South Sudan has only been independent since 2011, yet it is on the brink of collapse. Why is this happening? The country has abundant resources (Sarwar 177; Ploch 16) and has gained independence after decades of conflict (Sarwar 172-174). To begin to understand the situation, the original history of Sudan must be examined (Zambakari 516; Jok 69). Its place in the African continental history is important as well because most of the continent developed under colonialism. The independence of South Sudan on July 9, 2011, created a nation immediately at risk due to colonial history, diverse populations in opposition, and fragile infrastructure. (Working thesis statement) To succeed, ...view middle of the document...
In the name of settlement, education, and religion, missionaries also began to approach the continent from the south, through Kenya. This worked to the advantage of the colonialists who viewed missionaries as pacifiers. The missionaries viewed the colonizers as a type of security (Collins 6).
Sudan came under joint British and Egyptian rule in 1899. While north Sudan was mostly Arab-speaking Muslim, southern Sudan, had mostly black African ethnicities, and was often ignored due to the great Sudd swamp that detered colonial access (Sarwar 172). Southern Sudan was governed by anti-Muslim ethnic chiefs. All along, the British had a desire keep the southern Sudanese isolated from the northern Muslim Sudanese. When they could pass the Sudd, they sent administrators and Christian missionaries south to prevent an uprising of Muslim nationalism near the perceived southern border. The one nation of Sudan was essentially governed as two separate countries. The south was lusher, with marshes and grasslands, while the north was more arid. Most southern Sudanese were subsistence farmers. In the north, most were employed by the railroad, colonial interests or they were nomadic herders (Collins 7-8). The main argument in Sudan during British colonialism was between the Sudanese people and the British. The differences between the north and the south developed under colonial policies, but the cultural differences that developed between the northern Arabic speaking Muslims, and the southern ethnicities, Animist or Christian, became the basis of continuing unrest (Collins 7).
Sudan became independent in 1956 and was once the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest nation in the world or one third the size of the United States (Butler, Carney, Freeman 2005). Sudan was a land with mixed cultures on diverse landscapes living in tension since inception. It is not difficult to see the divisions developed under colonial law (Zambakari 520). This became the arena for ongoing battles for independence and struggles for the proceeds from resources (Jok 79).
Civil war began almost immediately after the 1956 independence as the south demanded rights while the north imposed its will upon them. South Sudan gained rights to self-rule in the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972. Peace did not last. North Sudan again asserted itself and called for Islamic Shariah law to be enforced. This coincided with the discovery of oil in South Sudan in the late 1970s (Sarwar 172). Civil war again erupted and the rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was formed to take on the North. After continued battles, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 created a political path for the south to determine their future independence (Zambakari 516).
In January 2011, as part of the CPA, there was a call for a referendum to determine if the south would remain part of Sudan or become an independent country. July 9, 2011, 98.8 percent of voters chose independence. Ex SPLA leader,...