'I chatted up a South Sudanese in Java Koinange. Dressed in an impeccable cream-coloured suit with matching socks and tie. His long limbs and poking shoes gave his nationality away. When he ordered food and tea, by using what resembles army instructions to the female waitresses, he also gave his history away.
A little later he also gave his tribe away.
I asked him where he was from and what he was up to in Nairobi, what he worked with. 'I'm from Upper Nile, Nassir, I'm with Riek Machar', he said. 'I'm here'. Kama. Nipo.
'Ok', I said, noting: 'Nuer!' to myself. Nassir had a hard time this week as fighting broke out (again). 'Where did you put Riek then? In the village or in Hotel 680 down Mhindi Mbingo Street?' I asked. He laughed a big, toothy smile, and said: 'Riek is in Addis. Nassir, we handled'.
I asked him: 'Sema, when will there be peace?' 'On the 30th', he answered, much to my surprise, and to be honest he lost me there. He went on arguing that even in World War 2 innocent people lost their lives, that if the democratic system isn't respected, then it is okay fine to kill.
To underline his points he then explained that he had actually studied conflict and peace building here in Nairobi, and that next step is a ph.d. in South Africa. He topped it up with a personal warning. The kind of kindness only a fighter serves: 'Don't go to Jonglei in near future. We're coming there'.
You see, South Sudan, life in the villages, doesn't scare me. Men like these do.'
Photo from Bor, Jonglei, South Sudan, 2013.