By Charles K Mark
Peace partners have taken to utilize various forms of artistic expression and cultural events to spread messages of unity and harmony throughout the country.
Peace events were held in different parts of the country over the weekend including one in Western Equatoria state where people from different walks of life converged in cross-cultural exchanges.
Such an event brings cross-cultural understanding to create a platform for dialogue and reconciliation.
Through music, dance and traditional performances, the peace partners are fostering a sense togetherness to pave a way for harmonious and prosperous future for South Sudan.
Over the weekend, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) engaged about nine ethnic groups to participate in a cultural gala in the Western Equatoria State capital, Yambio town.
The participants agreed that peace sometimes begins with a multicultural gathering.
Representatives of the nine groups residing in the area showcased and had a great unifying time through singing, dancing, and a myriad of musical instruments.
“We don’t want to hear gunshots anymore; these tunes are better. We are here to express joy and togetherness,” James Amabele, a youth leader, expressed.
UNMISS reported that such events demonstrate that culture can be trusted to be the cradle for peace and unity in diversity.
The use of whistles, horns, drums, and xylophones were some of the items that created a mixed soundtrack of robust and dance-inducing rhythms that brought revelers together as one.
“You can call this a peace party because that is the feeling we are celebrating here,” said Helena Mading, one of the dancers.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Dukundane, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission, was pleased with the accomplishment.
“People must begin to understand that their diversity, when coupled with a will to also recognize everything they have in common, is a real strength. I think we are observing a step being taken in that direction right now,” he said.
A state government representative, John Baryona Furlla, proved that the intercultural Gala could be used to enhance and sustain peace efforts.
“Today we are saying no to tribalism and no to divisions. We are embracing unity and saying yes to peace.”
In April of this year, Western Equatorial State Governor Alfred Futuyo Karaba promised to finish renovating the Yambio Freedom Square shelter.
He also promised to kick off the rehabilitation of Gbudue Stadium to help boost sporting and cultural activities in the state.
Last week in Jonglei State capital, Bor, a similar festival was also organized with the aim of promoting peace and unity.
Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience Trust Fund (RSRTF) in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) offered financial support for the event.
The event also featured various arts and cultural events, including music performances and comedy, all aimed at sending messages of peace and reconciliation.