New Nation church of
the republic of
About the republic of
South Sudan, officially The Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East Africa. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011. It is the most recent sovereign state or country with widespread recognition as of 2022. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal, meaning "Mountain River". It is bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Kenya. Its population was estimated as 12,778,250 in 2019. Roughly half of the population is under 18 years old. Juba is the capital and largest city.
The Nilotic people of South Sudan—the Dinka, Anyuak, Bari, Acholi, Nuer, Shilluk, Kaligi (in Arabic called Feroghe), and others—first entered South Sudan sometime before the 10th century, coinciding with the fall of medieval Nubia. From the 15th to the 19th century, tribal migrations, largely from the area of Bahr el Ghazal, brought the Anyuak, Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk to their modern locations in Bahr El Ghazal and the Upper Nile Region, while the Acholi and Bari settled in Equatoria. The Zande, Mundu, Avukaya and Baka, who entered South Sudan in the 16th century, established the region's largest state of Equatoria Region. The Dinka is the largest, Nuer the second largest, the Zande the third-largest, and the Bari the fourth-largest of South Sudan's ethnic groups.
British policies favoring Christian missionaries, such as the Closed District Ordinance of 1922, and geographical barriers such as the swamplands along the White Nile curtailed the spread of Islam to the south, thus allowing the southern tribes to retain much of their social and cultural heritage, as well as their political and religious institutions. British colonial policy in Sudan had a long history of emphasizing development of the Arab north, and largely ignoring the Black African south, which lacked schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and other basic infrastructure. After Sudan's first independent elections in 1958, the continued neglect of the southern region by the Khartoum government led to uprisings, revolt, and the longest civil war on the continent. Slavery had been an institution of Sudanese life throughout history. The slave trade in the south intensified in the 19th century, and continued after the British had suppressed slavery in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Annual Sudanese slave raids into non-Muslim territories resulted in the capture of countless thousands of southern Sudanese, and the destruction of the region's stability and economy.
Sudan was occupied by Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and was governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence in 1956. Following the First Sudanese Civil War, the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was formed in 1972 and lasted until 1983. A second Sudanese civil war soon broke out in 1983 and ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed.
The region has been negatively affected by two civil wars since Sudanese independence: from 1955 to 1972, the Sudanese government fought the Anyanya rebel army (Anya-Nya is a term in the Madi language which means "snake venom") during the First Sudanese Civil War, followed by the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) in the Second Sudanese Civil War for over 20 years. As a result, the country suffered serious neglect, a lack of infrastructural development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2.5 million people have been killed, and millions more have become refugees both within and outside the country.
On 9 July 2011, South Sudan became the 54th independent country in Africa. 9 July is now celebrated as Independence Day, a national holiday. Between 9 and 15 January 2011, a referendum was held to determine whether South Sudan should become an independent country and separate from Sudan, with 98.83% of the population voting for independence. On 23 January 2011, members of a steering committee on post-independence governing told reporters that upon independence the land would be named the Republic of South Sudan "out of familiarity and convenience". Other names that had been considered were Azania, Nile Republic, Kush Republic and even Juwama, a portmanteau for Juba, Wau and Malakal, three major cities. South Sudan formally became independent from Sudan on 9 July, although certain disputes still remain, including the division of oil revenues, as 75% of all the former Sudan's oil reserves are in South Sudan. The region of Abyei still remains disputed and a separate referendum is yet to be held in Abyei on whether they want to join Sudan or South Sudan. The South Kordofan conflict broke out in June 2011 between the Army of Sudan and the SPLA over the Nuba Mountains.
In December 2013, a political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, as the president accused Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d'état. Fighting broke out, igniting the South Sudanese Civil War. Ugandan troops were deployed to fight alongside South Sudanese government forces against the rebels. The United Nations has peacekeepers in the country as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Numerous ceasefires were mediated and were subsequently broken. A peace agreement was signed in Ethiopia under threat of United Nations sanctions for both sides in August 2015. Machar returned to Juba in 2016 and was appointed vice president. Following a second breakout of violence in Juba, Machar was replaced as vice-president and he fled the country as the conflict erupted again. Rebel in-fighting has become a major part of the conflict. Rivalry among Dinka factions led by the President and Malong Awan have also led to fighting. In August 2018, another power sharing agreement came into effect.
About 400,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the war, including notable atrocities such as the 2014 Bentiu massacre. Although both men have supporters from across South Sudan's ethnic divides, subsequent fighting has been communal, with rebels targeting members of Kiir's Dinka ethnic group and government soldiers attacking Nuers. More than 4 million people have been displaced, with about 1.8 million of those internally displaced, and about 2.5 million having fled to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Sudan.
On 20 February 2020, Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar agreed to a peace deal, and on 22 February 2020 formed a national unity government. On 8 May 2021, South Sudan President Salva Kiir announced a dissolution in Parliament as part of a 2018 peace deal to set up a new legislative body that will number 550 lawmakers.
Under the terms of a peace agreement signed on 22 February 2020, South Sudan is divided into 10 states, two administrative areas and one area with special administrative status. As a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005, the Abyei Area was given special administrative status and following the independence of South Sudan in 2011, is considered to be simultaneously part of both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, effectively a condominium. The Kafia Kingi area is disputed between South Sudan and Sudan and the Ilemi Triangle is disputed between South Sudan and Kenya.
The states of and administrative areas are grouped into the three former historical provinces of the Sudan: Bahr el Ghazal – containing the states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes, and Warrap; Equatoria – containing the states of Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria (containing the national capital city of Juba), and Eastern Equatoria; and Greater Upper Nile – containing the states of Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile. The Administrative Areas are: Greater Pibor, and Ruweng.
Geography and Climate
South Sudan is covered in tropical forest, swamps, grassland, and desert. The White Nile passes through the country, passing by Juba. South Sudan has a tropical climate, characterized by a rainy season of high humidity and large amounts of rainfall followed by a drier season. The temperature on average is always high with July being the coolest month with average temperatures falling between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and March being the warmest month with average temperatures ranging from 23 to 37 °C (73 to 98 °F).
The most rainfall is seen between May and October, but the rainy season can commence in April and extend until November. On average May is the wettest month. The season is "influenced by the annual shift of the Inter-Tropical Zone" and the shift to southerly and southwesterly winds leading to slightly lower temperatures, higher humidity, and more cloud coverage.
The official languages of South Sudan are English and recently added Swahili, while Arabic is a former national language. There are over 60 indigenous languages which are also constitutionally protected national languages.
A 18 December 2012 report on religion and public life by the Pew Research Center states that in 2010, 60.5% of South Sudan's population was Christian, 32.9% were followers of traditional African religions and 6.2% were Muslim. Amongst Christians, most are Catholic or Anglican, though other denominations are also active, and animist beliefs are often blended with Christian beliefs.
The South Sudanese diaspora consists of citizens of South Sudan residing abroad. The number of South Sudanese outside South Sudan has sharply increased since the beginning of the struggle for independence from the Sudan. Almost one and a half million South Sudanese have left the country as refugees. The largest communities of the South Sudanese diaspora are located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and small communities exist in France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and New Zealand.
Due to the many years of civil war, South Sudan's culture is heavily influenced by its neighbours. Many South Sudanese fled to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda where they interacted with the nationals and learned their languages and culture. Most of those who remained in Sudan until or after independence partially assimilated to Sudanese culture and speak Juba Arabic or Sudanese Arabic. Most South Sudanese value knowing one's tribal origin, its traditional culture and dialect even while in exile and diaspora.
The economy of South Sudan is one of the world's most underdeveloped with South Sudan having little existing infrastructure. South Sudan exports timber to the international market. The region also contains many natural resources such as petroleum, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, diamonds, hardwoods, limestone and hydropower. The country's economy, as in many other developing countries, is heavily dependent on agriculture.
South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa. Oil revenues constitute more than 98% of the government of South Sudan's budget according to the southern government's Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. South Sudan's economy is under pressure to diversify away from oil as oil reserves will likely halve by 2020 if no new finds are made, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation
The United Nations rights office has described the situation in the country as "one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world". It accused the army and allied militias of allowing fighters to rape women as form of payment for fighting, as well as raid cattle in an agreement of "do what you can, take what you can." Amnesty International claimed the army suffocated to death in a shipping container more than 60 people accused of supporting the opposition. Recruitment of child soldiers has also been cited as a serious problem in the country. The child marriage rate in South Sudan is 52%.
On 22 December 2017, at the conclusion of a 12-day visit to the region, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said, "Four years following the start of the current conflict in South Sudan, gross human rights violations continue to be committed in a widespread way by all parties to the conflict, in which civilians are bearing the brunt."
Campaigns of atrocities against civilians have been attributed to the SPLA. In the SPLA's attempt to disarm rebellions among the Shilluk and Murle, they burned scores of villages, raped hundreds of women and girls and killed an untold number of civilians. Civilians alleging torture claim fingernails being torn out, burning plastic bags dripped on children to make their parents hand over weapons, and villagers burned alive in their huts if it was suspected that rebels had spent the night there. The Nuer White Army has stated it wished to "wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth as the only solution to guarantee long-term security of Nuer’s cattle".
According to the United Nations, there are 8.3 million people in need of humanitarian aid in South Sudan as of January 2021. South Sudan is acknowledged to have some of the worst health indicators in the world. The under-five infant mortality rate is 135.3 per 1,000, whilst maternal mortality is the highest in the world.
According to a 2013 study, South Sudan "probably has the highest malaria burden in sub-Saharan Africa".
New Nation CHurch, Juba
In 2012, Apostle Alex Sokiri, National Director of New Nation Church of the Republic of South Sudan, temporarily relocated from Wudu in Kajo-Keji state to Juba (the capital of South Sudan), while there he continued to preach the Gospel and was approached by a local landowner who invited him to use her property to hold services. As this congregation continued to get established, Pastor Wani Moses lead the congregation once Pastor Alex returned to Wudu.
Due to the outbreak of the Civil War at the end of 2013, many of the members of the church fled the area, moving south in the country or leaving in the diaspora, mostly to refugee camps in Uganda, however the congregation managed to remain. In 2016, the landowner decided to sell the land that the congregation had been meeting on, and they located a new location to rent, literally picking up the building and transplanting it to the new location.
The peace agreement of 2020 inspired many people to begin to return to South Sudan, including Apostle Alex, with his wife Minister Harriet, and their son Josiah. Since then, they have been in Juba leading the congregation as well as travelling to minister at the other congregations amongst the people of South Sudan, within the nation as well as in the Morobi Refugee Camp in Uganda, where many people still remain, not convinced that the peace will hold.
The congregation in Juba was able to do significant outreach in the city in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, to not only grow the church but to teach good hygiene practices in the city and help feed people. Sadly, the congregation was struck a big blow when another land-owner decided to sell the property the church was renting out from under them. A church member allowed them to use their home temporily and another was said to donate property in a different area of the city, allowing for a second location. New Nation Church, Juba has been promised a parcel of land for a discounted price by the government in 2020, however this land has still not been granted over two years after having been announced. Several other churches gave the funds for their parcels, but also have never been given their property.
New Nation CHurch, lainya
Our congregation in Lainya began in 2020, following the signing of the peace agreement and the return of some of the people of South Sudan to their homes. More information is coming soon about this congregation.
New Nation CHurch, Mondikolok
Our congregation in Mondikolok was launched in 2010. About 300 people from Mondikolok would make the journey each Sunday for church services at our neighbouring Wudu congregation. Reverend Kimberly Wallace had been sent by the NNCI Board of Apostles to consult with the leadership of New Nation Church – South Sudan; while there she was approached by the Elders of Mondikolok and asked to help launch a new congregation in their town. She and the Board of Apostles agreed to do this and she donated funds to buy land in Mondikolok that this congregation now calls home.
This congregation fled South Sudan in 2016 to Morobi Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda. They quickly reestablished the congregation in their new home and offered a great deal of support, care and love to each other during this very difficult period. Some members of the congregation have recently returned to Mondikolok, South Sudan and are rebuilding the church and the neighbouring community. Edward Lokose Elisama is the Lead Minister of the Mondikolok congregation.
New Nation CHurch, morobo
Our congregation in Morobo began in 2020, following the signing of the peace agreement and the return of some of the people of South Sudan to their homes. More information is coming soon about this congregation.
New Nation CHurch, nimule
Our congregation in Nimule began in 2020, following the signing of the peace agreement and the return of some of the people of South Sudan to their homes. More information is coming soon about this congregation.
New Nation CHurch, Wudu
Apostle Alex Sokiri began his affiliation with NNCI in 2008, when he was commissioned by Apostle Todd Cataldo, following a Pastor's Conference at our Kampala congregation. Pastor Alex returned to his home town Wudu, South Sudan after living many years in Uganda due to the Civil War. His goal was to launch a New Nation Church International congregation in Wudu, South Sudan. Apostle Alex went with a small stack of Bibles, donated clothes and some local drums and he preached under a mango tree to the local community. The church continued to meet under the mango tree until a local landowner allowed the new church to use his property until we could buy our own. We now own land where the church meets in local style buildings that house church services, offices, nursery and primary schools. This congregation has grown to become one of the largest churches in the area.
Most of the members of this congregation also fled South Sudan in 2016 into neighbouring Uganda and lived on the Morobi Refugee Camp. The congregation continued to meet and grow during this very difficult time.
Recently, some members of the congregation have returned to Wudu and are rebuilding the church and local community and awaiting the return of the whole community back to South Sudan. Minister Kiya Willis has recently been ordained as the new Lead Minister of the Wudu congregation.
New Nation CHurch,
Morobi refugee camp
In 2016, due to the severe effects of the Civil War in South Sudan, most of the members of the congregations in South Sudan fled the country into Northern Uganda. They were given land to establish a home on the Morobi Refugee Camp. They quickly established smaller communities who could help support each other, with nine congregations forming across the entire refugee camp (which is one of the largest in the world).
Over the 4 years of living in the camp, each of the congregations has grown and thrived in spite of some of the most challenging situations. They have continued to support each other as well as the wider community on the camp thanks to the tireless work of Apostle Alex Sokiri and his wife, Harriet and the other Senior Pastors who lovingly and selflessly provide for their congregations.
Recently, some of the congregation have made the move back to South Sudan and are in the process of rebuilding and reestablishing churches and communities as they begin to rebuild their lives. These new congregations are located in Lainya, Morobo, Nimule, Yambio and Yei.
New Nation CHurch, yambio
Our congregation in Yambio began in 2022, following the signing of the peace agreement and the return of some of the people of South Sudan to their homes. More information is coming soon about this congregation.
New Nation CHurch, Yei
Our congregation in Yei began in 2022, following the signing of the peace agreement and the return of some of the people of South Sudan to their homes. More information is coming soon about this congregation.