To test the mobile motorbike cinema unit, we drove out from Aweil an hour or so north on poor roads to Wanyjok, where we spent a couple of days showing participatory films. The films were jointly created by Dinka and Misseriya participants, facilitated by the amazing folk at BuildPeace. This is how we got on.
Simon and Deng Deng set up the first screenings, using the solar powered light (included and in post featured image above).
We also screened selected clips from inside the February Dinka-Misseriya peace conference as well as a number of other films (including the South Sudan Theatre Organisation’s Citizen Theatre film).
The first night at the Abyei Community Development Foundation was a good run through, but since the venue had a generator and a TV (which kicked in half way through) it was not a good example of our target location.
However, the kit really came alive on the second night when we drove it through floodwater to a women’s training center just outside town. This place, like the overwhelming majority of Northern Bahr al Ghazal, does not have any access to electricity.
The response was fantastic.
The next morning, we received news that a senior group of Misseriya leaders from the Awlad Kamil Khashm al Bayt (a ‘sub-tribe’ of Misseriya Arabs who traditionally migrate into the Abyei Area) had arrived in the market town of Warawar (home of long standing joint peace committees between Awlad Fayareen Misseriya and Dinka Malual), a further one-hour drive on the road towards the border with Sudan.
It was a remarkable moment in the history of peacebuilding at the borders.
For years, the Awlad Kamil have clashed with Dinka Ngok in Abyei, the most volatile territory along the border between Sudan and South Sudan. In Abyei, local and national interests line up in dangerous ways and still threaten to plunge both countries back to war.
For the first time, the Sudanese pastoralists had come in both numbers and seniority to ask the South Sudanese authorities for support in facilitating peaceful relations with the Ngok. It was a unique moment.
We made the drive to Warawar and used Cine-boda to quickly and easily screen the participatory films.
This communicated directly and viscerally to the Arab delegation the authenticity of peace between Sudanese nomads and local communities in Northern Bhar al Ghazal, as well as the religious tolerance and economic and social benefits.
Read part IV of this series for our technical assessment of Cineboda.