The week long voting has come to an end and Sudan is preparing for a new chapter of its history. The birth of the world’s newest nation is almost certain. The final results that seem to be leaning towards separation will be announced in a few weeks. People in the South have already started to celebrate, but not everyone is rejoicing, as people have mixed emotions about the impact this will have on their lives.
The question of citizenship has been flagged as one of the potential flash points of the referendum. President Omar al Bashir made it clear that no dual citizenship will be allowed. So southerners that would remain here will do so as foreigners. They will lose all privileges they used to have as citizens.
Under the Comprehensive peace agreement 20 per cent of government work had to be occupied by southerners as part of a quota system. All of these jobs will be lost once the country splits in two.
[ibimage==4431==FeaturedImagePost==none==self==null]Ajack Ajackwants to remain in the north. [Photos by Fatma Naib]
Ajack, from Aweil lived in the north for 21 years. He is for unity because he spent most of his life in the north. His whole family is here and he works for the police force. If the country separates, he will lose his job.
“I am happy working here, I don’t want to lose my job, and there is nothing back for me in the south. Unity is the only option for me.”
Dak Oko Anyang, from Malakal decided to go back to the south. He will do that as soon as his children finish their school term. He voted for separation and despite the fact that he spent 22 years in Khartoum he still wants to leave the north for good regardless of the outcome.
“There are lots of problems here, I want to go back. I have my own work here, I work as a tailor and I will give it all up and go down.”
After 29 years in the north, Matyam is ready to go home. [Photos by Fatma Naib]
Matyam, wanted to take part in this historic moment, despite spending 29 years of his life in Khartoum, he still voted for separation: “I have lived with them since I was young, and I worked as a civil servant but i feel that I have always been discriminated against. I feel its best for me to leave here and move back to the south and start a new life.”
The rest of his family has already left, and he will soon join them. “I will always remain Sudanese the politicians can come up with the new name for the country. But I will still remain Sudanese but in the south.”
“We will remain as brothers and sisters but in our own separate countries.”
Peter, from Malakal, spent 20 years in the north, and he voted for separation, but he still wants to remain in the North. “We are still brothers. I still have work that needs to be finished here. Once i am done with all my business then I will go back.”
But even Peter isn’t very optimistic about the future he says that there are problems between the Dinka and his tribe the shiluks in his home town Malakal. He is unsure about the future but he still believes that separation is best for all.
Salma feels torn between north and south. [Photos by Fatma Naib]
Salma, a Sudanese MC, born in Sudan and raised in New York feels torn about how she feels. “The potential separation hurts me because my father is from the south and my mother is from the north, I feel like if Sudan splits, then I am split.”
It is a very emotional time for Salma right now. “I don’t want to see it happen, but i also don’t want see a group of people being oppressed by a small group of people who are racists against them and not developing their part of the country.”
Salma feels that she almost wants the nation to split for its own good. She says its the right thing but at the same time she feels like she is splitting her family. “My whole family is in Khartoum, I don’t know. I would want to start a relationship with the south for my own good.”
“I will always be Sudanese, I am not a northerner or a southerner I am Sudanese.”
“I want my children to be Sudanese. I hope it doesn’t happen so i don’t have to make a decision, I really don’t know how I feel.”
“Diversity is a beautiful thing I hope Sudan one day will realize that.”
“I hope that it will be one Sudan and no more tribal, religious issues. we are all Sudanese, we have the potential to be the best country in the world. I hope that one day it will be.”