Arech Deng Akook

By: Arech Deng Akook

A noticeable trend in recent years has been that of a disconnection between generations. While the past young people could easily be managed by elders, the legacies of the war, slavery and the breakdown of the clan leadership in South Sudan have fragmented society, uprooted people, and broken family links. Elders complain that the youth no longer listen to them. Then, Awan Chan elders and elites, like their counterparts in various parts of neighboring communities and Africa as a whole, are drawn from those nationalists who fought for independence. Instead of making room for and tapping the potential of the youth, investing in human capacities and infrastructure for the future, elders and elites have instead adopted an adversarial stance toward the young, viewing them either as incompetent or as competitors for coveted government positions. Unfortunately, the loss of faith in the young is a faith lost in the future.

During the reigns of the past elders, E.g, Chief Chan Nyal, Awan Chan community was well known of generosity, kindness, selfless, perseverance, braveness and etc. Chan Nyal was one of greatest chiefs in  Greater Bahr EL Ghazal. He had to be taken to leading Cases for resolution. His decisions in such cases were irreversible because they are more convincing and final ( His his decisions were like decisions of Lord Blackburn in HoL). However, our current generation (including elders) fails to replicate the legacy of Our great chief; all his efforts have gone in vain.

The gap between the older generation and the younger generation is wide and increasing. As the younger generation loses faith in the older generation, the older generation further entrenches its place in power and consolidates its position even deeper. Whenever the majority of any community is excluded from governance, a community cannot fulfill its fullest potential. A silent majority cannot demand a majority stake unless that majority realizes its strengths and develops a consciousness to fight for its rights.

My humble submission to my community elders and elites is that they must work in collaboration with the younger generation to address issues related to the betterment of the community rather than allow the unaided young generation to take matters into their own hands. Such elites must also take a leadership role in ensuring access to basic services. Without providing these services, the Gap and discontinuity will continue in the community and the young people will increasingly find alternative ways to access those services, even if through violent acts.                                      

Lastly, if the arrogance of youth compels the younger generation to discard the wisdom of the past generations, they will surely repeat the mistake of the past. Instead of building on useful past legacies and going beyond past generations, the likelihood is that they will struggle to match the contribution of the older generation. If Awan Chan community is going to compete socially and politically with other neighboring communities, it will require the contribution of its youth and the experience of its older generation. In another word, our community needs all of us. Our elders and elites must harness and build the potential of their young people in order to build a peaceful and prosperous community.

Importantly, elders and elites must avoid dividing youth along the line of good and bad boys because divide and rule policy will never take our community to anywhere. In fact, Am aware that some of our elders and elites (even some of my fellow youth) don’t benefit from unity and peaceful coexistence; and therefore that is why they chose to deploy this tactic of divide and rule to enrich themselves. As we know that some sycophants have developed a controversial definition of 'good citizen'. It would be unfair if I failed to tell you how my elders and elites controversially define a good citizen. Generally, a good citizen is a person who owes allegiance to the community and the state and therefore enjoys constitutional and inalienable rights. However, according to my fellow youth, a good citizen is the one who is subjected to owe allegiance to individuals in authority and this person doesn’t have a constitutional rights rather could get what is called “privileges” from those individuals in authority whom they owed their allegiance to. 

Hence, I appeal to all my community men and women to build a community where we all see ourselves in it, protect its integrity and dignity, let's not let our individual interests override the interest of our mighty community

The writer is a Youth activist. A student from University of Juba, School of Law. He could be reached via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: 0928889989.

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