September 16, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar, has stressed the importance of cultural interactions between communities and individuals in the country.
- Edyeta, the bride and her mother (C) practicing Nuer traditional dances at the Freedom Hall compound before the main event August 14, 2013 (ST)
Machar, the second most powerful leader in the country until his removal by the president on 23 July, has been an advocate for inter-communal marriages and the fight against tribalism.
He made the latest remarks on Saturday during a reception organised by his family at the Freedom Hall to celebrate the recent wedding between his eldest son, Teny Riek Machar Teny and his bride, Edyta, from Poland.
Machar’s press secretary James Gatdet Dak said the former vice president encouraged the newly-wed to learn others’ languages, cultures and traditions in South Sudan.
He also urged the bride, who hails from Poland, to not only learn Nuer language and cultures, but others as well.
“For example here in Juba we have Arabic Juba being spoken and there are Bari speaking communities, you need to learn those too,” he said.
The ex-vice president, who is also the deputy chairperson of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), has been stressing the need to break tribal and racial barriers in the country.
He had earlier announced his family’s acceptance to the choice of their eldest son to marry a girl from Poland, saying love always transcended tribal, racial and geographical bearers.
Many senior government and party officials delivered remarks during the colorful occasion, attended by thousands of people from the South Sudanese community.
Machar said he had invited almost all the senior government officials including the president of the republic, Salva Kiir, who did not show up at the occasion, which started at 8 in the evening and ended at midnight.
Also not present, despite being invited, was the newly appointed vice president, James Wani Igga.
The occasion was graced with South Sudanese traditional dances during the day in which the groom joined women for Nuer traditional dances, amid ululations, as well as the Polish community who also performed their country’s traditional dances during the event.
The wedding ceremony, in which the former vice president attended, was conducted in Poland in July.