Happy Independence, South Sudan!

The Republic of South Sudan officially becomes independent today, the result of a referendum held exactly six months ago in which Southerners voted overwhelmingly to secede from North Sudan. Congratulations to the people of the world’s newest country – whatever challenges lie ahead, you have fought long and hard for this achievement, and I hope you enjoy this day to the fullest extent.

Please treat this as an open thread, and if you are tracking events in Sudan on Twitter, I suggest following @glcarlstrom, @bechamilton, @wasilalitaha, @maggiefick, @rovingbandit, @SudaneseThinker, and @simsimt for coverage, along with a host of others.

From the US side, Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, and other diplomats are set to attend. It will be interesting to see who else attends – and what Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, who is also scheduled to be there, has to say to his former countrymen. It will also be interesting to see who recognizes South Sudan, and in what order.

Please post your reactions in the comments, and I’ll update with any critical information.

6 thoughts on “Happy Independence, South Sudan!

  1. I know that English is widely spoken in Sudan and South Sudan. I find it disconcerting (and very clever in a sense) that it is chosen as the official language. I have been trying to find what other ‘native’ languages of South Sudan are declared official languages, but all I’ve found is that English is the only official one. As a linguist, I find it a major, consequential choice (if the info I read is correct). Do you know of anyone who has written about this issue? Ta.

  2. Hi Nadia,
    The new constitution recognises English as the working language of government and education, but not the official language – the constitution says (at 6.1, available here: http://www.pachodo.org/attachments/2074_The%20Transitional%20Constitution%20of%20the%20Republic%20of%20South%20Sudan%202011.pdf) that “All indigenous languages of South Sudan are national languages and shall be respected, developed and promoted.”
    The deletion of Arabic as a language of government is a political move, but also potentially a future practical one – as students from Juba University in Khartoum return with Khartoum, rather than Juba, Arabic (which is really different, and takes time to adjust to), and as many expatriates from East Africa and further abroad, Southern Sudanese in the diaspora and international agencies come back or continue to work in the South.
    I write a bit bout the constitutions here – http://internallydisplaced.wordpress.com.
    I hope this helps!

  3. Many thanks for the clarification Nicki, and thank you for the links! I found it a very interesting move as regards to dealing with ‘arabisation’ so to speak. See you again on your blog 🙂

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