School and Education in South Sudan

The uninterrupted influence of the Pharaohs of Egypt on the areas the Egyptians called Khus and the Greeks Nubia was one of the main reasons why in the period from the 3rd millennium BCE to around the year 0 it was not possible to develop an independent state in the area. The Pharaohs preferred to have scattered tribes in their hinterland. Therefore, the kingdom of Napata arose in the 8th century BCE, when the decay in Egypt was so advanced that the country could be ruled by foreign dynasties. The last of these was just Sudanese. The kings of Napata conquered Egypt in 730 BCE and ruled the country until 663, where it was conquered by the Assyrians. At the same time, the fall of the dynasty caused its hinterland in Sudan – although not occupied – to fall apart. But in its place, three new kingdoms quickly emerged: Nobatia, Dongola and Alodia, See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in South Sudan.

While the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs in turn took control of Egypt, these kingdoms retained political and cultural autonomy. This was partly due to their position as middlemen between the Mediterranean and Central Africa, from which were supplied slaves, ivory and other goods. Yet the number of major events during this long period is limited: after the influence of Ethiopia, the country in the 6th century converted to Christianity; a century later, the country was invaded by the Arabs, forcing King Dongola to open up to Arab traders and Islam. The cooperation was based on a treaty that lasted for over 600 years.

  • A2zdirectory: Describes prehistory and early history of South Sudan. Includes history from colony to an independent nation.

Around the 14th century, the Christian Nubian kingdoms of Makuria and Alodia collapsed. The collapse coincided with the rise of Arab traders in central Sudan. At the same time, the ethnic groups Dinka, Shilluk and Luo began to take over. They came from the Sudd field. Archaeological studies show that since 3000 BCE, this area had been inhabited by cattle farmers. Other studies show that Dinku and the other groups entered the Iron Age during this period, and this was instrumental in their political expansion.

South Sudan Country Flag

South Sudan flag source:

The kingdom of Shilluk extended from the late 15th century east to the areas around the White Nile. It was led by the legendary King Nyikang, who is believed to have led the kingdom for approx. 1,490 to 1,517. He gained control of the White River’s west bank as far north as Kosti in Sudan. The kingdom’s economy was based on cattle farming, grain cultivation and fishing. Intensive agriculture was involved, and in the 17th century the population density of the kingdom corresponded to the density along the Egyptian Nile.

While the Dinka people were increasingly protected and isolated from its neighbors, Shilluk was involved in international affairs. While Shilluk controlled the western side of the Nile, the eastern one was controlled by Funj night and there were frequent conflicts between the two. Shilluk operated on canoes and was therefore able to carry out needle-stick operations across the Nile. Funj had a standing army consisting of cavalry, which enabled them to control parts of the Sahel.

In the middle of the 17th century, Shilluk waged 30 years of war over the control of trade routes on the Nile. It happened in alliance with the Sultanate of Darfur and the Kingdom of Takali. But when Takali eventually had to capitulate, the war ended in Funj’s favor. Later in the century Shilluk and Funj allied against Jieng, a kingdom led by Dinkas who grew up in the border area between Shilluk and Funj. Shilluk’s political structure gradually became more centralized under the leadership of a king. The most important of these was King Tugo who reigned in 1690-1710. He established Shilluk’s capital Fashoda. During the same period, a gradual collapse occurred in Funj, giving Shilluk full control over the Nile and its trade routes. The kingdom’s power was based on this control over the river.

In the 17th century, the Azande people entered southern Sudan, where they established the region’s largest state. The group remains the third largest ethnic group in South Sudan. They are found in Maridi, Iba, Yambio Nzara, Ezon, Tambura and Nagere counties in the tropical rainforest area and in Bahr el Ghazal. In the 18th century, Avungara invaded the area and quickly subdued Azande. The power of Avungara remained largely untouched until the rise of British colonialism in the late 19th century. Geographical barriers shielded the people of the south from the advancement of Islam in the north, and enabled them to preserve their cultural, political and religious institutions. In particular, the Dinka people were fairly safe in the Sudd field areas, where they were protected from outside interference without having any major standing army.

Peace process for South Sudan

The peace negotiations on South Sudan began in 2002, but only in 2005, after international mediation, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was concluded, which consisted of several agreements and protocols signed over an extended period. Negotiations were conducted under the leadership of the IGAD regional organization; Norway and the US also played a key role. As part of the process, an independent observer group based in the United States, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), was launched in 2002, according to an agreement between the parties on civil protection. IGAD then established an international group in 2003, the Verification and Monitoring Team(VMT), which partly took over the tasks after the CPMT. A group of countries, coordinated by Switzerland and with participation from Norway, supported a monitoring mechanism in the Nuba Mountains, the Joint Military Commission (JMC) – also part of the peace process for South Sudan.

The JMC consisted of foreign observers, as well as military personnel from the two parties, under the leadership of the Norwegian Brigadier Jan-Erik Wilhelmsen – and had the task of monitoring the separate peace agreement on the Nuba Mountains, signed between the Sudan government and the SPLM in January 2002. JMC in 2005 transferred his assignments to the United Nations Mission United Nations Mission in the Sudan. In May 2004, several agreements between the government and the SPLM were signed in Naivasha, Kenya, based on the so-called Machakos protocol, which in 2002 was signed between the government and the SPLM. On the basis of these, a complete peace agreement with permanent ceasefire was signed; finally signed on January 9, 2005. The agreement covered a number of matters, the most important of which is autonomy for South Sudan for six years, after which a referendum would be held on the region’s future, with detachment and own state formation as one alternative. As a result of the agreement, South Sudan gained its own government and president, headquartered in Juba.

Other key issues are the distribution of key positions in the central administration, the distribution of oil revenues and the repeal of Sharia law in the south. Alongside political power, Sudan’s large oil deposits have played a significant role in the peace process: Both the Khartoum central governmentand the regional government in Juba is dependent on the revenues from oil exports, which they used on their respective sides, following the 2005 agreement, to build up their respective armed forces. Oppositionists in the east and north have demanded that a greater part of the oil-based revenues fall to development purposes in these areas. A key underlying feature of the agreement was that it would help to end South Sudan’s marginalization as well as open up resources to other marginalized areas of the country, financed through revenues from oil exports.

As a result of the peace process, a new Sudanese government was established for a transitional period of six years, as well as a new National Assembly, where the NCP government got 52 percent of the representatives, SPLM 28 percent; the others were divided between opposition parties. SPLM was assigned to the office of Vice President, who accrued to SPLM’s head John Garang; Omar al-Bashir continued as president. Before the new government was deployed, Garang died in a helicopter crash on July 30, 2005, and was succeeded by Salva Kiir Mayardit. In the South Sudanese government, according to the peace agreement, the SPLM was allocated 70 percent of the seats, and the NCP 10 percent; the other 20 percent was distributed to other parties in the south. The distribution of power at the state level was also regulated. Special regulations applied to the states of South Kordofan, the Blue Nile and the Abyei region, which are outside what is defined as South Sudan, but which are politically and culturally closely related to this region.

Under the peace agreement, forces from the Sudanese army were to withdraw from South Sudan, and a united defense was being built, in parallel with a reduction in the number of soldiers on both sides; a UN-sponsored disarmament program involving 180,000 soldiers was launched in 2009. At the same time, the SPLM retained – and strengthened – its military branch SPLA as the state’s own defense, and both sides prepared. A serious ceasefire breach took place in November 2006, when fighting broke out between the SPLA and the government-backed militia at the city of Malakal. The peace agreement underwent a new critical phase when the SPLM departed from the central government in October-December 2007 as the party felt that the peace agreement was not complied with, partly because government soldiers from the north were not pulled out of the oil fields in the south. Peace was further under pressure as a result of fighting over Abyei in May 2008.United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNIFSA).

Based on the peace agreement, the UN Security Council in 2005 decided to establish a military force to monitor the peace agreement, the United Nations Mission in the Sudan, with participation from Norway as well. Prior to this, a political mission, the United Nations Advance Mission in the Sudan (UNAMIS), was established in 2004 to prepare the military effort. In the same year, UNAMIS extended its mandate to include tasks related to the conflict in Darfur. Norwegian diplomat Tom Vraalsen was appointed by the President of Sudan in 2005 to lead an international peace commission in Sudan tasked with overseeing the peace agreement for South Sudan, and following developments in Darfur. The Vraalsen was followed in 2008 by Derek Plumbly from the UK.

In line with the ceasefire agreement, a referendum on the future of South Sudan was held on February 7, 2011, with 98.8 percent voting for secession. South Sudan then became an independent state on July 9, 2011. Sudan accepted the vote and approved the release. The relationship between the two states equally brought some tension, underlined by the South Sudanese government interrupting talks with Sudan in March, and accused the government of planning a coup in the south. After independence, several unresolved issues remain, including border demarcation and the future of Abyei; the latter situation was further militarized in the summer of 2011 after Sudanese forces took over the area, and a separate UN force, the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei(UNISFA), was inserted. The situation in Abyei is a potential source of conflict between the two Sudan states. In June 2011, the parties agreed to establish a demilitarized zone of ten kilometers depth on each side of the border line, established after mediation by the African Union, led by South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki. Several economic issues were also unresolved, including the distribution of oil revenues and debt, as well as issues of citizenship in Sudan and South Sudan, respectively. At the split, an estimated one-fourth of the old state’s total population ended up in South Sudan, which accounts for about one-third of the total land area. Up to 80 percent of the known oil deposits are found in South Sudan.