National, News

Jonglei harmonizes youth through music, comedy

By Charles K Mark


Jonglei state, in partnership with the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), organized an arts festival in Bor, for peace.

The two-day event by the state Ministry of Peace Building and the Ministry of Culture, youth, and Sports with support from UNHCR featured musician and comedians.

Aiming to engage the youth and promote peace, the event, on Friday, attracted thousands of youth, women, and girls at the state secretariat.

Renowned Juba-based talented artists and comedians took the podium to pioneer approaches to promote peace.

The youths in Jongei and Greater Pibor Administrative Areas were adequately mobilized, as the targeted audience to receive the peace messages.

One vibrant talent, John Aguek, alias John Frog, the “Action and Energy” hitmaker who performed at the festival, said music is a unifying element that the youth cannot ignore when it comes to peace campaigns.

“The music is the message. It’s part of life. That’s why, on every occasion, you see music. So this is music for peace,” said John Frog.

He stated that other countries are developing well and progressing with the energy injected by the youth.

The artist is urging the youth to be drivers and pioneers of peace in their respective communities since they are the very people manipulated to perpetrate insecurity that causes instability.

“I urged them to come together and use music to raise more voices. Let our music grow. Now many of us are locked in Juba and can’t freely move to the state because of the blockage of roads,” John Frog appealed.

The Action Energy hitmaker also appealed to the government to clear up roads to make it easier for youths to interact with other youths in other settled and peaceful regions.

A popular standup comedian, Kuech Deng Atem, who goes by his stage name ‘Wokil Jesh Commando’, took the local crown by storm when he rocked the stage with his usual jokes in Dinka and Army accents.

Comedian Wokil welcomed the state initiative of using arts and music to mobilize youth with the intention of selling ideas of peace and cohesion among them.

“It is an amazing event, and I am very happy to be part of it. It is so amazing seeing Dinka, Nuer, Shiluk, Anyuak, and many other tribes in Jonglei coming together to celebrate peace,” the comedian expressed.

Mr. Wokil wished that the same activity be replicated in the rest of the other states of South Sudan to engage more youth in a similar approach.

The United Nations’ Humanitarian Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) head of field office for Jonglei and Greater Pibor, Viola Makema, explained why the UN had an interest in supporting the initiative.

She shared that there has been a circle of violence between the youth from the Pibor Administrative Area and their Jonglei counterparts.

“In Jonglei and Greater Pibor, we have a number of opportunities, but we are also challenged by inter-communal violence, which is encompassed by child abduction and cattle raids,” Makema revealed.

She said that through the Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience Trust Fund (RSRTF), the UNHCR believes that mobilizing youth and imparting peace messages is easier with edutainment, which is education through entertainment.

“Through the music and wrestling to which the youth are mostly attracted, we believe that we will be able to work together with them to bring peace,” she hinted.

Jonglei State Minister of Peace Building, Hon. Malual Gabriel Kon, said music is a cultural and traditional activity that has been used as a conduit for reconciliation since ancient generations.

He said it was used as a hook to easily catch the youth to come in big numbers to listen to messages of peace and unity.

“I am calling upon the youths to find to themselves other unharmful activities such as music that can unite the communities instead of violence,” he added. “Music speaks words of peace.”

Minister Kon noted that most of the artists and comedians that they took to Bor are those that are most familiar to the local communities.

“For us to send a message to them, we had to bring an artist that could relate to them,” Malual said.

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