Shattered hopes in South Sudan, 10 years after independence

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In July 2011, Nunu Diana smiled done tears arsenic South Sudan gained independence, envisioning the aboriginal for her homeland: a large nation, peaceful and prosperous, brimming with anticipation and opportunity.

Ten years later, with those aspirations shattered by civilian war, chronic instability and economical ruin, Diana looks backmost connected that youthful optimism with resignation.

"I deliberation it was conscionable a dream," the 33-year-old societal idiosyncratic and parent of 4 told AFP successful Juba.

As celebrations broke retired successful the capital, and the emblem of a newly-independent South Sudan waved high, Diana watched the festivities connected tv from a exile campy successful Uganda, wherever her household had fled years of seemingly endless war.

The declaration of independency meant an extremity to the bloodshed betwixt Sudan's predominantly Muslim northbound and its overwhelmingly Christian and animist southbound -- and a accidental to yet instrumentality home.

"July 9 really made maine much autarkic than South Sudan itself, due to the fact that I knew I volition travel to my country," said Diana.

The happiness of that moment, she said, and the anticipation for her state and its radical was similar "a caller babe was born".

- Lost anticipation -

Growing up, Diana listened successful wonderment astatine speeches by venerated leaders warring for independency from Sudan: "It gave maine anticipation that 1 time we would beryllium a large nation," she said.

Upon independence, the anticipation appeared limitless. South Sudan was affluent successful oil, blessed with fertile onshore and abundant h2o from the White Nile, a onshore of fantastic earthy wealthiness and potential.

"I envisioned a South Sudan wherever the wellness strategy would beryllium precise almighty fixed that we person our earthy resources," Diana said.

"I besides envisioned South Sudan wherever we had the quality resources, particularly young South Sudanese, who came from antithetic countries to travel and physique the state successful a much peaceful manner."

Importantly, too, she saw for her children the accidental to survey and learn, opportunities she was denied increasing up successful warfare and misery.

Diana returned hopeful and ambitious to South Sudan successful aboriginal 2012 -- but it did not instrumentality agelong for the mirage to fade.

By the extremity of 2013, simmering tensions implicit power of the caller authorities betwixt President Salva Kiir and his lawman Riek Machar exploded into the open, with their respective troops opening occurrence connected each other.

South Sudan was astatine warfare with itself. On December 20, Diana entered Uganda erstwhile much arsenic a refugee, taking her young lad with her.

"We had each our hopes for South Sudan, that our children volition not spell done what we went through," she said.

"Taking my lad to Uganda was 1 of things that made maine suffer anticipation successful South Sudan."

The warfare lasted 5 years, fragmenting on taste lines, subjecting South Sudan's war-weary civilians to unspeakable atrocities.

Nearly 400,000 radical died successful the struggle portion different 4 cardinal -- a 3rd of the full colonisation -- were forced to fly similar Diana, immoderate to safer parts of the state and others implicit borders.

- 'Things are getting worse' -

Diana returned successful 2014, and founded a nonprofit organisation to assistance radical surviving with HIV/AIDS 4 years later.

But implicit this time, she kept her 4 children successful Uganda, wherever astatine slightest their information and acquisition was assured, she said.

In South Sudan meanwhile, conditions deteriorated.

Nearly three-quarters of each school-aged children were not getting an education, according to UNICEF, portion 1 successful 10 does not unrecorded past the property of five.

"I deliberation things are getting worse," Diana said.

Hunger has reached levels not seen since independence. Some 60 percent of the colonisation -- astir 7 cardinal radical -- are enduring terrible nutrient shortages, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

More than 100,000 are connected the brink of famine successful South Sudan portion Some 60 percent of the colonisation -- astir 7 cardinal radical -- are enduring terrible nutrient shortages, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

A currency crisis, and runaway inflation, has made time to time surviving hard adjacent for those successful the capital.

Diana started planting okra, peanuts and different vegetables successful a tiny plot to effort to prevention costs, and tin lone capable to spend to navigator erstwhile a day. She blames this connected the leadership

"What we devour astatine lunch, volition person to instrumentality america to supper," she says.

- Cry for enactment -

Droughts, floods, and locusts person destroyed harvest seasons and pushed full communities to the precise edge.

Man-made horrors, peculiarly pervasive levels of equipped inter-ethnic violence, person meantime killed scores and forced galore to perpetually relocate.

Diana holds retired that there's immoderate meaning to the nation's motto: Justice, Liberty, Prosperity.

But she holds small religion successful the country's leaders -- the men who chose warfare alternatively of gathering a state, whose authorities does not supply for its ain people, and who squandered the acquisition of statehood.

"We conscionable request to alteration this leadership," she said.

"All these leaders -- our liberators -- I deliberation they indispensable instrumentality the backmost seat, and springiness the state to the young people, who person the vigor and the aspirations and hopes for this country."

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