Monday, 7 February 2011

South Sudan celebrates as independence vote confirmed

- South Sudan
Southern Sudanese celebrate the formal announcement of referendum results in the southern capital of Juba . Photo: 7 February 2011 As the result was confirmed, crowds in Juba began dancing and cheering
The speakers were crackly and the outdoor cinema screen flickered.
Those at the back in the dark of the giant thousand-strong crowd could hardly make out what was being said.
But for the southerners gathered to watch the results of their historic independence referendum, only one message mattered: the confirmation that the south will become a nation of its own.
As the result was confirmed, that 98.83% of the voters had backed independence, those at the front leapt up, waving flags and cheering.
Those at the back, hearing the shouts of delight, began to dance.
"We are free, we have won our independence!" shouted former soldier William Machar.
"This is our moment in history, when we watch our baby-nation being born."
People in the southern capital of Juba flocked to the grave of former rebel leader John Garang, the first president of the south, to hear the results broadcast live from Khartoum.
Hundreds sat on plastic chairs, craning their heads forward to hear the historic words.
'Happy birthday'
The atmosphere was electric.

New Generation Africa understands that amongst the wild celebration and enduring happiness there was also time for reflection and according to our source the one voice that stood out or sums up the cost of Freedom for Southern Sudan is that of (Mary Akoch widow):
"The young will go to the bars, but there are many like me who will remember the cost of this achievement, the deaths of so many of our people”
One woman, like hundreds of others, waved a southern flag.
"This is the symbol of the 193rd country in the world," she shouted, followed by an ear-splitting ululation.
One group of young men came with candles rammed into plastic drink bottles, pre-emptively welcoming in the birth of the new nation.
"Happy birthday our country, happy birthday Southern Sudan," they sang, arms draped around each other in celebration.
The south is not due to declare formal independence until 9 July.
"I was born in war, and I grew up as a soldier," said Robert Duk, a student. "So for me to see this day, something I dreamed of but never could believe, is something I find hard to put into words."
'Great relief'
Despite the excitement following the result, people quickly sat down to listen to the next speech, intent on hearing all that was said.

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