Unity in diversity as locals and peacekeepers in Rumbek feature in fashion show and cultural displays
LAKES - Celebrate unity in diversity, they said, and that’s what happened in Rumbek, where the United Nations Mission in South Sudan organized a cultural happening featuring a fashion show, songs and dance performances and an exhibition of handicraft. To keep with tradition, a few speeches were thrown into the mix as well.
Amidst all the glitter and glamour, female artists also generated much-welcomed income at the event.
“Some of our art works were bought by staff working for the UN Mission and international non-governmental organizations. In this way, we the women could make some money to help raise their children,” said Agum Joseph, Chairperson of the Women’s Association in Lakes State, adding that some of the artistic women will have work to do since demand was far bigger than supply.
More than 100 women gathered at Akon Buoi Women Centre to display their work and to showcase a tantalizing variety of dresses and other clothes. Both locals and Nepalese peacekeepers treated those in attendance to traditional dancing and singing, with everyone having a good time. Then came the speeches.
“I want you to be preaching peace messages to your children at home. Let them grow up in a conducive environment, free of hatred and conflict, to build a cohesive society where everyone feels at home,” said Angelina Ding Mario, the state’s Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, adding that the prevailing peace in Lakes State has made it possible for women to take up their cultural activities again.
This peace dividend was mentioned by William Koji Kirjok, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, as well.
“Now there is peace for all of us to enjoy, and we must make the most of it. We need to take stock of what went wrong earlier and make adjustments to continue to improve,” he said, singling out the harmful cultural practice of early and/or forced marriages as one that must come to an end, sooner rather than later.
The quest for lasting peace in Lakes and the rest of South Sudan can, of course, count on the peacekeeping mission’s support.
“UNMISS will stand with you in building sustainable peace. South Sudan is a country with rich cultures, and it is the role of leaders to move it forward, into a brighter future with peace and love among communities,” said David Manzi, one of the mission’s representatives at the joyous happening.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare in collaboration with UNMISS.