- South Sudan
In 2013, Kang was a student in Rumbek, a city in the center of South Sudan, when conflict broke out.
“I knew that there was a big political meeting taking place in Juba on 15th December 2013. I thought this was just politics as usual but we all started receiving calls from Juba the next day saying that fighting had started.
I realised that the situation had changed from political to tribal, as people were being killed based on their ethnic group. I was very surprised.
We started to feel the effects when we went to class on Monday. There was a lot of tension and people were having discussions in tribal groups. Majority of the students in my University are from the Dinka community, so a lot of animosity was directed towards the Nuer students. I am a Nuer. It was not a comfortable environment to learn.
When we returned home, we were confronted by a group of women who blamed us for the current situation. Thankfully, another Dinka woman who worked nearby defended us. She said that it doesn’t matter where we were from, that we were just students.
Many of our Dinka friends from the university came to visit and they always had words of encouragement. When we decided to start attending classes again, the same friends came and escorted us to the university in case anything happened. The University Dean and Student Union also visited and encouraged us to keep up our hope and faith.
I was very surprised by what happened. South Sudan has been at war for a while and I really thought that we had found peace. I just hope for peace and a return to normalcy so that I can finish school and continue with my life. I hope that one day we refer to ourselves as nationals, not tribes, because South Sudan is more than just tribes.”
Photo: Mackenzie Knowles Coursin/Oxfam
Following decades of fighting, South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011. There was high expectation for growth and many believed they would not see another conflict in the country they fought so hard and so long for. But on December 15, 2013, a conflict erupted in Juba, the capital. It quickly became a national, political and ethnic crisis.
Over two million had to flee from their homes. Today, according to the United Nations, there are still over 1.6 million internally displaced people in the country.
Follow Oxfam in South Sudan @OxfamSouthSudan