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Useful Notes / South Sudan

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South Sudan is an East African country and the newest country in the 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.)


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 is still ongoing, seemingly with no end in sight, has killed nearly 400,000 people, displaced more than 2 million, and caused one of the worst refugee crises in the world (over 1.5 million people have fled the country, mostly to neighboring Uganda). The war has 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).


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.

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 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.


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