Becoming South Sudan

Chapter 1: Portraits — The male section of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) rehearse for the Independence Day procession. 


Chapter 1: Portraits — The female section of the SPLA practice for the military procession in the Independence Day celebrations. 


Chapter 1: Portraits — A youth group practice for the civilian procession of the Independence Day celebrations.


Chapter 1: Portraits — Christina Killa, head of the Women’s Southern Sudan Prison Service.  Prison Headquarters, Juba.


Chapter 1: Portraits — A member of Juba University Choir at the launch of the national anthem in Juba. 


Chapter 1: Portraits — Police Officers at police barracks in Juba.

Chapter 1: Portraits — Young police officers wait in line for a screening exercise at the Police training centre in Rajaf. Most of the young men in training are ex-SPLA soldiers.

Chapter 2: Tableaus — 28 June 2011. Enrico Wek, 24, was one of many South Sudanese nationals living in North Sudan before independence. After two weeks of traveling along the Nile in a crammed barge, carrying 219 families consisting of 767 individuals, Wek and his family arrive in Juba exhausted and face an uncertain future. 

Chapter 2: Tableaus — The River Nile, a national symbol of South Sudan.

Chapter 2: Tableaus — A Sudanese man returns to Juba after years of exile in Kenya.

Chapter 2: Tableaus — The blackboard in an empty classroom of Juba University.

Chapter 2: Tableaus — An ex child soldier, now a Police Officer, guards the chief of police’s office at Buluk Police Headquarters. 

Chapter 2: Tableaus — An alter boy during Sunday service at St. Teresa church in Juba.

Chapter 2: Tableaus — A nun attends Sunday service at St. Teresa church in Juba. 

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Aluel Nhial. Bor, Jonglei State. Dinka Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Garang Dumo. Dinka Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Hassan Hamed. South Darfur. Berno Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Elnur Afudi Pita. Maban County, Upper Nile.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Akon Achiek Chol Alitha. Jonglei. Dinka Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Laura Paul Pidi. Eastern Equatoria State. Mà’dí Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Mohamed Arabi Abdulla. South Darfur.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Peter Giatkuoth Jacob. Jonglei State. Nuer Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Andrew Matayo Luate. Central Equatoria State.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Jackson Onek Paul. Eastern Equatoria State. Acholi Tribe.

Chapter 3: Police Graduation Day — Jackson Lodung. Central Equatoria State. Bari Tribe.

Until January 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan existed only in the imagination of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement. On that day a long-awaited referendum took place, with nearly 99 percent of some four million voters opting for secession from the North. On July 9, after a six-month gestation period, amidst huge challenges including counterinsurgencies and ongoing violence in contested oil-rich border regions, the Republic of South Sudan came into being, becoming the world’s 193rd nation. The run-up to independence witnessed a place and a people in transformation, as some of the millions of exiles who had sought asylum in neighboring countries returned to rebuild their communities and construct their identity as a unified nation.

Alinka Echeverría is the Translation Issue writer-in-residence. Echeverría's work, usually presented as immersive photographic installations, focuses thematically on religious and political belief systems, specifically addressing representational constructs. Featured in over sixty exhibitions worldwide, she was named International Photographer of the Year at the 2012 Lucie Awards, and in 2011 she won the HSBC Prize for Photography. Visit
  1. Cassie Blanchard says:

    These simple photos were very powerful. It gave me an entirely new perspective on the struggles of South Sudan and portrayed the different aspects of these citizens lives. A great, eye-opening article.


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