A quest for sustainable peace in South Sudan: the role of everyday religious practices, ceremonies and rituals in robust peacebuilding

by Winnie Bedigen

15 Mar 2022
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
23 (pp. 55-77)

Abstract: Since 1955, South Sudan has had intermittent civil wars, and sustainable peace has been difficult to attain. There have been numerous attempts that include major international and national political and economic initiatives. Among the social initiatives, The New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), perceived to represent all religious practices and people, was considered an essential tool in uniting all South Sudanese, ending conflicts and achieving sustainable peace both within the communities and nationally. However, the inclusion of the NSCC, which represents mainly Christianity and includes Muslim religious leaders, has not delivered sustainable peace. This article utilises ethnographic data to present a socioreligious perspective. It seeks to argue that other South Sudanese indigenous or cultural religious everyday peace practices of ceremonies and rituals can present a robust peacebuilding initiative in the region. It concludes that the inter-relationships of socioreligious practices, an aspect the NSCC peacebuilding processes ignored, are essential in delivering sustainable peace.

Keywords: Conflict, peacebuilding, sustainable peace, everyday peace, religion, ceremonies and rituals,

South Sudan.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 10, supplementary issue 1 (Everyday peacebuilding and practices in Kenya, South Sudan, Somaliland and Ghana).

Sign up to our email newsletters