Young Artists Advocate for Peace in South Sudan

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Using poetry, music and graffiti, artists and musicians across South Sudan are putting in commendable effort to promote peace and unity in their nation.

The movement, AnaTaban, which means “I am tired” in Arabic, is doing everything possible to express their feelings about failed promises and suppression of independent voices by calling for unity among the youth through methods in which others can relate to some of which are rap music, poetry and videos.

“As South Sudanese we are branded to be violent people but we are being unconventional in a very intentional way. We have seen conventional activism failing. If it is for our country, we might as well get the information out. It doesn’t really matter how, as long as we are not hurting anyone in the process,” said poet Ayak Chol Deng Alak, 32, who set up AnaTaban with others in 2016.

Alak was born in an Ethiopian refugee camp. She is now a doctor and a published poet in South Sudan.

Another founding member of AnaTaban, Manasseh Mathiang, who is a musician believes it is important to engage young people in the drive to make the country a better place in the future. “The youth of South Sudan for so long have not had the opportunity or the platform to speak and to express themselves, we’ve got to let the youth know they have the power – they have power to speak and they have power to change the narrative … We’d like to see AnaTaban in all the states in South Sudan,” he said.