Can Archivists Save the World’s Newest Nation?
Meet the archivists, folklorists, and curators fighting to preserve South Sudan’s history—and end its civil war.
JUBA, South Sudan — In a classroom off the main dirt road of a sprawling UN camp, a man in a leopard-print tunic is standing by a whiteboard, explaining to a dozen students how 64 tribes can coexist in the world’s newest country. On the board he’s scrawled, “Cultural Diversity in South Sudan.”
“We have good diversity here,” says Deng Nhial Chiok, “but we need more security. We want to hear our languages—the 64 languages of South Sudan.”
Chiok is the senior inspector of folklore and festivals at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. He is also a product of the young country’s rich diversity, born to a mother from the Dinka tribe and a father from the Nuer.
When a civil