DOWNLOAD APP: Download JUBAECHO mobile app now available on play store & coming soon to app store.
One of the cultural groups performs during the cultural peace festival in Mangateen (Photo: Faida Grace, ACSS).

“HIB JERAN” Festival boosts peaceful coexistence in Mangateen

#HIB JERAN festival, an Arabic phrase that means “love your neighbor” festival is helping communities in Mangateen suburb of Juba to foster a sense of togetherness and peaceful coexistence.

In March, Active Citizen South Sudan (ACSS), a national organization embarked on a campaigns through cultural festival and attracted hundreds of thousands at Mangateen playground.

The event themed “Lets co-exist for peaceful South Sudan” was meant to unite communities. The event was conducted in partnership with the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

Faida Grace Ali, the Communication Officer at ACSS said the organization is interested in enabling peaceful South Sudanese communities.

“The festival is for peaceful coexistence. We want the community to be in peace. There are so many tribes in Mangateen, so we want peace to prevail. They should embrace togetherness and love. They need to share ideas together,” she explained in an interview after the event.

This was not the first of its kind for the cultural event to take place in Mangateen.

In 2022, a series of cultural peace festivals were conducted in Mangateen by the same organization with a focus on reconciliation and healing.

Ms. Grace said the annual event was a contribution of the local organization to promote peace and social cohesion for peaceful South Sudan.

“We are continuing the activity because it is the only way the locals can share ideas with other communities. It is another way communities can also work together and embraced diversity and a sense of nationhood.

The cultural peace festival was attended by roughly 5,000 participants including women, youth and elderly who enjoyed a number of cultural performances.

At least about six cultural groups that presented music, dramas, dances and riddles performed during the occasion. These include Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk and Mundari among others.

Joseph Yien, one of the participants, revealed that the platform was an avenue for reconciliation and healing.

“I must be frank that this particular cultural peace festival is giving us a room to network and socialize among ourselves. For example, if there were tensions among ourselves then we are now able to talk to each other without difficulties. Otherwise, the fear of the unknown was killing us,” he explained.  

During the performance, the festival created rooms and avenues for peace poems and dramas.

Martha Nyanyieny said that the experience helped her to understand that there was a need for South Sudanese to live in peace.

“I am happy that this particular peace festival carries peace values. We must unite to enjoy peace dividends at the community’s level,” she explained during the event.

“Having the space for interaction helps us to understand each other and come to the conclusion that they are all the same. The event helps us a lot to mix up freely and try to break the barriers,”

During the event, most of the locals cherished each other and vowed to work for peace. But according to the local survey, the communities could live in tribal settings in the past but now they have viewed to break the barriers after the intervention.

In other parts of the world, cultural peace festivals provide opportunities for the community to rehabilitate, rebuild and reconstruct, hence peaceful coexistence.

Michael Biphal, Active Citizen South Sudan, Executive Director stressed in his remarks that “for people to live in peace, there is need to open up to one another and reconcile”.

“Our activities for the last three years in Mangaten have exactly brought that to light.  People who were fearing each other in the past are now interacting peacefully and this is all we want,” he concluded

This event was implemented through the funding from Norwegian People ‘Aid (NPA).

Facebook Comments Box