications, question the qualifications and integrity of those who are elected supposedly for being qualified to serve South Sudanese from all walks of life without prejudice. I hope you take my advice. There is more room to improve. Do not break down our nation. As communities, we should rebuke our children for failure. It’s irresponsible to celebrate them before they deliver. It’s a disgrace to embrace them when they continue to fail us. It’s Godly when we denounce them for malpractices and applaud them for great service to South Sudan. Building our nation requires patience and national loyalty. We need to exercise patience to understand and recover the nature of our politics because South Sudan is greater than our individual interests.

I, for several reasons, think in terms of eternity when it comes to survival of the Republic South Sudan. I believe there are many of you out there with my philosophy.

Dear comrades, let’s teach our people values that endorse a creation of a single identity by doing away with unnecessary community celebrations for public figures, who are empirically national servants. If we do that, we will build a nation without community borders, and our South Sudan will grow recognition worldwide.

Ability Chol Nyok is a concerned South Sudanese. He is reachable at

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