Monday, August 16, 2010

Drawing the Lines Between North and South Sudan

Following more than two decades of the young nation's second civil war, a yet to be determined group of voters in South Sudan plan to hold a referendum on independence in January 2011. For many in the south, the potential prosperity of an independent South Sudan has been a long time coming. But where will the borders between North and South Sudan lie? The area in question is the subject of this image of the week. While the image is a bit underwhelming, the issues are beyond intriguing.

Because I am fascinated with cartography, independence and Africa it was natural for me to come across a fascinating article written by Rengo Gyyw Rengo,Jr on the website While the original link is gone. You can still access his article here. I followed up with Rengo and have since corresponded with him several times.

While the thought of an independent South Sudan is exciting and has been surprisingly accepted in concept by Omar al-Bashir, much work remains before it can become reality. Recent comments from Khartoum hint at the fact that the North will not support a vote by the South if the precise borders have not been drawn.

I've included a map below showing the regions of Sudan from Wikicommons to give you a frame of reference.

For more info on the regions (such as a legend) check out the Southern Sudan wiki page. It's important to note that the voter pool has not been decided yet and represents another serious challenge before the vote can take place.

After reading al-Bashir's comments on borders I followed up with Rengo and recieved the following:

"Regarding the political atmosphere surrounding the conduct of referendum for South Sudan and those other thorny issues which parties use as preconditions for referendum and lack of political will towards the possible conduct of referendum, its repercussions and so on, are matters to be looked at by all. I have been pondering about the border issue, and I happened to have attended a political rally in Juba on 30th July last month to have a grasp at contentious issues and I can now fairly examine the possibilities ahead in an opinion analysis.

You have given me an honour to now accept to write something about it."

I'm excited that I have a pen pal in south Sudan who attends political rallies in Juba! How cool is that?

I'm looking forward to Rengo's comments and will be sure to post a link when they become available.

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