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Female South Sudanese musician performs in Rumbek

By Manyang Mayom

June 26, 2009 (RUMBEK) - The Southern Sudanese musician Nyankol Mathiang reached Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state, on Thursday after her long trip from Australia via Khartoum. She was invited by the non-governmental organization Women for Women International to celebrate the launch of a rural development initiative.

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Singer Nyankol Mathiang

A large gathering of local residents in Rumbek East County including chiefs and a great number of SPLA soldiers gathered to cheer Nyankol at Maker-nhom farm under the trees.

This is the first time singer Nyankol Mathiang visited Rumbek since her fame as a South Sudanese popular musician who advocated in song about Abyei, New Sudan, and street children of Southern Sudan who were separated from their relatives due to the civil war in the country Sudan.

Meanwhile, Mathiang’s arrival was marked by celebrations of Sudanese women’s interests, performing dances before crowds of politicians, children, women and youth who danced together on adusty platform as Mathiang sang out her new album about Rumbek plus her old song to southerners about New Sudan’s struggle.

However, following the news of late singer Michael Jackson who died at age of 50 year old, Lakes state fans of Jackson regretted that death; Pop singer Michael Jackson has died after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest at his home in Los Angeles in USA.

The performance were attended by Lakes state Governor Daniel Awet Akot and a Government of Southern Sudan delegation (GOSS) who were scheduled to attend the opening Women for Women International’s farm that grows vegetables as a part of self-reliant group of women.

Awet affirmed that “the land of Southern Sudan is good soil that has a high productivity; this land is not confused with chemical like American soil.”

He also urges Lakes state youth to participate in development rather than destruction in their community of killing and ravaging that is now adopted as culture; Rumbek East County had a great number of young men active in clashes since 2005, whereby even a number of pregnant women were killed in line of inter-clan and tribal clashes.

“There are 10,000 troops SPLA combat to execute the presidential order of forceful disarmament in Lakes state; in this disarmament, if any community fails to meet cooperate with the military, then it will be up to you with soldiers, especially for those cattle keepers who stay far away from government — we need those cattle keepers to bring their cattle to nearby government line and to surrender their guns instead of opposing soldiers — we must deal with those who will not come nearby us and we shall term those cattle keepers as holders of illegal guns.” said Awet.

According to GOSS representative in the ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources Director General Mr. John Chuol, GOSS will provide seeds to the community though the work is to be done by the women and the agricultural tools available daily for purchase from the state.

Kook clan chairman of payam court, Thon Mangar Maciek, welcomed the disarmament statement and he warned that soldiers must not repeat the case of September 8, 2008 in which eight people were shot injured. He also appreciated the country director of Women for Women International for working hard to change rural women’s lives, including the 3,000 women who are recruited into its farming activities.

Dance groups sang “surrender the gun to Governor Awet so that our society may become free from death,” said women’s representative Ciec Manyiel.

However, Commissioner Mabor Mayen Wol, appealled to Rumbek East youth to ease local disputes and his urges them to join the cultivation activities. He also promised to support the WWI by improving security in the county and appealed for WWI to extend their program to cover youth in the state.

Moreover, the WWI country director for Sudan chapter, Mrs. Karak Mayik — who adopted a new named called “commander of non-violent forces,” according Governor Daniel Awet — affirmed that Sudanese women actually have no tribal lines like Athoi, Panyar, Kook, and so on, but are all Sudanese women who can include Northerner women.

Mrs. Mayik said, “Stop violence against women and treat women equally like men because we deserve one right image as human-beings in this world.” She mentioned that also in home affairs, women are deserving of high respect from their husbands.

According to Lakes state Minister of Agriculture, Animals, Forestry and Fisheries, H.E. Jok Ayom Majak, his ministry will deliver funds from the Sudan Rcovery Fnd (SRF) to construct the road between Maker-nhom farm and Rumbek Central County in order to ease the marketing of vegetables to the community.

“It is anticipated that the present WWI policy in Rumbek East County will be the basis for adoption by other women’s groups in different locations after seeing or hearing what women groups at Maker-Nhom have achieved economically,” said Mr. Majak.

He told the women, “I congratulate you for the irrigation system established for your activities by WWI Sudan chapter; I would advise you to use it efficiently and effectively with care. Never waste water, which costs fuel for pumping into the water tank of irrigation system. Do not make damage to the piping system as it will cost you money to get new ones. I encourage you to increase vegetable production to feed not only your households but also to market the surplus.”

(ST)