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Nykhor Paul

South Sudan’s supermodel, Nykhor Paul has launched a campaign to highlight violence that has engulfed South Sudan, asking people to set aside ethnic differences, and put down their weapons.

“I’m Nuer, but I’m not a tribe, I’m South Sudanese. I know the resilience of the tribes, but I believe that when the South Sudanese come together, our resilience and determination will be greater than what divides us. I’m stepping out with fellow models from South Sudan, representing various tribes, to show that on the world scale, the tribe you come from doesn’t matter. Hopefully this shows the unity and pride that we should have in ourselves; the peace that can be formed if we put down our weapons and ancient hostilities, we can move up and progress. We are not Nuer or Dinka, we are South Sudan, we are Nilotic (of the Nile).”

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Nykhor Paul

The audacious statement is from the US-based model who teamed up with world-class photographer Mike Mellia and a few other important personalities in South Sudan to give a voice in relation to the dilemma in their country.

“I want to inform the youth and the world about the situation, because it is so important—it has parallels with the genocide that took place in Rwanda. The fighting is between tribes, the two biggest being the Dinka and Nuer. South Sudan was fighting for their independence from the North, for generation. To fall back into this type of conflict against itself, is disheartening and tragic.” “I’m trying to help them see past their tribalism and the fighting, to become more aware of the current issues that are effecting the entire planet, not just a small minority. They need to understand that the world is larger than their tribes. When I travel around the world, to Paris, Germany, wherever, people just notice that I’m a tall, dark skinned girl and wonder “Are you from Sudan?” I don’t have to mention my tribe, they really don’t care about that.” “My message to the tribe is that we are one, we are Nilotic. We are people that came from an old civilization, we are smart, and we are resourceful.”

For an exhibition in April 10, Mellia has produced a portrait of the torment that haunts the lives of the people in South Sudan who have managed to elope , and the lives of those left behind.

See photos below:

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