8th August 2020
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On Mandela Day, S.Sudanese youth urged to emulate peace icon

Author: Charles Wote, Garang Abraham | Published: Sunday, July 19, 2020

Some young people used Nelson Mandela Day to clean streets and hospitals in Juba. Photo: Tarir Makoi/Facebook.

The Chairperson of the South Sudan National Youth Union has appealed to young people to emulate former South African President Nelson Mandela as the world celebrates his legacy.

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid political leader and philanthropist who served as the first black president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

During his lifetime, Mandela spoke out against racial discrimination and called for justice, freedom, reconciliation, and human rights.

He also advocated for fighting poverty, encouraged peace-building and democracy.

In November 2009, the UN declared 18 July, Nelson Mandela International Day as a global call to action under the premise that everyone has the power to make an impact on the planet.

Speaking on the occasion to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day in Juba on Saturday, the  National Youth Union Chairperson — Gola Boyoi said it was time South Sudanese youth fight poverty and injustices.

He called on young people to embrace the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.

“When we are actually celebrating Mandela Day, we need to make an impact for vulnerable people; we need to fight poverty, injustice and to make sure that we embrace peace and unity and reconciliation because we all know that we came from war and now we are in peace and we need to make sure that we forgive one another,” the youth leader told his fellow young people.

“One thing we can learn from the late Nelson Mandela is the spirit of forgiveness and that is what I want to urge the youth of South Sudan to learn how to forgive. We came from war and we need reconciliation and forgiveness.”

Meanwhile, a grandson to the late peace icon said the future of South Sudan may remain compromised if political leaders continue to distribute resources based on ethnic lines.

According to Siyabulela Mandela who works as South Sudan’s Team Leader for Journalists for Human Rights, equitable distribution of resources can fix existing ethnic divisions.

“One of the things the government of South Sudan needs to prioritize is an agenda to unite the people of South Sudan,” Siyabulela told Eye Radio on Saturday.

He warned that “if South Sudan continues in a path where the ethnicity or ethnic politics characterized how the resources of this country are distributed, this country’s future is going to be compromised.”

“What Nelson Mandela did in South Africa was to unit all tribes under one tribe and he advanced an agenda that says there is strength in our diversity,” Siyabulela emphasized.

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