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Useful Notes / South Sudan

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Can Juba-lieve it?

South Sudan is an East African country and the newest country in the world as of 2024, gaining independence in 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.)

If you think independence is a happy ending for them, you'd be wrong. On December 13, 2013, just two years after the country seceded, the country is embroiled in yet another civil war, this time between the forces allied to President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar. The war killed nearly 400,000 people, displaced more than 2 million, caused one of the worst refugee crises in the world (over 1.5 million people have fled the country, mostly to neighboring Uganda), and basically overshadowed the country's historical enmity with Sudan, who has been normalizing relations with its former colony at a swift rate (contrary to what you might think, despite all said and done, Sudan is more than willing to recognize South Sudan's independence and both countries have embassies on each other's capitals). Eventually, in February 2020, Kiir and Machar reached an agreement to share power in a unity government, finally ending six years of the nightmarish war.

With literally no time to develop after decades of war, South Sudan is an extremely poor and underdeveloped country (its GDP per capita and HDI are far less than Sudan's), with very little infrastructure, and a massive health crisis (extreme rates of infant mortality and diseases that have long since disappeared in western and even most African countries). The consequences of decades of neglect, violence and exploitation from the north have also led to a lack of schools. On top of that, the country is landlocked, so it needs a third country for it to export goods and oil.

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. The South Sudanese speak mostly Eastern Sudanic languages like Bari, Dinka, and Nuer (part of the proposed Nilo-Saharan family, although the conjecture is controversial) with a few Niger-Congo languages mixed in, while English is the sole official language. Due to being a part of an Arab country until recently, Arabic is still widely spoken as a lingua franca, especially among the educated class.

Media set in South Sudan:

  • Machine Gun Preacher. A biographic movie about a retired motor gang member turned into constructor in this region before its 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.
  • In the 2018 movie China Peacekeeping Forces, the situation is heavily based off of South Sudan and the Chinese UN detachment in the country. The movie barely even tries to hide it, setting the story in Tuba, South Cudan.

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.

The South Sudanese national anthem

Oh God
We praise and glorify You
For Your grace on South Sudan,
Land of great abundance
Uphold us united in peace and harmony.

Oh Motherland
We rise raising flag with the guiding star
And singing songs of freedom with joy;
For justice, liberty and prosperity
Shall forever more reign!

Oh great patriots
Let us stand up in silence and respect,
Saluting our martyrs whose blood
Cemented our national foundation,
We vow to protect our nation.

Oh God, bless South Sudan!

  • Federal presidential constitutional republic
    • President: Salva Kiir Mayardit
    • First Vice President: Riek Machar
    • Second Vice President: James Wani Igga
    • Third Vice President: Taban Deng Gai
    • Fourth Vice President: Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior
    • Fifth Vice President: Hussein Abdelbagi

  • Capital and largest city: Juba
  • Population: 12,778,250
  • Area: 644,329 km
(248,777 sq mi) (41st)
  • Currency: South Sudanese pound (SSĀ£) (SSP)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: SS
  • Country calling code: 211
  • Highest point: Kinyeti (3187 m/10,456 ft) (53rd)
  • Lowest point: White Nile (350 m/1,148 ft) (69th)