People Choosing Peace: Mawa Augustine (South Sudan)

By Ochan Hannington

My name is Mawa Augustine. I’m 31 years old. I’m musician and engineer. Yei is my home state, in South Sudan, but right now it lies in ruins.

I have always lived with my family members around me, but now they are all gone. They fled to Uganda’s district of Arua. I haven’t heard from them, but I hope they are okay.

The problems of this country are by far beyond my comprehension. Most times I ask myself, ‘who is the enemy?’. We are one people. I have come up with one conclusion, though: greed, as well as ignorance, is the enemy that is destroying this country.

I don’t have chance to access to international news regularly. Nonetheless, I wonder what the so-called international community is thinking; especially when they hear that the country is getting closer to disaster. I’m afraid when [the international community] finally get up from their slumber, the consequences of the conflict maybe irreversible.

I’m only a vocational school instructor here in Kapoeta state – and don’t have much influence to cause change in the affairs that are decided upon in the capital, Juba. Nevertheless, I will keep advocating through music. One of my songs I did, right after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement [Saint Slyvestre Accord] called Salaam Bada encourages everyone, especially our leaders, to be willing to initiate peace processes with their rivals. That is, if they put their guns down, and listen to it.

Occasionally I get stuck in one place indefinitely when security turns ugly, and this really concerns me. If I had authority I would want to see security for everyone, first and foremost. There is no safety for persons and property, nowadays.

When I live today, I can only hope to see better tomorrow. I believe the violent conflict we are seeing today in South Sudan happens in many other African countries right after gaining their independence. It is this realty therefore, that gives me optimism that the conflict of this country will be over, someday.