PHOTO: Patrick Gorham/AfricaWrites.com
PHOTO: Patrick Gorham/AfricaWrites.com

These kids in Southern Sudan, Africa, are children of the Wokowu Oke, or “Arrow Boys,” who are traditional archer teams and defenders of the villages. They live in Malakia Village, Western Equatorial State. Soon, they may have a brand new country. Starting on January 9, citizens of Southern Sudan voted on whether or not they want to be independent from Sudan. The vote is part of a treaty that ended a 21-year civil war that killed over two million people.

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SUDAN SNAPSHOT

Geography: Sudan is the largest country in Africa. It is mostly flat with mountains in the far south, northeast and west, and desert dominates the north. The Nile River runs northward through the country.

Population: 42 million; 41% are under 15 years old

Religions: 70% Muslim, 25% animist or indigenous, 5% Christian

People: Black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, other 3%

Languages: Arabic and English (official), and Fujulu, Nubian, Ta Bedawie, dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages

History: People have lived in permanent settlements in what is now Sudan for 8,000 years. Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1956. Northern Sudan is mostly Arab and Muslim while the South is Christian and Animists. These differences and colonial occupation by Britain and Egypt contributed to several civil wars in Sudan.

See also: Meet…Joyce from Sudan