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Archbishop Deng reports on South Africa visit

Posted on: October 11, 2013 1:42 PM
Related Categories: apjn, Reconciliation, South Sudan

From Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Chairman of the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation (CNHPR)

Juba, 10th October 2013

During the last week of September and the beginning of October 2013 I led a delegation from South Sudan's Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation (CNHPR) to meet key people and institutions who had been part of the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa.

The South Sudanese reconciliation process will be home-grown and will not seek to copy anybody else; indeed that was frequently stressed by the South Africans. Nevertheless the CNHPR can learn lessons, both positive and negative, from other countries' experiences, and South Africa is particularly rich in that regard. Generally all of the South Africans affirmed the process proposed by the Committee.

As important as the lessons learned was the networking. The delegation met the Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Cape Town, Archbishops Thabo Makgoba and Stephen Brislin. Meetings were held with the inter-faith group, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), Alex Boraine (former Deputy Chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and various academics. Particularly moving was meeting Fr Michael Lapsley, who has pioneered 'Healing of Memories' after he lost both his hands and one eye to a letter bomb sent to him by the apartheid regime during the struggle. All of these individuals and institutions pledged to accompany the South Sudanese reconciliation process.

Accompanying me were CNHPR member Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak, technical advisor John Ashworth and my International Co-ordinator, Tim Berke. The trip was largely funded by IJR, with contributions from CPLO and the Anglican Church of South Africa. The CNHPR is extremely grateful for their generosity.

I then went on alone to attend the Synod of the Anglican Church of South Africa in Benoni, Gauteng. There again I had a very positive reception, and the entire leadership of the church affirmed their support for South Sudan. Former President Thabo Mbeki addressed the Synod, and I had the opportunity to meet Mbeki privately and brief him on the situation in South Sudan and particularly concerns about Abyei and the border between the two countries (Sudan and South Sudan.

Following the successful launch of the CNHPR with a nationwide Day of Prayer in July 2013, the Committee has kept a low profile while setting up structures and seeking funds. The Committee is currently in the process of setting up a National Secretariat. Within the next three months we hope to orient the sub-committees in five of the ten states of South Sudan, and in December a Committee meeting, workshop and retreat will be held in Kuron Peace Village. Early in 2014 we plan to launch into the substantive work of consulting widely at all levels in all areas of South Sudan, so that eventually we will be able to set a National Agenda for Reconciliation which will be owned and supported by all.

For further information contact:

Dr Bernard Suwa
Acting Secretary General,  CNHPR or Tel: 0921 037 248