Monday, January 10, 2011

And the new country shall be called . . .

As the referendum for independence kicks off to a jubilant start, with thousands of people turning up to vote in the historic event, the search will soon start for the name of the soon to be born new Country.

Southern Sudan now has a flag and a national anthem. What is left is the name and that will complete the transformation from a region to a country, Africas' 53rd.

Name have been floated ever since the dream about an independent South Sudan started. Names like South Sudan, New Sudan, Kush, Juwama (formed from two letters of each main towns of Juba, Wau and malakal) and event Nile Republic, there is no definite consensus yet. The debate will definitely become intense in the coming months.

It would be good to stake claim to the name Sudan, by adding "New" or "South" to it. The name, meaning "Bilad as Sudan" or "Land of the Black". Many of the people of Northern Sudan are Arabs, not blacks. It suits the people of Southern Sudan more than them. That is, if the Darfurians and the Nubas will not raised hell as well!

The arguements for most of the proposed names are easy, but sometimes quite silly. I have read many articles that proposed many of the names above, but the most plausible arguement for Nile Republic or State of the Nile comes from this article. Some quotes are needed here.

At one point, he (Prof Ali Mazrui) pondered why there was no country in the Nile River basin that bears the name of this great river, best known as the longest river in the world.

He cited examples around the world and in Africa where countries got their names from the rivers that passed through them. Examples in Africa include: Zambia and Zimbabwe, from the Zambezi River; The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, from Congo River; the Republic of Senegal, from the Senegal River, Niger and Nigeria from the River Niger, etc. He reminded his audience that he expected to see a new country emerging on the Nile when Southern Sudanese vote in their referendum in January 2011, and wondered if that was an opportunity for the ancient river.I could not believe my ears because that is the deafening fact that Southern Sudanese need to hear.

This was quite an eye opener. Coul it be the answer?

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