Thousands in Kuajok attend peace concert celebrating 10 years of South Sudan’s independence

South Sudan 10 years independence day UNMISS United Nations Kuajok Warrap

After years of conflict and then, the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people in Kuajok, South Sudan, came together at a peace concert organized jointly by UNMISS and the state government to celebrate a decade of this young nation's independence on 9 July 2021. Photo by Peter Ring Ariik Kuol/UNMISS

13 Jul 2021

Thousands in Kuajok attend peace concert celebrating 10 years of South Sudan’s independence

Peter Ring Ariik Kuol

Jubilant music lovers from Kuajok braved the heat to attend a peace concert celebrating a decade of south Sudan’s independence from its northern neighbor, Sudan, on 9 July 2021, at the Kuajok Freedom Square.

Joyous fans were cheering, chanting, singing and dancing along in bright lights as a line-up of prominent local artists, including Ngong Longar, popularly known as John Kudusay, and Daniel Dinganyai whipped the crowd into a deafening frenzy of delight.

“It is hard for me to describe how excited I am, seeing such a multitude of fellow citizens, old friends and new, coming together to forge a common destiny of durable peace,” said Mr. Ding Ding, a resident of Kuajok town

The successful event was organized by the state government of Warrap and supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) under the theme, ‘Building Peace Together.’

It is in keeping with this spirit of harmony and a shared national identity that the Governor of Warrap, General Aleu Ayieny Aleu, who also showcased his dancing skills, urged all South Sudanese to rebuild their lives following years of untold suffering caused by intercommunal violence.

“We need to accept our differences and live together as one people, one nation. It is time we eschew intercommunal violence and build a future of durable peace,” said the Governor, while underlining that every citizen also needs assurances from the national government that the peace deal of 2018 will be fully implemented.

For Adut Deng, a resident of Kuajok, though, the evening was one where politics played second fiddle to the pervasive emotion of hope and joy.

“I am really very happy that we can come together like this – this is almost unbelievable, given all that we have been through in past years and also the COVID-19 pandemic. This evening epitomizes the true meaning of real freedom and independence,” said Adut, adding that instead of violence being the only way to settle disputes, state and national leaders should use dialogue as a means to resolve disagreements.

“If brothers disagree, that should not be viewed as a conduit for conflict but as an opportunity to make their issues heard,” she stated

Apart from the concert, there was a friendly football match between Aweil and Warrap teams that ended with a score of 1-0 in favour of the visting team from Aweil.