With hands on hearts, south Sudanese singers practise a song for their homeland. If the south chooses independence in the on-going, week-long referendum, it will be the new national anthem for potentially the world's youngest country. Students from Juba University in the southern capital were selected after a Sudanese-style X Factor talent show for musicians in front of cheering crowds. Excitement is building in the south at the prospect of independence from former civil war enemies in the north. In a baking hot concert hall in the steamy southern Sudanese capital, singer after singer took to the stage to perform their attempt at a new tune for their homeland. The packed hall went wild at the end of each song, with people leaping to their feet and waving their hands in support. Musicians were keen to make a change from the military-style march of Sudan's current national anthem. The winner, from students and teachers at Juba University, wrote a softer, lighter tune - although critics say it struggles at times to squeeze the lyrics into the music.
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In his film, Beats of the Antonov , director Hajooj Kuka proves how music can cultivate identity, even in times of war. Shot over a period of two years and released in , the film takes place in the mountainous region of South Kordofan, Sudan and in the midst of the Sudanese civil conflict. Southern Kordofan is the epicenter of a war between the predominantly Christian and animist Southern population and the predominantly Muslim government of Khartoum in the North. Kuka, a journalist who arrived in the region to document its unrest, discovers the reality is far from what he expected. Despite the instability and the Antonov bombers, life goes on, continuing through music.
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It gained independence from the Republic of the Sudan in , making it the most recent sovereign state or country with widespread recognition. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd , formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal meaning "Mountain Sea". Sudan was occupied by Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and was governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence in A second Sudanese civil war soon broke out, ending in with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July , following South Sudan has a population of 12 million, mostly of the Nilotic peoples , and it is demographically among the youngest nations in the world, with roughly half under 18 years old. The Dinka are the largest, Nuer the second largest, the Zande the third-largest, and the Bari the fourth-largest of South Sudan's ethnic groups.
South Sudan's ambassador to Ethiopia is dismissing reports that relations are strained between the two countries after President Salva Kiir visited Egypt and met with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo earlier this month. South Sudan's Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, James Pitia Morgan, made the remarks after some Ethiopian and South Sudanese media outlets reported that South Sudan and Egypt signed what they called a "dirty deal" to arm Ethiopian opposition groups based in South Sudan who aim to sabotage the big dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River. Egypt has long felt that the massive dam Ethiopia is currently building will decrease its share of Nile waters, despite Ethiopia's assurances that it won't. This raised tensions between the two countries and the Ethiopian Prime Minister recently charged that "some elements within the Egyptian government" are supporting the unrest in his country. Despite the tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt, South Sudan wants to have good relations with both, said Morgan. Tewolde Mulugeta, spokesman for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreed with the ambassador's remarks saying that South Sudan and Ethiopia enjoy good relations. Ethiopia currently hosts close to , South Sudanese refugees, most of whom fled after conflict broke out in the world's newest nation in December , according to U. N estimates. Open main navigation Live TV. Full Schedule.