Useful Notes / South Sudan

South Sudan is an East African country and the newest country in Africa- as well as the entire world- as of 2011. As one might expect, it broke off from the country of Sudan, following a long civil war and a vote in which over 95% of the people voted to split off. The reasons for the civil war and split are ethnic, religious, and economic; Sudan is mostly Arab and Muslim, while South Sudan is mostly non-Arab and Christian.note  Furthermore, most of the oil in Sudan was located in the South, without which the government of Sudan would have a very hard time operating. Currently, there is an agreement to share the oil revenues between South Sudan (which is where the oil itself is located) and with Sudan (which has the pipelines which transport the petroleum to a port in their territory.)

Currently, South Sudan is underdeveloped, with very little infrastructure, a massive health crisis (extreme rates of infant mortality and diseases that have long since disappeared in western and even most African countries), and continuing instability in the border with Sudan to the north. The consequences of decades of neglect, violence and exploitation from the north have also led to a lack of schools. To top that off, the country is landlocked and dependent on Sudanese infrastructure to export oil, but this may change. There have been plans to build a second pipeline to transport South Sudan's petroleum through predominately Christian East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, etc) to a port on the Indian Ocean, instead of the Sudanese ports on the Red Sea. Since South Sudan is landlocked, it needs help from other countries to export its petroleum.

Statistics are hard to come by, but it was believed that until a couple of decades ago, the region that would become South Sudan overwhelmingly followed indigenous African religions, but at present it is largely Christian. In any event, the independence of South Sudan means the Sudanese government has lost about a third of its country, and most of the oil revenue. For the wider Arab Islamic world, it means an area the size of France is no longer Arab or Muslim territory. Considering the ongoing rebellion in Darfur (a Muslim but not Arab region in the western part of the country, not South Sudan), the prospects for the government in Khartoum are not looking very good.

The South Sudanese speak many African languages (mostly from the Nilo-Saharan family, but with a few Niger-Congo languages mixed in), but historically used English and Arabic for business. With the secession from Sudan in the north, the government has plans to change the official language used to English only, and there are plans to move the capital from Juba to another city, but as of this writing, nothing is final.

The South Sudanese flag
The flag is almost identical to that of Kenya but with the triangle found in that of Sudan. The black, red and green stripes symbolize the Africans, the blood of the fallen throughout South Sudan's long history of conflict, and the country's natural bounty, respectively; the white fimbriations stand for peace. At the hoist (left) side is a triangle, colored blue to symbolize the Nile River, and within it is the yellow star of unity.

Media set in South Sudan:

  • Machine Gun Preacher. A biographic movie about a retired motor gang member turned into constructor in this region before it eventual separation. This film also depict John Garrang, the military commander of South Sudan
  • Episode 5 of SEAL Team is set in Juba as Bravo Team evacuates American personnel from the U.S. embassy in the face of massive city-wide riots.