The Youth of the South: No Longer Youthful and Useful but Made Useless and Used Less in the Rungs and Ranks of their Nation Building Ladder!

members of youth participates in the Youth for Separation campaign launch on 09/09/2010 at Dr. Garang’s Mausoleum. That time, there was no Greater-this-and-that kind of youth at campaigned for referendum separation alone. (Photo by the author).

From our household experience, not everything that looks new is useful and not everything that looks old is useless. Similarly, from our new nationhood experience, not everybody that looks youthful is useful and not everybody that looks youthless is useless. Why? It is a philosophical puzzle, which is muddled in a maze of culture, politics and corruption that needs genuine geniuses to unravel.

Frankly speaking, we are tired of being routinely appointed by our politicians (I call them poli-teachers) for the posts that we even all know are compulsorily coming in our Republic of Tomorrow: “Youth, you are the leaders of Tomorrow.” Another line, which is another lie from our leaders-cum-elders, the statement that ‘I personally hate like my back that I do not see’ — to borrow from Bor Dinka saying — also goes like this, “Youth, you are the backbone of this country”.

Again, another thing (the reason why) I hate even most is that the speakers, from the way we judge them, seem to ignore (or are they being ignorant?) of the arrival of the day ‘tomorrow’ and the definition of the word ‘backbone’. Brothers and sisters of my age, it is a fact well known by all of us that that day or time they call ‘Tomorrow’ is a day that remains on the other side of the night forever. So who are they to fool us that we are leaders of that day? None of ancestors from Adam down to them has ever seen the day called ‘tomorrow’. And so shall we not. And so shall our children and our children’s children not receive the day called ‘Tomorrow’.Of course, Today was the Tomorrow of Yesterday, so what are we being told to hold on for?

Similarly, why do they — call them the Brains or Stomachs of this country — know that we, youths, are their Backbones yet treat us like their bad bones? How can you intentionally neglect or break the bone at your back and you continue boasting of being a good walker or a good worker? This is all hypocrisy! By the way, the ‘how’ question of how our country is making the youth youthless, hence useless, needs another piece like this if you do not have those examples vivid in your mind’s eyes.

That aside, for that matter, the real subject matter as seen from the title means that there is no usefulness in our youthfulness if we begin to flow with or follow the examples of our uncles and brag around with the feathers of our fathers. If we abandon our own national capabilities and ignore our abundant natural abilities as fresh leaders of this country, both of today and tomorrow, then it is us to regret soon.

My whining solo here while the rest of my fellas are still staggering in their independence hangover 5 months after is no doomsaying nor disobedience stoking. I am tremendously appalled by the way some of our youth have begun to just dance to the tune of some political dunce and adapt to the tone of our tribalistic elders. It is by letting our big ones in the names of liberation demi-gods (infallible leaders) and community semi-gods (sacrosanct elders) devour raw all the mangoes of our ‘baby nation’ and reverse all our freedoms in an attempt to cling onto sweet seats of power that we are turning our future from boom to doom. And it is us to blame and regret if we squander the dividends of our independence just the way we did our CPA ones –not a single road was paved out of the capital towards a village by our own effort since 2005. Why? Corruption! As we wait with our hands folded now, soon, we shall just wail under political malnutrition like Kwashiorkor babies or calves denied of their mothers’ colostrum, that most nutritious first milk after birth.

Having pointed out that and others at the onset of our separation from the oppressive Old Sudan, I am worried about the negative influence of leaders or elders on the youth and the future of this nation. For instance, a few hours ago, I chanced to witness the Bahr al Ghazal Council of Elders led by Uncle Ambrose Riiny Thiik, doing their thing in Nyakuron Cultural Centre hall. So I did not complete the whole celebration of Independence on the 3rd day of December, 2011. Something was thinly veiled therein. As a new youth of the South, I do not like some tribal or regional elders-cum-leaders to award liberation medals and other national acolades to people of their choice on behalf of the national government and the public of the Republic as they are doing to Dr. John Garang and the rest of the selected heroes. I have no problem with that but the way it is being done in a trivial and tribal forum lacks a national quorum.

For example, the’history booklet’ they are authoritatively distributing to the unsuspecting public is stealing our history. Imagine a historical elder in the person of Justice Ambrose condoning the blatant lie in the book, whose copy I have now, that the SPLA/M war of liberation kicked off in Bahr al Ghazal, that is in Rumbek on May 13, 1983! And the most disgusting incident in it is that some of the authors of this book(let) were among the officers who mutinied in Malou barracks and rioting students in Rumbek on that date (13/05/1983) as juxtaposed to the Bor mutiny on May 16 that year. Really? Could it be that the 16-May anniversary is consecutively being postponed or deferred to later dates since 2005? This is a national abomination to our fallen heroes. And the tradedy is that none, especially the future of this nation, raised a hand or dropped a paragraph like this, in objection of that historical crime. So the ‘elders’ will think they are ever right, throughout,and, if not restrained, may even advance into creating more uglier things costly to this nation in the long run! Just wait and see, as the ‘Thiik Think Tank’ rewrite our history and shape our destiny.

Well, before I forget, our current Constitution stipulates that for any person to qualify for a head of this state (president), one must be from 40 to 75 years by age! So when you are 39, do not disturb them, please.

Besides all the political and social vices the current youths are enticed to indulge themselves in, my argument to augment the appeal is justified in this quotation from Angok Arthur Akuien Chol, new chairman of the Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal Youth that has just concluded its highly contested conference in Aweil ahead of another controversial Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal Community Leaders Council’s National Celebration of Independence now going on at Nyakuron Cultural Centre, Juba (December 3, 2011).

Reacting to the protests from the sidelined SPLM Youth League leaders from that conference, Angok said,“As a non-partisan youth initiative, we would like to condemn the acts of these enemies intending to disrupt our peaceful conference, and assured the visiting delegates of adequate security provision.”,40847.

I have no problem with the rests, including his competence as a new regional youth leader, but my worry is this. By copying the slogans and voice and the mentality of our war-traumatized elders now running the country, should we just label any person who expresses their opinion in a different way from the leader’s as ‘this enemy’? I mean, this culture of labelling the opposition a ‘national enemy’ smacks of our past behaviour and our future predicaments. I thought we would just come fresh from schools with a new language of peace so that we change our liberation warriors. I have an excuse for them because the common enemy made them adapt such a language. Mr. Chairman, now, how come you just copied and pasted such words of most destruction (WMD) normally used between Khartoum and Juba on your sane home brothers and sisters of the SPLM Youth League! That is why I think I have to refer these youths to my book’s preface again:

Amol Majak of Bor hugs with Mubarak Kuku of Nuba Mountains in Bor Freedom Square. Amol from the Koryom Team (comprising Mundari and Dinka) threw Mubarak of Muormuor (Nuba and Lotuko) in the SPLA’s 28th Anniversary of the Liberation Struggle (May 16) being celebrated in Bor on May 28, 2011, just before politics tore us apart with our brothers, the Nuba who are now in dillemma between the two independent states of Sudans. (Photo by the author: John Penn).

“Since it is inevitable to stop the idea whose timing has matured, I see it our moral duty in the Sudan to replace the swords of war with words of war, in order to displace wards of war with wards of wares. Yes, but yet, we must not be only drifting or sifting, but wholly lifting and shifting, with shrift and thrift, from words of war to war of words, as we forget the past and forge ahead past the present, through this favourite slogan: Aluta Continua— the struggle continues. Since Sudan has been suffering hard – but is now hardly recovering – from cancer of wars through ulcer of words, I, the expressively ulcerated (South) Sudanese, am suffering from cancer of words. That is why you will find this slogan not sung with anaemia but with leukaemia of words, totaling to about or above 77,000 in this poetic volume, just as many as in other writings of my rioting.” (This poetry book, ‘The Black Christ’s of Africa’, was written before we were named ‘South Sudan’).

Another request to make to my fellow youths of the South is that we should start inventing our own wheels to suit our own ways. Let us not just copy the old ways of doing things, which is especially the order of the day with our older generation of the day. This I call “leadership by eldership”. This is evidenced in the way many avuncular office bearers’ notion, the type I quoted in the first paragraphs, full of belittling words of suppressions such as ‘young man, leaders of tomorrow’…, name them.

For instance, I was pissed off the other week when one of the Ministries’ occupants, regardless of being younger than me in age but older than me in the body, asked me (in Dinka), “Raanthi, ye luel wude?” This means, “Young man, what are you saying?” I replied, “Nothing, Uncle, I am just idling around.” Good enough, he did not realize that I really meant ‘You’re just idling around here’.

In other development, one thing that still worries me is why the women are given a 25% affirmative action but the youth with nothing. I think the Government of South Sudan just assumes that the youths fall on either side of the gender in terms of power sharing. Un/fortunately, none of us who are not closely ‘fathered’, ‘mothered’, ‘uncled’ or ‘auntied’ in the government cannot dream of penetrating that well knit wall of nepotism, favouritism, tribalism which is blended with an old monarchical or African magi theory of ‘leadership by eldership’.

However, given the presence of the youth in the present government, one can give some credit to states like Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria for recognizing the youth in their governments. Funny enough, if there were a sacrifice to be made with a youth representative in the upper realms of the government, I think, Jonglei State would go to hell wholesale! Maybe let’s wait and see if Governor Kuol Manyang will have a baby-face among the new faces he is going to select among the old faces he is going to renew. As I am writing this article, Jonglei State has no government, pending new shuffling.

My speed of being ulcerated by such misdoings is being accelerated by the way our leaders-in-elders allow themselves to be fooled by the youths from neighbouring countries, who are not in any circumstance better than us in providing services to our new country. I felt like stabbed in the back when I found one of my former coursemates from Makerere busy providing consultancy to GOSS in Bor two years I ago. When I bumped into him, I asked, “OB (old boy), what are you doing here in my hometown. He said he was a consultant. “In what?” I asked. “Currichuram Development”, he croaked in his heavily Luganda-invaded English and smiled in a way that tells me something. Guess what it is. He very well knew from our Makerere notes that curriculum is a culture of the people and for the people, incorporated and glossed with modern knowledge, by the very people, to be taught in schools for the development of that particular people (that’s my own view point). So by what miracle will a young man from another peoples’ background come to develop a curriculum of another people?

To complete the whole picture of why and how the youths of the South is very youthful but not being used fully, just take a break and continue on another page of the same blog on this link entitled, ‘A Call to the Public and Parliament: Save us from Invertor Investors!’ by clicking:

However, don’t forget to pass through my usual poems here and find out why my last Recommendation is: let us be (Poem 123):

The Bride Tribe


Ours is a new tribe

Of scribes to describe

Our real fire drive

That makes us strive

Through the cloud of strife

With not our metal but mental knife.


We cherish our pride

Of being the new bride,

A generation born bright

With every tangible right.

Having paid our bloody price

To win and to pin up this noble prize,


We urge our senile tribe

Not to expose us to bribe

Our way of life with a dime.

Hither come our ripe time.

For in our current prime

Must we admit and omit all that is crime,


And commit our youthfulness

Into all that is usefulness.

In order to enjoy our fruitfulness,

The bride tribe needs truthfulness.

Tomorrow comes not in its fullness

Today must we explore and exploit our youthfulness.


Relevant Quote

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

St. Paul

1 Timothy 4: 12


The Youth of the South

The author and his Red Army colleagues preparing their meal in Omere Minors Camp (Eastern Equatoria) in 1994, the memory of which prompted this poem now quoted from the author’s second anthology, ‘The Jongley Jongleur: and 100 Pennets’ as shown at the left hand side with the title: ‘The Youth of the South’.


               This is an all-time youth

which never has been uncouth

even during pervasive revolution

that turned into persuasive evolution

in their time of historical metamorphosis

they withstood their formidable nemesis

and in pursuit for justice remain useful

pushing it to eternity yet youthful

which never have been uncouth

oh the youth of the South!


Poem 106


I’m used less


I grow illiterate

And thus become useless.

I enroll on the street,

Not because I am useless.

I get married too early

As my brother gets graduated,

And I thus become useless.

When I grow up and then down,

They in my umpteen shoes

Brand me as useless oldy,

But I’m just being youthless.

I’m useless because I’m used less.