“Peace begins with me and Malakal is united.”
Thus spoke Treasa Nyagak Awak, a woman staying at the UN protection of civilians site, during a day of cultural festivities vibrantly celebrated at Malakal Stadium, mirroring the recent celebrations of the revitalized peace agreement in Juba.
Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Anyuak and other communities in the Malakal area interacted peacefully during the event, considered a new page of trust and harmony between people of the Upper Nile area.
“As communities in this area it is high time for us to embrace peace and harmony and to strengthen our social cohesion for all of us to enjoy the dignity of living in our country,” said Treasa Nyagak Awak.
The joyous occasion, a joint initiative by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the Malakal Ministry of Information, focused on cultural performances, poems, and peace messages, and gathered people from all communities both in Malakal town and from the protection site for the displaced.
Simon Nyok, chairperson of the youth in Malakal town, urged local authorities to organize similar activities for all youth living in the area.
“It’s not a day for speeches, but it’s a day for us to see each other as brothers and sisters. Therefore, I am appealing to the government of Central Upper Nile through the Ministry of Information to plan more similar gatherings for peaceful co-existence,” he said.
Approximately 2,000 people, amongst them youth, women, elders, UN peacekeepers, state and county officials, graced the event, which was the first of its kind. There was much rejoicing.