Ana Taban's members do not limit themselves to theatrical performances. Bright murals with messages calling for peace, created by its members, can be seen on walls around Juba.
Ana Taban's members do not limit themselves to theatrical performances. Bright murals with messages calling for peace, created by its members, can be seen on walls around Juba.

South Sudanese activists are using music, poetry, theatre, comedy, dance and fashion to preach tolerance in the world's youngest nation, which has been divided by years of civil war.

Dancers on stage at an open-mic event organised by Ana Taban at Aggrey Jaden Cultural Centre & Cinema, in Juba, South Sudan, April 23, 2017. (Reuters)
Dancers on stage at an open-mic event organised by Ana Taban at Aggrey Jaden Cultural Centre & Cinema, in Juba, South Sudan, April 23, 2017. (Reuters)

In 2011, South Sudan won independence from Sudan. However, in 2013, it descended into war after President Salva Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar. This unleashed a conflict amongst armed factions often along ethnic lines.

Supporters on both sides, many of whom reside outside of the country due to the conflict, have taken the hostilities to the Internet. On Facebook and Twitter, they take on each other with posts that are sometimes deemed hate speech.

Ana Taban, which means "I'm tired" in Arabic, is a group of young musicians, fashion designers and poets who are using art and culture to demand peace in their homeland.

"I hope for better-serviced institutions, better opportunities for youth, a country where I don't need to be from a specific tribe," said Ayak Chol Deng, 31, an epidemiologist, spoken word poet and activist who co-founded the group about a year ago.

The group holds regular open-air performances around the capital Juba and in other towns to call for peace and to educate their fellow citizens. They stress the need for a non-violent resolution of the conflict that has cost thousands of lives.

Musician Vama Joseph Zaki performs during an open mic event organised by Ana Taban at Aggrey Jaden Cultural Centre & Cinema, in Juba, South Sudan, April 23, 2017. (Reuters)
Musician Vama Joseph Zaki performs during an open mic event organised by Ana Taban at Aggrey Jaden Cultural Centre & Cinema, in Juba, South Sudan, April 23, 2017. (Reuters)

Meen Mabior Meen, 30, a rap musician and founding member of Ana Taban, said it is a platform for the youth to tackle issues that can change the country. He spoke at his home in Juba, sitting next to the crib of his newborn child.

Ana Taban's members do not limit themselves to theatrical performances. Bright murals with messages calling for peace, created by its members, can be seen on walls around Juba.

Murals made by members of Ana Taban, are seen on walls in Juba, South Sudan, April 23, 2017. (Reuters)
Murals made by members of Ana Taban, are seen on walls in Juba, South Sudan, April 23, 2017. (Reuters)

"We are focused on bringing the country together, bringing people together. We are neutral, we are non-partisan," said Jacob Bul Bior, 28, a radio and theatre actor.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies