South Sudan’s New National Anthem
By Paul Ndiho
July 7, 2011
Final preparations are underway in South Sudan’s Capital, Juba, ahead of Saturday’s independence celebrations on July 9TH. The National Anthem Choir in Juba is working on the coming nation’s new anthem, and residents of Juba are treated to rehearsal parade. With just a few days left before the official declaration of the independence of South Sudan, members of the National Anthem Choir are practicing hard for an historic performance. The choir has been rehearsing for four months. There are 200 members of the choir, selected for their vocal abilities and their command of English.
There are two versions of the national anthem — English and Arabic — and the government intends to translate it into all south Sudanese indigenous languages.
Composer and choir master, Edison Arkanjiro says the anthem’s tempo is similar to that of a march — to commemorate and symbolize the final march to freedom of the people of south Sudan.
“First of all, we think of the culture here in South Sudan, the songs in South Sudan. We have many different types of songs here, we have reggae, we have Reggaetone, we have hip-hop music, we have R’n’B, we have African music here. So we say, let this music, let this tune mention, speak of the culture here in South Sudan.”
Arkanjiro is a member of the Juba university team that won the X-Factor-type singing type competition to write the music for the national anthem, titled ‘God Bless South Sudan’.
The lyrics were composed last year by a collaboration of 49 poets, academics and musicians. In three short stanzas, the words praise the motherland, God and the martyrs.
The Republic of South Sudan was born from a referendum in which more than 98 percent of southerners voted for secession from the north. The vote was a product of a 2005 peace deal, following decades of war.
“I feel like an angel. Because I feel the pain, the 21 [years] of paining of war… and I feel, I feel really, I don’t know, it is like a dream.”
The National Anthem Choir will perform in front of thousands guests and a swarm of media. Juba residents witnessed a rehearsal parade ahead of independence celebrations this weekend.
There was a flag raising exercise, and the new flag of the Republic of South Sudan was raised.
SOT: Barnaba Benjamin Marial, Southern Sudan Minister of Information
“The flag will be raised and the Sudanese flag will be brought down and we will equally, there will be off cause the signing of the constitution, the transitional Constitution by the president and then the president will take an oath as the first president of the Republic of south Sudan. President Bashir is expected to make his statement finally as the president of the Republic of the Sudan with his national anthem playing for the last time in southern Sudan, and then our president will speak finally.”
High emotions were on display at the celebration grounds, and this student says he is too excited to rest or stay home.
“I am very happy today, that day I cannot sleep, I will sleep on the streets here I cannot go home because we have been waiting for so long, so many years and we lost many people, so this day is a very important day for us southern Sudanese, I am very happy today.”
South Sudan’s independence celebration is slated to start at midnight on Friday 8 July. Church bells and drums will sound marking the birth of the Republic of South Sudan. At least 3,500 dignitaries from all around the world are expected for the event.