While Americans celebrated the Fourth of July just a few days ago, a smaller group in Anchorage will be enjoying their own Independence Day this Saturday.
July 9, 2011 marks the official independence of South Sudan from their northern neighbors, and it’s been a long time coming.
Mading Bol is part of the small but vibrant Sudanese community in Anchorage. As chairman of the Alaska Sudanese Community church, Bol can speak to the happiness his congregation is feeling.
“Everybody is very excited to see this happen, because we’ve been in war for years, and to see that South is an independent country now, everybody is very happy.”
Sudan has been in conflict for the majority of its 55-year history. A peace was brokered between North and South Sudan in 2005, but it wasn’t until January of this year that South Sudan, soon to be the Republic of South Sudan, voted to claim their own sovereignty.
Border conflicts are ongoing, but Saturday will be a day of celebration for the many Sudanese refugees that have come to the United States over the past few decades. Bol hopes that with peace and independence, refugees can return to South Sudan to help the nation grow.
Here in Anchorage, Bol invites the community to be a part of the Sudanese Independence Celebration.
“There will be dancing and singing. They are going to cook some traditional foods.”
Bol will also be leading a children’s chorus in singing the new national anthem for the Republic of South Sudan. The event takes place this Saturday, from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Anchorage.