By Amoko Robert
August 24, 2011 (JUBA) - Newly independent South Sudan is set to fully participate in the 10th All Africa Games, in Maputo, Mozambique from 3 - 18 September, the country’s minister of youth, sport and recreation, Makuach Teny Yok, said on Wednesday.
- Makuach Teny Yok speaking to press. (File/ST Photo)
In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune in Juba, the caretaker minister acknowledged the important role young people had played in South Sudan’s independence.
“The youth need to be given equally opportunity in all aspects of skills, like in sports, education so that the one month born new state will be recognised worldwide both in sports, development”, Teny assessed.
Before independence South Sudan participated in All Africa Games Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. South Sudan officially seceded from North Sudan in July and is now looking forward to participating in world sport.
The minister promised that the South Sudan flag would be raised at the games in Mozambique next month. He called upon the youth in South Sudan to focus on sport, especially athletics and football.
“The youth need to promote their culture through mutual diversity of peaceful coexistence among themselves so that they will be patriotic in decision making”, the minister lamented.
South Sudan will hope that sport can play a role in building a national identity, which for decades was defined by opposition to the Islamist regime in Khartoum.
During the civil war South Sudanese groups, often along tribal lines, fought each other as well as the Khartoum controlled Sudanese army. Tribalism remains a major problem in Africa’s 54th country.
“The youth should also lay down the foundation of the new nation through sustainable development that will also promote cultural diversity”, the minister said.
He said that during the two decades of the civil war young people gave a lot to South Sudan’s cause, often with their lives. The UN estimate that two million died and four million were displaced in what was the world’s longest ongoing conflict.
Teny said South Sudan’s youth will have a great role in the new nation.
“We need to stand where the history has begun. The role of the youth is an identity that can not be rub at the image of the world”.
He acknowledged that youth need to cement South Sudan’s national unity adding thta people should not repeat passed mistakes that fueled tribal fighting.
The minister asked the youth to be mindful in their decision making to help development.
"The youth need to have mutual understanding, interest to work together to attain the dream [South Sudanese] have got in mind", he stressed
Teny explained that his ministry will make sure it improves the skills of the youth by creating small businesses.
The minister said that university students who had begun their studies in North Sudan would continue their studies there until they graduate. However, he was not clear when the school terms would resume in South Sudan.