south sudan


“After the room broke out into chants of “black lives matter,” Kiden Jonathan rose from her seat, wailing and screaming.Jonathan was a longtime friend of Andrew Loku, the 45-year-old father of five shot dead by Toronto police Sunday. Both were natives of South Sudan, they spoke the same rare dialect, and came to Canada to escape the violence of their war-torn nation.“Andrew survived war [as a child soldier in South Sudan], and then had to be killed here,” Jonathan cried, after collapsing on the ground in the middle of a press conference Thursday to decry Loku’s death.” [1]

“The fatal shooting of Andrew Loku in Toronto on Sunday has prompted a response from community groups saying the man was not a threat and did not deserve to die.They are demanding an action plan to deal with police shootings of black people — especially those with mental health issues. One woman was so upset that she collapsed in tears during the news conference.Loku, 45, was a father of five who was wielding a hammer and apparently distressed at an apartment complex before he was shot by police. Robin Hicks witnessed the event and said things quickly escalated toward a shooting.” [2]

Andrew Loku  was a kind, hardworking man who lived alone in Toronto. This man survived war as a child solider in South Sudan. He was trying to bring his wife and five children, who range in age from early to late teens, to Canada from South Sudan.

After years working odd jobs, Loku enrolled in George Brown College’s Construction Program in hopes of getting a better job, which would allow him to send more money back home to support his family.  After visiting his family in June, Andrew graduated from George Brown.

Andrew’s life came to a tragic and premature end in the early hours of Sunday, July 5th when he was shot by police.

Our hearts go out to Andrew’s family and friends, and to the South Sudanese community.

Please help CMHA Toronto and Across Boundaries raise funds to help with the costs of Andrew’s funeral, and to provide support to his wife and five children in South Sudan. [3]

Here is the link if you would like to donate:






boys from the majority dinka tribe of south sudan – seen here in a wut, or cattle camp –   accompany their namesake ox everywhere into adulthood, in the hopes that they will mature with the same strength and beauty. named after their favoured ox in a coming of age ceremony, the boys will thereafter treat the animals as part of their families.

at the onset of the dry season, which typically begins in november and lasts until may, the dinka will move their herds from savannah settlements where they raise grain crops to cattle camps along the nile where they can take advantage of the grasslands.

despite the presence of the river, agriculture and fishing are negligible in south sudan. cattle herding is the most important cultural and economic activity, with more than 80 percent in south sudan reliant on livestock for their livelihoods.

the ox generate nourishment, fuel, clothing, draught power for crop production, and cash for things such as grain and school fees. they are stores of wealth which provide not only prestige and cultural value, but a sense of security, particularly during ever increasing times of drought.

complicating matters for the dinka is internecine political violence, which prevents many from planting crops during the wet season, leading to fears of famine, and which prevents un aid workers from vaccinating their ox, which have a calf mortality rate of 50 percent.  

south sudan gained independence from the north in 2011, and pro south dinka farmers have been in conflict with the cattle herding misseriya arab tribesmen who favor partition from the south. a cattle raiding feud between rival ethnic groups, which has left some 100,000 displaced, has also broken out.

despite the importance of cattle, 98 percent of south sudan’s wealth comes from oil, and fighting continues between rebels from ethnic minorities and a dinka dominated south sudanese government that is accused of siphoning off billions in oil revenues from china.  

photos by angela fisher, carol beckwith and goran tomasevic


Also, nose chains are not exclusive to Indians only. 

 Above photo of Nyangatom woman of Ethiopia  wearing a nose chain.

 (@GodGazi, thank you for helping make this point clear also via Twitter)

Series: The Most Important Thing - Dowla, 22

Several months before this picture was taken, repeated bombing raids forced Dowla, 22, and her six children to flee their village in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. The most important object she was able to bring with her is the wooden pole balanced over her shoulder, with which she carried her six children during the 10-day journey from Gabanit to South Sudan. At times, the children were too tired to walk, forcing her to carry two on either side. Doro refugee camp, Maban County, South Sudan.

UNHCR/B. Sokol

SOUTH SUDAN, Naurus : A man from the Toposa tribe in Naurus, Greater Kapoeta on May 24, 2014. The Toposa of South Sudan are closely related to the Turkana of Kenya, Karamoja of Uganda, and Merille of Ethiopia. Together, they form the largest ethnic group in eastern Africa covering the Elemi triangle. AFP PHOTO / ALI NGHETI