OpEd, Politics

South Sudan is too fast; please fasten your seat belts

South Sudan is too fast; please fasten your seat belts

It is so interesting to be in South Sudan especially when you are here in person. The country is running at a high speed and those on board can’t even tell where it is going. Crazy that nobody wants to be left behind even when the destination is unknown.

In South Sudan, it is hard to get a job and when you finally do, you will never keep it for a year. There will always be someone who knows better than you do and that person is going to be your replacement because he knows someone better than you do.

The truth is that Juba doesn’t like men or women who are too fast. If you don’t crash, it is going to cripple you and it is the same thing everywhere in South Sudan. Don’t think you are too slow because those who are ahead of you have not gone anywhere. They don’t know where they are going, but you want to get there faster even when you don’t know where you are heading to.

You have a lot of reasons not to sleep here because when you close your eyes even for a minute, you will be left behind. We are all running after something or from something and the process is both sad and funny. There is no joy in this chase and at the end of the day; you can’t really tell what you have been chasing or what you have been running from.

We are all going there but the biggest stressor is that life happens to be so slow and everything seems to be moving fast. A day, just 24 hours in Juba is not enough for someone who is not doing anything, a jobless young person for that matter. He wakes up each day to chase something, maybe a dream or sometimes nothing.

Everyone is running. Nobody wants to be left behind.

For high school students, you must chase grades. It doesn’t matter how you get these grades. You don’t have to sit in class to pass. You just have to get them in any way possible. They must have good grades. When you finally get them, it no longer makes sense because you really don’t know what to do with the grades.

Of course, the grades will get you admitted at the University and every day, you have to attend classes to get your free marks for attendance. It is a degree course and so much has happened within your first year of University. You realize that the course you are doing is not interesting anymore and you have thousands of others doing the same. We still don’t know who stands out here.

You see many of your classmates with jeeps and iPhones. You have been told that some are running some family businesses. You wonder if you are doing the right thing or if you are too slow and the pressure. The University becomes too boring but the lecturer will just ask you to print a 60-page module. The lecturer gets some money from this booklet to support his family. You have to read this to pass exams. Lesson, don’t compare in this country because you will be frustrated and will never survive another day.

It all goes down to chasing what you cannot catch even for years. For the big men, they have to chase positions. Sometimes you run faster than what you are chasing and you miss it. You have to try again and must keep running every day. You must run after people and from people. You must lick some boots if that will get you through.

The road users, mostly the V.8s owners, think that they own the road. They don’t know the traffic rules because they are always rushing somewhere. They can’t wait in the jam. It would be a great insult. How can you be in a jam with an expensive car that costs you fortunes? They must pass and show up everywhere. In meetings, they must be seen that they are around and if it is during funerals, they must be allowed to speak.

The master of ceremony (MC) must first introduce the speaker and maybe talk a little bit about his educational and political background. If you don’t do that, he will leave angry and if you don’t watch out, he will terminate your life or maybe wipe you off from the face of the earth.

The easiest way to act like all is going well in your life in Juba is to pretend like you are always busy. You just need to ignore phone calls from friends, family and then call back after one week and let them know that you have been busy the whole week even when that week was spent at a tea place. You are a busy man and you don’t need distraction. But you still managed to call between your busy schedules.

This country has its own reasons for being too fast and its good reason for being too slow but it runs faster than it should be. Everything you know is a result of something you don’t know. You are just someone trying to understand why it works that way and you don’t need a university degree to know everything here. This country has its owners and maybe she is running away from these people because she thinks we all belong here.

But wait, are these people going to accept the fact that we are all South Sudanese and that at the end of the day, we need each other to fix this country? Depends on what you know about this country but the answer is the same, it is going to be a big ‘No”. Yes, this country is too big for all of us yet it seems like it is too small that it is not enough for all of us.

If I can ask you, when was the last time you had a hearty laugh? Maybe three years ago or even four years back because even when you have a reason to be happy, there are several other reasons to be sad. In Juba, someone must lack for you to have and for someone to eat, someone or a thousand others must be hungry. It runs in our blood, in our genetic makeup. Just put on your seat belts and let’s go on this bumpy journey.


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