Pretoria Image: Name: Zacharia Abuoi Arok | Age: 78 | Location: Nimule | Origin: Panyagor, Twic East County-Jonglei

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Blue Bulls
Image by Oxfam East Africa
I have lived many years and know how we lived before all the wars. We were cattle keepers and could move freely grazing our bulls. Yes, there were clashes and fights like in every society, but they were small and could be resolved with time and reason. There were traditional systems that worked. We were free to travel and see different lands, meet new people and share our experiences, all the while trading in cattle and making money. This has not been the reality for a long time.

I was in Bor with my family when the fighting broke out. I told them to run because I am old and disabled. I lost my leg during the first war. I was left alone and on the first day, men walked into my house. They were Nuer. One of them saw me and wanted to kill me but his friend stopped him in his tracks.

He looked at the young man and asked, ‘Look at this man. If you kill him, what will you accomplish? This man has done nothing wrong to you and yet you want to kill him. What will you gain from doing that?’

The young man lowered his gun and left the house. I don’t know the name of the man who saved my life but I am very grateful for what he did. Before he left, he looked at me and said, ‘Stay here and don’t make any noise. I will lock the door behind me. Do not open it for anyone else.’

That man saved my life. I wish I knew his name and where to find him so that I can thank him again.

‘He gives me hope that there is still room for healing despite all wounds we have endured.
There is still hope if our systems transform towards reconciliation and healing.’

Photo: Mackenzie Knowles Coursin/Oxfam

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About Alan

My ethos is espoused in the words of Nelson Mandela: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. If need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

You will always find me standing on the side of the underdog OR HERE.