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 '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:

Click here to see the published Storybook! 

Photo: Patrick Tomasso

Meet the Judges...

Meet All the Writers...

Nakang Lilian Sebit

I'm Nakang Lilian Sebit. I studied bachelors in human rights, peace and humanitarian intervention. I chose to get involved in this project because I felt it will be a platform to advocate for peace in my country.

The fact that my country has been undergoing untold conflict inspired me to write about peace because with one another we can build. In my story, the wounds of the other are treated by the enemy, which shows the care we need for one another.

I hope the winning story will bring a sense of unity in diversity into reality.

Emmanuel Taban

I'm South Sudanese, currently living in Uganda as a refugee. I’m a poet, a writer and a Pan-Africanist. I desire to be journalist.

As an artist, I strongly believe in the power of writing and I hope that it can be an opportunity and an avenue to create a change on the current prejudice.


I am Mabior Akuei, a Dinka by tribe and a South Sudanese by nationality, currently residing at Adjumani district as a refugee in Uganda.

My story was inspired by how unity and peaceful resolution of conflicts can lead to permanent peace in South Sudan. I hope that the winning story will change negative perceptions such as stigmatisation, stereotyping, hate speech and inter-communal violence, and bring peace to South Sudan through embracing her multicultural values and building social capacities for reconciliation and peaceful co- existence among the 64 tribes in south Sudan.


“...Jumping up, we ran to Bol and started arguing, sparking off the fight.

Quickly, our warriors joined and the church was soon filled with shouts, cries, and blood..."


"So never generalise a crime I committed to my Dinkaness, Nuerness, Murlenss, Kukuness, Pojuluness, Kakwaness, Toposaness, Muruness, Mundariness, Lotukoness, Balandaness and the rest of the tribes because it is not my tribe which has done it but me as an individual..."


"...Once upon a time, there lived 4 bulls - a white bull, a red bull, a black bull and a reddish-black bull. They were great friends living together in peace and harmony. They used to do everything together and they prospered..."

Garang Wa Chawuoch

I'm Garang Chawuoch. I hail from Jonglei State and grew up in refugee camps for the better part of my life.

My story was inspired by the fact that we are duty-bound as individuals to embrace our cultural diversities and forge harmony. I do adhere to traditions and culture but I feel there is a dire need to be open-minded in order to retire some repressive cultural ideologies that promote hatred and widen rifts among communities.

Theresa Nyalong

I am a blogger, writer, poet, activist and a feminist.

I chose to take part in the project because I believe I am the only one who can best tell my own story. What inspired my story is my life story - basically the story is my own.

Losike Albert Koteen

I have passion for writing especially peace articles. I’m driven by the notion that the pen is mightier than the sword. This is thus a good avenue to promote peace.


I have witnessed prejudice and hate and bias in communities around me. The resulting effects are extreme ends of mistrust, blame and finger pointing that often time result in violence.

I hope the winning story achieves peace. Every society is strengthened in its diversity. Readers will thus learn that people can coexist in harmony. The story shall have played a role is preventing future events of similar nature.


“…Earlier Today, my villages elders had summoned me under a giant lang tree for a talk.

One elder cleared his throat, “Son, We’ve learnt with dismay about your love intentions to bring to this land a Jurcien girl for a wife. We condemn that."..."


"...Two minutes later after delivery, Ella’s mother dies at birth. This unexpected death astonished the entire house hold especially Ella’s father. Responsibilities became hectic, monitoring a child and work..."


"...People tend to see groups they’re not a part of as more homogeneous than their own group. When you meet a person who’s a member of an outgroup, you’re less likely to individuate them, to pay attention to individual characteristics, than when you meet members of your ingroup..."

Matong Chuokel

 I was born from Dinka and Nuer parents of Jonglei state and I grew up seeing many forms of tribalism and hatred.

All I ever heard was negativity from both tribes toward each other, their words made me feel always lonely and I couldn’t relate to anyone. I always felt confused for I love both my parents and I feel related to both tribes, but I got no side.

I want nobody of my fellow country men to feel that strong and dangerous emotions of hatred, trauma and tribalism.

Only youth can change the cause of history by inspiring and loving one another...

Malith Monicah Nyareng

I am Malith Monicah Nyareng, a South Sudanese. I have a background story traced to the cattle camp. I was raised by nomadic parents.

My story is inspired by the fact that we are at a moment where everyday crisis rises. And the very major thing is that as citizens, either the governing and the governed, we don't admit our failures and pointing fingers at each other is where everything gets worst. The people of this country are diverse but division is a threat as we put blame on the entire tribe even if an individual commits a crime. 

We must stand with those who stand right, and stand with them while they're right.

Lino Arop

I'm Lino Arop Kuol, a student at Starford International University, Juba. I'm also an avid reader and writer of short stories. I dream of being a novelist, I believe this to be my life's calling.

I got involved in this project because I'm a firm believer of change through literature. Stereotypes are very common in South Sudan today, be it based upon gender, tribe or region. I want to be part of those responsible for the end of suffering caused by biases.

Matong Chuokel.jpg

"...One day youths with visions and ambitions towards the country will be given space to transform South Sudan in one peace.

Let’s be optimistic about our future, the future of our children and generations to come as well as the future of our beloved country, South Sudan..."


"...We like pointing fingers at one another. We conflict in trying to point fingers at each other and we end up breaking into fights. We loosen ourselves in fights and we finally lose our lives..."


"...I know it only costs two hundred and fifty South Sudanese pounds but she looks at my forehead and sees my traditional marks of transition to adulthood and says, “But you are a Dinka! surely, you have the money"..."

Deng Abraham Magok

I'm South Sudanese, aged 23 and a student at the university of Juba.

I chose to get involved in this project because I feel we as the youth should be agents of peace and we need to use every opportunity we get as a tool to promote peace within our communities.

My story was inspired by conflicts between the pastoralist and non-pastoralist communities.

Deng Abraham Magok

I'm South Sudanese, aged 23 and a student at the university of Juba.

I chose to get involved in this project because I feel we as the youth should be agents of peace and we need to use every opportunity we get as a tool to promote peace within our communities.

My story was inspired by conflicts between the pastoralist and non-pastoralist communities.

Taban Nuai Deng

Taban Nuai Deng is South Sudanese by nationality. He grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya (Kakuma) and currently living in an internally Displaced persons (IDP) camp, Juba. 


He is involved in community outreach including  teaching and training on non-violence and  child protection in camps.

I was inspired by my struggle in my country and choose to continue dream by writing many stories and to make south Sudan free from prejudices, biases and other discrimination.


"...He briefly told us stories of how great and beautiful our community was before the pastoralists and cattle keepers arrived, how they could grow plenty of food and crops but now being destroyed by the grazing cows..."


"...John was a South Sudanese citizen. When he was 15 years old he joined the army. He had very little formal education, just five years of primary school. He came from a poor peasant family, he could see few opportunities for improving his life. ..."

"...Mr. Madol was a cattle keeper in his circular village. A nomadic pastoralist, a handsome lanky and strong guy. A tall giant South Sudanese with twenty four cultural teeth. A prestigious cattle keeper with grouped herds of cattle..."



The winning story, entitled 'Put Out Hate With Love' was written by 22-year old Awien Rose:


"...Kiden makes her way in front of Achol’s house going to the market when she spots Achol’s 12 year daughter whom she stops to greet. Achol however shows up, grabs her daughter by the hand and pulls her back in her fence as she warned her about how bad the ‘Kuku’ people are..."

'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 our nation because it is a collective responsible that we all made take up.



Brenda Johnson Sebit is a 20-year old volunteer peace agent and lover of writing:


"The more she got confronted, the stronger she became. She didn’t have to give up but faced challenges positively.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the power of women"..."

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.



25-year-old Kiju Emmanuel, from Central Equatorial State of South Sudan, loves reading and writing novels:


'Akot emerged from her mother’s hut dressed like a lawyer.

There was an air of elegance and superiority about her as she approached the two men. And all of them were amazed...'

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.



Also awarded joint third place is Moses Taban Ejidio, a teacher and writer based in Juba:

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-24 at

"...The two sisterly communities of Jop and Ajop have been in along era of conflicts among themselves for over 30 years. The cause of these conflicts was folded from the young warriors…"

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.



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