WRESTLING FOR PEACE

South Sudan, April & May 2017

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 2011 becoming the world newest country as the outcome of an agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. The independence did not bring conflict in South Sudan to an end.

In 2013 a new civil war started between President Salva Kiir of the Dinka ethnicity, and his deputy Machar, of the Nuer ethnic group. The conflict which begun as a political struggle is now transformed into a full blown ethnic war.

Since the beginning of 2017, several region of South Sudan have been experiencing a famine and cholera outbreak.

In this scenario, the Solidarity Ministries Africa for Reconciliation & Development (SMARD) with the support of UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion organized the tournament of “Wrestling for Peace” in the new stadium in Mingkaman, in the central region of Lakes State. Wrestling is the most popular sport in South Sudan, and the competition aims to provide a space in which to build peace, supporting reconciliation initiatives and creating a safe spaces between the communities - in particularly between the people from the cattle camps, who are the most involved in the tribal violence.

With more than 4,000 spectators, the tournament consisted of 15 matches between Awerial County North and Awerial County South who won the competition, winning eight of the matches.