The youngest nation in the world was the result of the longest civil war the African continent has ever known. The war between Northern and Southern Sudan killed two million and displaced another 4 million people. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement - signed in 2005 - was the first contraction of the birth of a new republic (9 july 2011). The newborn was named South Sudan and its population recognized Salva Kiir Mayardit as their father.  

Although the birth happened peaceful, the baby showed a variety of serious symptoms like food shortages, epidemical outbreaks, high health needs with low coverage, poor infrastructure, poor education, flooding, border tensions and internal conflicts. In order for the nation not to die before the age of 5 - as many of its children - a serious revalidation was needed. Unfortunately the South Sudanese weren't given that prosperity.   

The mistrust and animosity between President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar which pre-existed independence, worsened. Historical grievances and ethnic bias came to characterize this mistrust. The situation escalated to full blown clashes in December 2013. As history repeats itself, the new civil war displaced another time a couple of million and killed tens of thousands of people. 

These photos were taken during the period of the first year of independence and also included pictures of this celebration in a little town called Gogrial where MSF runs a hospital. A few months later the new civil war broke out.

In Februari 2020 president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar signed an agreement to share power and form a unity government in South Sudan. After all precedent peace deals between the two men collapsed, I truly hope that this time it will stop the country’s bloody conflict that is going on for almost all the eight years since the world’s youngest nation gained independence.

Gogrial, Warrap State, South Sudan, 2012-2013

Currently in Belgium

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