'Write for Peace'
Story Writing Workshops and Competition
South Sudanese youth writing for change
In June 2020, Rights for Peace held a week of online workshops for South Sudanese youth, exploring identity-based biases and stereotyping alongside creative writing and storytelling. These workshops were co-led by Mariana Goetz, founder of Rights for Peace, and Alith Cyer Mayar, who is a writer, poet and founder of the Writers’ Writing Fellowship in South Sudan.
Rights for Peace and the Writers Writing Fellowship ran a complimentary story writing competition open to South Sudanese youth aged 14-35 - 'Write for Peace'. The competition called for stories that could act as powerful counter-narratives to challenge intercommunal divisions and biases, promote peace values and encourage critical thinking.
The winning story will be illustrated, printed and distributed across South Sudan to be both a resource for youth in countering identity-based hate as well as a literacy support.
Read about the winning writers and their stories below, as well as the many other young writers who entered the competition:
Photo: Patrick Tomasso -unsplash.com/@impatrickt
Meet the Judges...
Meet All the Writers...
'PUT OUT HATE WITH LOVE', AWIEN ROSE
The winning story, entitled 'Put Out Hate With Love' was written by 22-year old Awien Rose:
'Put Out Hate With Love' tells the story of young Awien, who is taught by her mother to avoid ‘Mama Kiden’, a market-seller from a different tribe. In the end it is Mama Kiden who comes to rescue young Awien, breaking the animosity amongst the adults.
The fact that I grew up in a not so peaceful environment, inspired me to write the story. It's sad but sometimes our parents and relatives actually teach us to hate other people different from us, other tribes. Not directly telling us to hate them but by telling us to stay away from them or being careful when we are around them. All that inspired me to write the story.
I hope that the winning story will achieve some aspect of peace. I hope South Sudanese youth will read it, have a change of mind and work towards achieving peace in out nation because it is a collective responsible that we all made take up.
'EMBRACING DIVERSITY THROUGH MARRIAGE', BRENDA JOHNSON SEBIT
Brenda Johnson Sebit is a 20-year old volunteer peace agent and lover of writing:
Brenda’s story explores how prejudice can infiltrate into a marriage between two different tribes, and also portrays a woman’s feeling of exclusion from the peace movement, showing that instead, women are important and powerful agents for change.
My source of inspiration came from the fact that other women are restricted from marrying other tribesmen which is a huge hindrance to peace and also the feeling of inferiority that most women have that prevents them from being empowered to play huge important roles in society.
THIRD PLACE joint
'THE OLD WIDOW', KIJU EMMANUEL
25-year-old Kiju Emmanuel, from Central Equatorial State of South Sudan, loves reading and writing novels:
Story Synopsis: ‘The Old Widow’ tells the story of the importance of education and the empowerment of women, as Akot, a qualified lawyer (the ‘Old Widow’s’ daughter) is able to prevent her mother’s home being usurped by long-lost male relatives, who believe a woman cannot inherit land.
I was inspired by a story that my friend had told me. She had expressed great disappointment at the fact that she could not inherit her father's property because she was a girl and the property instead distributed to her uncle's sons.
THIRD PLACE joint
'ABOUT JOP AND AJOP COMMUNITIES', MOSES TABAN EJIDIO
Also awarded joint third place is Moses Taban Ejidio, a teacher and writer based in Juba:
Story Synopsis: ‘About Jop and Ajop Communities’ explores a long-standing conflict between two communities, but when the Ajop community shows mercy and frees a member of Jop community, the Jop community recognises the impact that narratives passed down from elders have had on creating biased perceptions of the Ajops.
I am passionate about writing and currently in the process of writing books. In writing my story, I got inspiration from my community.
I hope the winner will inspire young people to get involved in writing stories which will build South Sudan into a peace-loving state.