An inspiring story from Sudan
I read the article below in the Juba Post this morning. It’s one story of many, but it’s similar to what we witnessed at a couple of polling centres over the last week and I think it’s worth excerpting here:
JUBA – A 115-year-old woman, Rebecca Kadi, has called for democracy to prevail in Southern Sudan, saying there is no option for Southern Sudanese than to cast their vote for secession.
Kadi said this was her first chance to cast her vote ever since she has been in Sudan.
“We experienced terrible atrocities for many years, but I knew this will come to an end. The dream comes true today as I vote for freedom,” Kadi said.
Speaking to the media, Kadi thanked God for the Southern Sudan referendum which will enable Southerners to determine their fate. “I did not think of reaching this period, but the Almighty made it a reality. May God be with us all the time,” said.
She continued by saying although the country faces many political challenges peace would prevail in Sudan, especially Southern Sudan. Kadi called on the Southern Sudanese people to take the referendum seriously and called on those who have not yet voted to go to the polls.
“It has always been in my mind that South Sudanese will at some time get an opportunity to decide their future. Now it has happened and it is up to us to make it work,” she added.
Only a few of Kadi’s 12 children survived the suffering brought about during the two decades of the North-South civil war. Among the relatives who accompanied her to the polling station at Saddak Primary School was her daughter, Sarah Peter Modi. She urged Southerners not to spoil their golden chance as this is the only time for them to decide their fate.
“The referendum will not rewind anything, hence we should turn out and vote wisely for the generation to come and those who suffered, as well as those who survived the atrocities of the war,” Modi said.
We waited at one polling centre just north of Tore, on the Maridi Road, while members of the community went to town to retrieve two frail and elderly women. It was possibly the most inspiring moment for us during the entire process to watch these two women cast their ballots. Our minds instinctively turned to what they must have witnessed over the last few decades. As with Rebecca Kadi, I’m sure they voted for separation. Of course, I cannot be sure. I didn’t take any photos.
(For a fascinating look at why people in Southern Sudan are choosing to separate, check out this series of maps posted by the BBC. They tell an interesting story of neglect by Khartoum.)