Alex McBride (UK) "South Sudan: The Road to Peace" - Helphoto 2020



United Kingdom

South Sudan: The Road to Peace
Independence freed Sudan from Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1956, and it was a yearning for independence that spurred 50 years of civil war between the north and south of the country soon after. Then in 2011 this same yearning gave birth to the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan. It wasn’t long, however before the infant country descended into a civil war of its own in 2013. Ethnic tensions between the ruling government’s Dinka tribe and the opposition’s Nuer boiled over into bloodshed, which, by the time a ceasefire agreement was hashed out in 2018, had left some 400,000 dead, and millions more displaced from their homes. In February of this year the two sides formed a unified government, with President Salva Kiir now having appointed his civil war rival Riek Machar as his First Vice President. The armies which they lead against one another are to be united as one national army. The tribes they represent which inflicted unspeakable atrocities upon one another in wartime are now to form the society slated to join hands in building a sovereign state together. With a history steeped in rivalry, the odds are stacked against the young nation, and so it is trust that lies at the heart of whether a country can rise out of the ashes of its past or regress once again into flames. Having been taken since the signing of the revitalised peace agreement between the government and rebel opposition in 2018, these photographs map out South Sudan’s tight-rope walk to a new peace, and a people’s unwavering determination to attain the freedom that they envisioned in the formation of a new state: A dream first conceived some 60 years ago.

Alex McBride is a freelance photographer covering political, social and humanitarian issues. He is based in London.

Alex McBride (UK) "South Sudan: The Road to Peace" - Helphoto 2020
Alex McBride (UK) "South Sudan: The Road to Peace" - Helphoto 2020