It takes two hands to clap conflict, peacebuilding, and gender justice in Jonglei, South Sudan

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

South Sudan became the newest country in the world in January 2011, after 22 years of civil war between the Khartoum-based government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of the south—the longest of all armed conflicts on the African continent. There is a stark contrast between the rhetoric of post-war unity and peace and the realities of heightened tensions on the ground; the United Nations has warned that escalating inter-ethnic violence threatens to destabilize the country and many regions in South Sudan have “plummeted into self-perpetuating cycles of violence, cattleraiding, banditry and loss of human life. Jonglei state has seen some of the most extreme violence in South Sudan; the Lou Nuer, Murle, and Dinka in Jonglei raid and retaliate back and forth, killing civilians, abducting women and children, and talking cattle. Abductions of women have historically been a part of cattleraiding, but only recently became used extensively as a tool of war, either as an “attempt to directly recover wives” or purely to retaliate. The conflict in Jonglei is a “complex and murky situation to untangle” without one definitive explanation, and the timing and context of many events have contributed to its continuation. In order to create lasting peace in South Sudan, it is imperative to look critically at the complex layers of the driving factors of the recent inter-ethnic conflict in the region.

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