This Saturday, July 9, South Sudan will become the world’s newest independent nation. Below, Oxfam’s program manager in Sudan, Augustino Buya, offers his perspective on this landmark event.
Augustino Buya was born in 1954, in Terekea in the south of Sudan, two years before independence from Egypt and the UK. In 1984 he became part of a local community self-help organization, which was an Oxfam partner. In 1987 he joined Oxfam, working his way up to program manager, a post he still holds today.
“Saturday for me as an individual is going to be a historic day because I have reached it alive. And also for all southerners it will be historical: whoever has reached that day will be happy,” said Buya.
“What I hope for the future is that there will be no going back to war. That’s what I hope.
Second, that there will be unity of the South Sudanese people to develop their new country. And that there will be good governance for the development of the Republic of South Sudan. With good governance there must be priorities. The priorities must be basic services, such as schools and healthcare, for the common man and woman.
The third priority must be the development of agriculture, to have enough food locally. These things cannot be done without good governance and support from the international community.
…I come from a family which was not educated. I am the only one who had access to education. And when I finished my education I promised to help my family.
Before I had my first child I was helping my brother’s four children. Now I have six of my own: that makes 10. This made me be very careful with my work and be committed.
Three of my brother’s children have graduated with a degree or a diploma, and so have my two eldest. The rest are still in school. I hope the new South Sudan will be an opportunity for them, because there will be a lot of opportunities and chances. That is why I’ll be happy on Saturday, when I reach it alive, because it means that for the rest of my life I know the small ones will get an education and opportunities.”