On the Day of the African Child, girl child poet Muanda Jadalla shared her unfortunate experience of growing up in Juba, South Sudan.
When South Sudan finally gained its independence in 2011, many were excited about the bright future of the world’s newest country.
However, instead of much jubilation and the breaking of new ground, the embattled country has fallen victim to infighting led by the nation’s two top leaders: President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.
Since then a number of peace deals have been signed by the two leaders, but with each one being broken, the reality of many South Sudanese is more bloodshed and instability.
In June, just about the time when Jadalla delivered her poem, more than 40 people were slaughtered in Waru.
And just last week, after leaders had recently made a public showing of solidarity, President Kiir supplanted Machar with Taban Deng Gai, ensuring that even more fighting is likely in the cards for the already unstable country.
With this backdrop clearly in mind, Jadalla began her poem by saying with a broken voice, “I am [a] troubled African child. I am [a] troubled South Sudanese child….”<
Jadalla then explains her struggles as a child, a girl child in her homeland:
[I want] to be free from exploitation, free from abuse…[and have] rights to fair treatment. As a child of Africa, as a child of South Sudan, I am a troubled African child, a troubled South Sudanese child.
Living in a world of obstacles. Overshadowed with poverty, overshadowed with war. Orphaned as I am. Swept with confusion. Struggling for betterment, but poverty won’t let me free….”
Her poem makes one wonder exactly when South Sudan’s leaders will stop the selfishness, as South Sudanese model Nykor Paul described it, and instead serve their people as their offices demands.
Watch Jadalla above.