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UN-Supported Cultural Festival Unites South Sudanese Communities

South Sudanese audience react as comedian David Lodiong (not seen) imitates Pope Francis during his performance, at the Kilkilu Ana Comedy Show in Juba on February 9, 2023.   -  
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South Sudan

A multicultural gathering in Yambio, South Sudan, brought together several hundreds of local communities featuring representatives from nine ethic groups residing in the area. Demonstrating that culture can be trusted to be the cradle for peace and unity in diversity, was very much the objective when UNMISS and local partners, including the state’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, decided to organize the festival.

According to Mama Hellen Mading, one of the dancers, this is a symbol of unity and peace.

“[Whenever there is conflict] we are the one suffering as mothers and children. We really need peace. Let us dwell in peace with ourselves daily. We want our children to grow in good environment so that they can get education and take over from us as our future leaders.”

For James Amabele, resident, this is an event that young people had been eagerly waiting for.

“Such events will bring peace among communities and [in] South Sudan at large. This is what we had been eager for – we must be united, and if all goes well, then peace will prevail. This is peace by itself. We had been crying for peace and here we are in unity and peace; all tribes are united.”

For UNMISS, this is one step towards building durable and sustainable peace among communities who have experienced one crisis after the other.

According to Emmanuel Dukundane, Civil Affairs Officer, UNMISS:

“This function is to show our differences, our variety, our diversity in terms of culture, and the purpose is to be happy. And through that happiness we can promote social cohesion; we can know each other more, we can appreciate each other more, and forget about the past challenges.”

Whistles, vuvuzelas, drums, and xylophones were just some of the items used to create a mixed soundtrack of robust and dance-inducing rhythms that brought revelers together as one.

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