Describing South Sudan in the language of the North

“In a relatively short time, Ms. Gaitano, 33, has built a distinguished reputation as a writer who brings to life the experiences of the South Sudanese, who have endured war and displacement as their fragile new country formed and then threatened to disintegrate. More than that, though, she does it in Arabic, a language of the country they broke away from.”

Fascinating look at how language, politics, violence, and culture interact. Stella Gaitano is a multilingual South Sudanese award-winning writer who writes about South Sudanese experiences. She does so beautifully and movingly, but strikingly, in Arabic, a language mostly spoken in Sudan, the enemy of South Sudan. What does this mean for her stories, her audience, and the potential for cultural reconciliation between the two countries?


“I love the Arabic language. I am like writers who write in a language other than their own; I am no different.” – Stella Gaitano

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