South Sudan is greatly hailed as a country that hosts one of the darkest- toned groups of individuals in the world. Many of our models like Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Alek Wek, Duckie Thot and Ajak Deng were all scouted due to their unique, rich and mesmerizing complexions. Their distinctive frames and elongated strides have dominated catwalks all around the world. Their striking complexions have presented our people with the edge to take over the fashion industry. 

However, back home and in the various diasporic communities, there are long-held beliefs that our dark skin tones are not to be embraced or celebrated. 

As we look forward to developing our country we, as the youth of the young nation, need to consider how we want to shape and build our nation through all dynamics. One of these avenues includes beauty politics and identity politics focusing on skin bleaching and how it has affected and continues to affect our societies. 

This is the reason the Good Vibes team has embarked on the journey towards contributing to the essential dialogue, without the intent of shaming or attacking anyone but rather as a way of evaluating and analyzing this practice in an attempt to strengthen a positive and proud sense of belonging and value for all people. 


There is no doubt that the contemporary globalized world experiences tremendous racial dilemmas. These dilemmas are a result of decades and centuries of slavery, colonialism, imperialism and capitalism perpetuated by the European and Western world. 

With these socially constructed racial dilemmas, our ideas of beauty and thus beauty practices have been influenced. Bleaching is a phenomenon that has affected many of our societies due to the prevailing racial axis in which they operate. 

Skin bleaching or skin whitening is a practice in which people intentionally attempt to lighten or whiten their skin through the use of creams, lotions, soaps, injections or pills. All these products aim at reducing the amount of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment that cells produce which determine how dark or how light a person’s skin, hair and eye color are; the more melanin one has in their body, the darker one is and vice versa. 

The motivating factor behind skin bleaching is colorism which has created social and racial hierarchies.
It is a product of racist ideologies and a heteronormative neoliberal form of beauty standards which constitutes
the notion that white or lighter skin is attached to good, purity, beauty, intelligence and wealth whilst black or darker skin is connected to bad, evil, unattractiveness, stupidity and poverty. Colorism bears the idea that the closer one is to whiteness the more beautiful, smarter and richer one is. 

However, it is paramount to note that racism alone does not perpetuate this system. Other factors such as class, gender, capitalism and culture of beauty, play major roles influencing the promotion of skin bleaching. 


South Sudan in the post-colonial world offers a unique case because it was dually colonized (by the British and Afro- Arabs) as opposed to most states today having had only one colonial master. The discourse on beauty politics, and in connection to skin color, has always been a taboo despite the practice taking over the South Sudanese community.

During days of colonization and under Sudan’s rule, South Sudanese were considered the outcasts in a predominantly Muslim and Afro-Arab society. Many were prosecuted, judged and shunned from society due to their skin color. South Sudanese lacked access to basic or good education, healthcare, jobs, residences, leisure activities and politics due to their dark complexion. This thus prompted many to seek ways of assimilating with the dominant Arab culture in order to gain social and class mobility.

In present days, skin bleaching has become a coming-of-age ritual for many South Sudanese, especially amongst the female demographic. Young girls are shown where to purchase certain products, how to mix and use the creams as well as being equipped with other tips and tricks. Many neighborhood kiosks in Juba and Khartoum have made accessibility easier by supplying the different creams, soap, lotions and pills necessary in the quest for lighter skin.  

Many wedding preparations are embedded with regimens for skin lightening. Often when a woman is preparing to get married, she is put through a rigorous process of skin bleaching, including not going out most days. She is also meant to shower and re-apply the bleaching products as frequently as three times in a day. 


Many researchers, doctors and cosmetologists have pointed out the detrimental nature of skin bleaching. The main culprits are mercury, hydroquinone and steroids. These various skin whitening creams, soaps, lotions and injections present various risks such as kidney, nerve and/or liver damage, steroid acne, mercury poisoning, neurological complications, various cancers including blood cancer (leukemia), depigmentation, thinning of the skin and abnormalities in newborn babies when used during pregnancy. 

Dr. Allier Nayok, a dermatologist at Juba Teaching Hospital, works hard to shed light on the harmful effects of skin bleaching products. She points out:  “These agents destroy the cell cycle melanocytes, which produce the melanin. The body becomes unable to produce the melanin, the pigment which is responsible for the normal color of the skin. When the pigment is lost, the skin becomes lighter. When this protective function is lost, it’ll be easy for the ultraviolet rays to penetrate the skin and may lead to skin cancer.” 

Moreover, in an interview with CGTN, Dr. Francis Oromo, a medical practitioner at Juba Teaching Hospital points out that:  “Some patients also develop deposition of these toxic agents into some organs like the liver because by the way you apply it on the skin, it’s absorbed in the blood, taken by the blood circulation system and deposited into various organs, that’s the worst part that many people are experiencing.” 

One of the primary reasons that skin bleaching is harmful is because it exposes the skin’s layers to the harmful rays of the sun when it is stripped of its protective cast. The use of sun protection or sunscreens in order to combat the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays is not promoted as much as it should be amongst the bleaching community. Sunscreen works to help the skin fight anti-aging (UVA) and anti- burning rays (UVB). When it is not used when applying skin bleaching products, a person is twice as likely to expose themselves to the repercussions of the sun’s rays. 


Many solutions are presented for combating skin bleaching within our communities. One solution that many governments have implemented is the banning of skin bleaching agents has only made it more expensive to get a hold of the products, but it has not eliminated them.  

Many researchers call on all stakeholders to roll out education mechanisms in order to combat this practice. These educational efforts need to be constantly reinforced through the use of various media outlets such as television, radio, billboards and print media such as newspapers and magazines. 

Kafuki Jada is a Juba resident who also works as a radio presenter for Advance Youth Radio. She hosts a mid-morning show titled The Cool Drive which focuses on providing health education to the youth of South Sudan. She states that, “I have spoken about skin bleaching on the radio show many times. I even brought a doctor from Juba Teaching Hospital to discuss the medical aspects of it. We also had a male and female who have bleached to come on the show to share their stories.”  

and ingredients such as mercury. However, we know that banning some things may not necessarily stop the illegal flow of said products into the market. Informal markets have sprung up and garnered momentum. The banning of the bleaching agents 

When asked about the reception, Jada has stated that it was overwhelmingly negative because they perceived it as an attack rather than a conversation. This comes to show that when we spark these conversations, it must come from a genuine place. Jada also proposes that any education undertaken by the media should be done in a continuous way in which it is spread out through a series of campaigns that last for months or even years. 

We feel that this conversation is just the beginning of the solution and we encourage more discussion and welcome your views around this topic. 


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Coffee Culture (Juba coffee shops review)

Airport Road has become the epicenter of coffee shops in Juba with new ones popping up every day it seems. Some also double up as restaurants but they definitely have the coffee shop vibe. In this article we will be looking at each coffee shop to see which beans they use and what separates them from the rest.

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Wow Café 

Wow Café near the new Zain headquarters on Airport Road was for many the first coffee shop on the strip. The establishment opened two years ago and has been popular with the Ethiopian / Eritrean community and South Sudanese alike. They have had several revamps over the last year and they are always adding something new. The inside seated area is modern and air conditioned where the outside section has more of a traditional Ethiopian coffee house feel. 

The coffee is dark roast Ethiopian made by a barista Paul and the staff are friendly. Definitely worth a visit.  

In House Coffee & Bakery

 In House is situated at Star Apartments opposite Fly Dubai offices. The cute little shop has a variety of coffee that they serve at request from dark roast Ethiopian to mild roast Kenyan beans. The shop also has a bakery and is well known for birthday cakes, pastries and they serve a very appetizing full English breakfast. This shop is perfect for a quiet meeting or a Saturday morning meet up with friends.

Coffee Lounge

Coffee Lounge is quite new on the scene, an air-conditioned cafe serving Ethopian coffee situated directly across from Wow Cafe. The lady barista Sylvia is doing a great job of keeping us caffeine addicts happy. The quick service and a no frills set up is just what you need for a quick meeting or a takeaway americano.

Notos Coffee Shop 

The well known brand Notos who have a flagship restaurant in Juba town serving Indian and continental cuisine have recently branched out and have several coffee shops around town. The branch on Airport Road was originally in Goshen House but recently moved just around the corner to an interesting, groovy set up that doubles as a cash and carry. The warehouse that has been half converted into a coffee shop is actually a cool place to have a coffee and get some work done. The shop has an air-conditioned area where the coffee is made and also a more spacious area that is cooled by fans. Worth checking out if you are in the area

Connect Coffee

Kenyan franchise Coffee Connect is the new kid on the block and opened in June 2021. The coffee shop is situated in Goshen House and in fact it’s the exact same shop that Notos moved out from. The shop expanded and is fitted out with all the style and décor you would expect from a Nairobi Coffee House (very modern). The company roast their own beans on site and are priding themselves as the first coffee roasters in South Sudan although I think some of my aunties might be challenging this claim lol. 

They have a light menu with salads and paninis and drummed up a lot of business in the first few weeks with a 50% discount on everything on the menu. We encourage more coffee shops to also incorporate these types of offers as we the customers love it. 

So as each coffee shop has its own atmosphere and vibe, we will leave it to you to go and judge the coffee for yourself but would love to hear which ones you like best for our next issue. All the coffee shops are fairly priced and we think they are worth a visit whether you are a coffee lover, enjoy tea or just want a space to have a bite to eat. 

by Deng Kon

For more business & lifestyle stories from South Sudan download Good Vibes Magazine issue 3 for $3.50 Usd only. Click download button above

Wode Maya’s Visit to South Sudan

Wode Maya, a Ghanaian YouTube star, was in Juba earlier this year on a ten day visit to collaborate with South Sudanese YouTubers and content creators to present a new and fresh narrative of the country.

 For many years Eng. Berthold Winkler aspired to present a new narrative of Africa and in 2018 brought his vision to life after changing his career direction from an aeronautical engineer in China and became recognized around the world as Wode Maya, a YouTube Vlogger and Digital Media influencer. 

Wode Maya saw the fantastic global opportunity that YouTube offers. It is a global digital media platform that allows creatives to express themselves through a YouTube channel by uploading high-quality videos with interesting scripts. The next step is to grow an audience in order to increase channel subscribers and viewership to qualify for the YPP (YouTube Partner Program), which allows you to monetize your content.

Now as a highly  successful YouTuber,  Wode Maya creates visuals of positive content about Africa’s social, cultural, economic, artistic, and overall potential, which has earned him a large international audience and fan base with a following of 800,000 + subscribers, as well as more than one hundred million views on the platform. 

We caught up with Wode Maya during his recent visit to South Sudan and he shared his thoughts, experience and enthusiasm for youtube vlogging.

 “When it comes to YouTube, it’s a lucrative career that requires a lot of effort. To begin earning money, some form of investment is required. My YouTube channel earns between $20,000-$40,000 per month, depending on my consistency in uploading high-quality, creative videos. I’m making more as I post more. If I include brands and individuals who pay to be featured on my channel, I’d make $100,000 or more monthly” shares the content creator in an interview with Good Vibes.

 In general, YouTube is a profitable business, but it is not for everyone, just like any other business or career path. Content study, visual presentation skills, and being tech-savvy or digitally conscious are all needed for success on the platform. Most importantly, for the content to begin producing sales, it will require imagination, time, and effort. The big question remains, Why?

 The self-proclaimed African village boy emphasizes the importance of South Sudanese participating in changing media narratives, whether through YouTube or other platforms. “I admire the people of this beautiful country because they are resilient and have a strong desire to succeed. It’s been ten days, and I’m impressed at what the youth are doing to invest in their country. These are stories that should be told to the rest of the world. Stories that demonstrate that there is a more positive side to the country than is commonly portrayed.” 

 South Sudan’s youth have shown rapid growth and potential as talented YouTubers and overall Content Creators in modern-day media, whether it’s via Chat with Sambro on Facebook Live, Nyounville sharing short films on YouTube, or Kiden’s Junubia Girl Talks Podcast. South Sudanese citizens can improve their use of digital tools by not only presenting a new narrative and progressing technologically in line with the rest of the world, but also broadcasting the South Sudan they want to live in.

 While in South Sudan Wode Maya visited many sights and and tourist attractions from cruising on the Nile, visiting farms, entrepreneur’s businesses and a Mundari cattle camp. He also went to the market and tried the local food with local YouTuber Charity Naji in suk Konyo Konyo and Hai Thora. The young man’s youtube channel is full of positive and fun stories from around the continent and his time in South Sudan is no different. 

 To check out his channel please visit


or search Wode Maya South Sudan on Youtube 

Story by Eva Lopa

To read more stories about business opportunities in South Sudan download Good Vibes Magazine issue 3 for $3.50 Usd only.

Duckie Thot (The Journey of Duckie)

On her recent visit to East Africa, Good Vibes Magazine sat down with South Sudan’s phenomenal star Duckie Thot. In this exclusive interview we discuss her journey, career, family and all things Duckie.

Q. In the last few years we have seen you gracing international runaways, been on the cover of the world’s biggest magazines, running advertising campaigns for some of the largest brands and literally just taking over the world. How has that evolution been for you?

A. It’s been a journey to say the least. I find myself constantly evolving as my career grows and expands. I didn’t stumble into my field; I was intentional with my career choice but I found myself going through a series of trial and error. I didn’t know much about the modelling industry when I first started, I also found that the information online was very different to what I faced in reality. What I will say, when you believe you’re meant to be on a specific path, you’ll find a way to make it work. I’m grateful for the time I’ve had working so far and I’m excited for what lies ahead. I recently just got my visa back for America and I’m looking forward to going back to work and making more of a mark in this industry. 

Q. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the norm globally affecting nearly every household around the world. What impact has this pandemic had on your career?

It was extremely difficult as my line of work is in a space where we come together to create the image or campaign. For that to then suddenly be taken away, it limited our creativity process. From runways to photo shoots, fashion creatives had to adapt quickly to the current times due to the pandemic. Many fashion shows turned virtual, designers sent pieces to models and it was showcased at home. Same rules applied for fashion magazines, collections were sent to our homes and we modeled them. We had help from photographers, creative directions and other creatives via zoom. Magazine editorials normally come out every month, we had to learn quickly how we were going to tackle the issue. Many photo shoots are now testing people once they arrive on set. 

I think the fashion industry did a great job at adapting fast. We still have progress to make but I’m glad we found a way to make it work. This is a moment fashion won’t forget and there’s a visual representation of the effects the pandemic had in our field. We’ve now got the vaccine rolling out globally so I believe our industry will be back to normal soon. 

Duckie Thot (p.24 Good Vibes Magazine issue 3), Photography @Emmanueljambo, Outfit: Shilluk Traditional Attire (Lawo), Hat : Rizichi, Jewellery : Adele Dejak, Make-up : Wacuka Thimba, Stylist : Rubia Curve

Q. You can travel all around this world and they all know Duckie Thot. How do you stay grounded with all the fame?

My parents, especially my father, worked tremendously hard to get my family out of a difficult situation. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity of a good education. Being born and raised in Australia serves as a constant reminder that my reality could’ve been very different if my family stayed in South Sudan. War is part of my story and I can’t deny the impact it’s had on my family directly. How can that not humble a person? My family and my country have seen a great deal of pain from it. My tribe serves as a daily reminder that we are warriors, but originally, we lead a simple life, we are cattle keepers. We eat, trade, use livestock to pay dowries, even settle disputes with cows and bulls. We, as tribal people that belong to a community, remind me daily that we are simple people. My tribe keeps me humble and will always. 

Q. What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about you?

I’ve often been told there is a mysterious element to me which can be both positive and negative. When I first began modeling, I was quickly labeled a ‘doll’, ‘real life Barbie” and so forth which also came with the weight of the idea of ‘perfection’ which to me is untrue and false. Many may take it as a compliment which I believe it was always intended to be but I personally felt heavily burdened by it. Unfortunately, it made me shy away from publicly being myself but through space and time, I’ve learned this is part of my journey. I can’t stop being who I am due to others’ ideas of who I should be, that won’t make me happy. This past year for me has been a road to self-discovery and a lot of change as I’m sure it’s been for many people. I’m starting to embrace the misconceptions and show me ‘This is me, this is the real Duckie Thot’ and you don’t have to approve of me for me to live my truth – I will do it regardless. 

Q. You have been a flag bearer for women with darker complexions and girls not only within the fashion industry but for girls and young women globally. What message would you give to the 12, 16 and 22 year old South Sudanese girl and the hundreds of millions of black girls still struggling with finding beauty in the color of their skin and unique features?

A bible verse comes to mind, Psalm 139:14 ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well’.  God made us all in his image. I find it ironic that he says fearfully before wonderful; there is so much power to the way that’s worded. I, like many other black women, wasn’t always comfortable in my own skin. It took many years, through practicing positive affirmation, meditation and prayer to get me to where I am today. We are all in God’s image and I know he is the creator of all, that will always outweigh my insecurities. 

Duckie Thot (p.28 Good Vibes Magazine issue 3) Photography : @Emmanueljambo, South Sudan Traditional Beaded Corset from “Suk-Sukna” Project : Ma’ Mara Sakit, Earrings : Kipato Unbranded, Cuffs : Maridadi Couture Statement, Hair : Richard Kinyua, Make-up : Wacuka Thimba, Stylist : @Brianbabu @Wambuyithimba 

Q. What advice do you have for young African women who want to follow in your footsteps and achieve top tier levels of success in the fashion industry or life in general?

I believe we all have a purpose, a calling in life and it’s our duty to figure out what path we’re meant to take. In order to obtain success, we must first acknowledge the essential deep dive we must take within us, to recognize the power we all encompass. When you find out what you love, you’ll have a driving force inside you; that’s where the true possibilities lie. Being a creative in the fashion industry can sometimes pull you in different directions. I thought my passion was photography at one point but it led to being in front of the lens. I like to think that you can see the beauty in other creative spaces when you are a part of it. Whether you’re a hairstylist, makeup artist, stylist, photographer, involved in lighting and editing, you can see the beauty in someone’s work. It’s important you bounce off each other, to me, that’s when the special images are made. 

Q. You have been in and out of Africa the past few years. Why is being partly based in Africa of importance to you?

Although I wasn’t born in Africa, I always felt like Africa was born inside of me. Growing up, I knew at one point in my life I would visit and continue visiting. Growing up in Australia, I always longed to visit home Sudan / South Sudan, and of course Africa as a continent. I knew that a part of me would always feel like it was missing until I visited, and that was true. I was fortunate enough to believe that seeing anything is possible, when you’re given the opportunity to have an education, the possibilities and your thoughts are limitless. Expand someone’s train of thought and they can do anything and I want to help other Africans with this very thing. To be given the resources to research and be curious is a powerful tool………………continue to read the full article in the digital download of Good Vibes Magazine Issue 3

To read the full article download Good Vibes Issue 3 Now.

Cream of The Crop

Aram Weer natural shea butter

Estella Malek is a communications graduate who fell in love with shea butter after being introduced to the product by a Nigerian friend while studying in Malaysia. Ghanaian brand Hamamat Beauty advises that “you should not put anything on your skin that you could not put in your mouth”. Estella came to realize that shea butter was not only available in West Africa but also a product that can be produced in South Sudan. She returned home and decided to take the entrepreneurial leap and start Aram Weer natural whipped shea butter.

Shea butter is a body lotion cream that is popular in west Africa and has started to be embraced by the cosmetic industry world-wide for its healing properties and health benefits. We spoke to Aram Weer’s founder and owner to discuss her journey in the shea butter industry.

Estella realized that shea nuts (locally known as rak) were actually used in Mula Combo (South Sudan’s national dish) but just processed in a different way. She started to source shea nuts from the Lake State region (Aram Weer) where the raw material is in abundance and transported them to Juba to be processed.

The process starts with the raw nuts being sorted, as some nuts that are not of top quality can affect the final product in a negative way. Once the top quality nuts are selected they are dried, washed and stored ready for roasting. Roasting the nuts is important to allow the nuts to produce the oil that will be extracted in the next stage. 

The roasted nuts are firstly pounded by hand before being ground in the centuries old traditional way on a stone grinder. The pounded paste is then boiled in hot water until the required oil floats to the top and the unwanted residue sinks to the bottom.

The shea oil is skimmed off the top and kept in a cool place to solidify. Once the solidification has taken place the final stage of whipping the cream is done with an electric whipping machine similar to a kitchen utensil that is used to whip eggs. This process is necessary because in hot climates such as South Sudan the butter melts and when it re-solidifies it becomes grainy and harder to apply. The whipping removes this issue and ensures that the creamy product always keeps it silky smooth texture and is easy to use.

The raw unrefined shea butter has no additives, perfume or preservatives and this means that no healing qualities are lost in the production or packaging of this product.  The shea butter is used as a natural anti-inflammatory, can reduce stretch marks, and it is dermatologically approved and used by people with eczema as well as other skin conditions.

Aram Weer gets their packaging from neighboring countries in the region and packages the product by hand in Juba. The packaging is very distinct with the South Sudan flag clearly visible as shea from the country is known to be of the highest quality.

Aram Weer is one of many South Sudanese companies that are starting to export this valuable product regionally and globally. We expect to see growth in the coming years and believe that these types of artisanal and cottage industries will help entrepreneurs to build businesses and create jobs in the private sector.

by Deng Kon

Monica Yom : Gender Roles

in the midst of Juba electrification an inspiring story emerged of positive gender roles and employment opportunities. Electrical engineer Monica Yom Aleer, an employee of Portal Limited has been at the forefront of connecting at least five South Sudanese homes to power since early December, 2019. The 26-year-old graduated in Electrical Engineering from Nairobi in 2015

We had a chance to catch up with Monica during a work day in the field connecting power in Munuki – Sug Libya where she expressed the difficulties and obstacles she faced as she pursued her degree and eventual career. “My family, especially my brother, did not support my career of choice. They said it is a male field. It’s true, it is male dominant but a woman can do it too. I was determined to finish my degree and I did. My brother and my family are proud of me after seeing my achievements and the importance of my work to the community and its development.”

As the only female Electrician of Portal Limited for the past year, Monica is well known amongst her colleagues who did not hold back in expressing their pride of her accomplishments. As well as encouraging her to inspire other young ladies to join the electrical engineering field.

When asked about her journey and future plans, she adds “Electricity is a necessity not a luxury and every South Sudanese deserves to have it. I will remain with Portal Limited for as long as the project is ongoing, I will also remain on my career path until I have connected as many people as I can to electricity if not all. I have dreams of seeing more females than myself on electricity poles, fixing generators, driving tractors or any other male dominant fields. It is not hard, we just lack the opportunity to even try but determination is key”.

The gender employment gap is evidently large in South Sudan. In terms of how many women are employed compared to men and also jobs or careers available for men compared to women. Monica’s journey, will to learn and build, is what helped her excel in the electrical industry and contribute to its development. Creating jobs is one solution breaching the gender employment gap but existing jobs / careers becoming available for both genders might be key to resolving the issue of inequality in the future.

By Eva Lopa


After being in business for many years we often forget that the simple things make a big difference to clients and vendors alike. We are here to remind you and help brush up on your business etiquette.

The basis of business etiquette is about building strong relationships in your field by fostering better communication. This can only happen when people you do business with feel secure and comfortable.

Keep Time

Keeping time is key to doing “good” business, we all have our struggles and last minute emergency meetings but this has to be communicated to the person waiting for you somewhere else. It makes life easier when you are considerate to others and let them know well in advance that you will be cancelling, allowing them to also get things done in the mean time.

The best way is to manage your time properly and make sure you allow adequate time between meetings to arrive 15 minutes early.

Reply to Emails and text messages

Do you often call a colleague or associate to ask for a number or information? Do you send a reply message to confirm you have received it? It is common courtesy to reply with a simple message stating well received, appreciated or thanks. The reply shows appreciation of their effort and will help ensure that the next time you request information you will receive it.

Don’t use your phone during meetings

Using your phone is a sign that you are not interested in what someone is telling you. This will often lead to the person you are doing business with to feel that their opinion is is not valued and could cause them to take their business somewhere else.

Even though some people take notes on mobile apps its important to let the others in the meeting know what you are doing as this helps to avoid them getting the wrong end of the stick.

Introduce yourself & others

Although we have a very strong tradition of introducing people in South Sudan its important to remember that not everyone will remember you from a previous meeting. You should always be ready to reintroduce yourself without feeling offended or at least without showing that you are offended. Once you reintroduce yourself its time to make a good impression.


By Nana Alfred Taban published in Good Vibes Magazine issue 1, Nov 2019

Of course, nourishing the mind is always best done when relaxing in suitably pleasant surroundings.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I checked into the Pyramid Continental Hotel in Juba, one of the best Five Star Hotels in the country, with luxurious surroundings and supreme spontaneous services that makes one feel completely pampered.  (Exactly what I needed). After a draining work week, I’m after one thing: peace and quiet.

Coming from Kampala, the hotel driver picked me up at Juba International Airport with a white V8 (The latest) one of the most loved and popular cars in the city. It was a 10-minute ride to arrive at my destination.

The hotel has 81 expansive luxury decorated rooms and suites providing extraordinary comfort for a wonderful haven in the city. They have Classic, Superior and Deluxe rooms with different prices ranging from $260-280. The standard King Room cost me $259.60 a night inclusive of taxes, breakfast, and spa services. They also have Junior and Presidential Suites ranges from $517.

For the next twenty hours, I deal with a total of three people (front desk agent, a smiling waiter, and the spa center desk agent). Otherwise, I’m left in blissful solitude. Even when you’re out of your room, the whole ‘Do Not Disturb’ philosophy has a way of permeating all aspects of hotel life.


Once inside my room, I shut the door behind me, and did a quick lap of the space, a ritual shared by hotel geeks worldwide (trust me). The room was extremely lavish and elegant with lively furnishing and fabrics. It offered European inspired Roberto Cavalli facilities including: speedy internet access, mini bar, TV with international channels, safe deposit box, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, bathroom with walk in shower, flexible bedside reading lights, blackout curtains and a beautiful indigenous legacy mirrored in exceptional views from the balcony of the River Nile as well as Juba city. All these features creating perfect examples of the “Belle Époque Era” the French expression meaning Beautiful Era.

The table, stocked with a decent array of magazines (at the top of the pile: Travel + Leisure), makes an inviting place to stop and sit, but I could barely make it through an article before surrendering blissfully to a pre-dinner nap.


 After the satisfying pre-dinner nap, it was time for relaxation and immersing the senses through a flawless spa journey leaving you feeling spoiled, re-energized and peaceful, allowing you to shut off from external stimulation.

The Spa Center helped me to indulge myself in some much-needed ‘Me’ time, to switch off and relax, recharge, reflect, detox and beautify. 

The Spa facilities in the hotel include a variety of choices of relaxation for you, from Sauna to Steam, and Jacuzzi. They also offer incredible treatment rooms and Turkish/Moroccan baths. Its extensive treatment menu are performed in purpose-built, beautifully appointed private rooms featuring up-to-the-minute technology and products.

I was extremely pleased to find out both male and female spa facilities are separate for the comfort of each individual. The Spa charges a reasonable $25 per person for non-guests who would like to pamper themselves.


The Peacock Restaurant

By 6:30pm I was making my way to The Peacock Restaurant that offers all day dining, located on the ground floor that beautifully structures a diverse buffet style set-up of internationally-inspired cooking during breakfast, lunch and dinner especially dedicated to the taste of delicate and fantasy.

The unique setting of this restaurant focuses mainly on elegant food with an excellent wine list and outstanding menus with a delightful buffet spread to enjoy while watching their cooking experts showcasing their cooking creativity.

I saw a subtle balance in the tradition, culture, and modernity of the restaurant.

The Hookah Terrace

 By 10:00pm. I called one of my girlfriends to accompany me through the night time lively affairs. And she was up for it. By 11pm we’re at The Hookah Terrace with breathtaking arabesque design details and a remarkable lounge-style set up with excellently blue colored pillows and candles to enjoy the delicate sense of calmness in their unique space. With the best company in a friendly and unique atmosphere.

The shisha lounge offers a variety of shisha flavors for guests to choose from including watermelon, double apple, rose, cherry, mint, and blueberry. My absolute favorite was the blueberry-mint.

ThePresidential Spot and Anseba Sunset Lounge

After enjoying the shisha we went to the Presidential Spot, one of the primary spots to be, placed on the fifth floor with a vast variety of drinks to choose from.

Outside of the Presidential Spot is the open-air terrace The Anseba Sunset Lounge which has a good view of the sky or sunset when you visit it at the twilight hour.

During the weekend night’s atmosphere of relaxation, the hotel offers social nights open to the public and guests that draws a fairly international crowd where they watch the sunset and catch up with colleagues and friends after a long day. I went back to my room at around 2:30am with a treasured collective of night experiences.


They have a great fitness center, one of the essentials of a top class hotel. This 5 star gym consists of state-of-the-art equipment, yoga space, and cardio suite.

Using high-spec equipment,  gym instructors are there everyday to help guests with their routine and advise what you should do to keep fit. The personal trainers will give advice on weight training, aerobics and so on.

There are more services like airport pickups, currency exchange, beauty salons, barber shop, multilingual staff, laundry and dry cleaning services for your comfort.

Overall Pyramid Continental Hotel satisfied my every need and I reluctantly checked out with a feeling that I wanted to extend my stay for a few more days. The hotel in my opinion is your  best option as a business traveller visiting Juba who expects a world class standard of service and ambiance.

The Revitalized Peace; New Hopes for Private Sector Development

Compiled by Simon Akuei Deng. The Secretary General for South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

The Revitalized Peace Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) creates a new dispensation to the populace, creating hope to the people of South Sudan and the region at large. Peace is like oxygen to human life and investment, doing business across the globe and specifically in the Republic of South Sudan requires a conducive environment where private and public enterprises thrive in peace and harmony. Peace is good all the time, and all the time, peace is good. Just as we usually say, God is good all the time.

When the peace was signed in Addis Ababa in 2018, the market reacted positively with the South Sudanese pound gaining strength against major world currencies and especially the US dollar hence renewing hopes for the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan as the prices in the markets responded downwards.

The R-ARCSS has a reform agenda enshrined in chapter four of the agreement making the R-ARCSS important and different from many other agreements dishonored as Hon. Abel Alier Kuai alludes to in his famous book about the Sudan agreements.

The R-TGONU is expected to undertake immediate and medium-term economic and financial management reform programs that will introduce a period of rapid reconstruction and development country wide. If the reforms are taken seriously, it will speed up the repatriation of refugees and IDPs as development will create hopes and attraction to people returning to their homes with security being the major catalyst.

On the business sector, investors will flock in big numbers to the country responding to the peaceful environment conducive for doing business which is characterized by peace, security and the rule of law. The youth on the other hand will get employed and subsequently improve their livelihoods while the government mutually benefits from collection of taxes (PIT) and social corporate responsibilities would have been exercised to the satisfaction of all the parties. All these benefits will be realized in an environment of sustainable peace where citizens are free to do business regardless of who they are and where they come from.

Chapter 4, Section 4.15 of the revitalized peace agreement provides important reform programs with different government institutions reformed including the Bank of South Sudan, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Public Finance Management among other institutions that will improve the economy in the long run. Institutions of R-TGONU are expected to be stronger with smarter systems respected by leaders and public servants managing them. The worst case scenario in the 21st century is when public authorities are stronger than the systems and the institution they lead. This has been manifested in most corrupt countries in the world, the situation we do not wish to see in the Republic of South Sudan.

Section 4.15 continues to inform us of good things ahead including the establishment of Enterprise Development funds expected to improve the lives of small and medium enterprises in the country. The fund’s managers are tasked to identify local, sectorial or private associations with the view to improving their production/efficiency through capacity enhancement and easing access to financing.

The funds will further develop micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) among the rural population and the urban poor, including but not limited to South Sudanese Farmers Association, dairy producers’ associations, poultry producers’ associations national private companies in the areas of supply, general trade, construction and others. This is good news for the private sector if it is implemented according to the dictates of the text as per the R-ARCSS.

The government will implement recommendation of private sector development strategy (PSDS) developed jointly between the South Sudan business forum and Ministry of Trade and Industry that has provisions for establishing youth enterprise development fund with the goal to bring more youth into economic growth and development. The fund is also expected to establish a women’s enterprise development fund for the provision of subsidized credit for women based enterprise development and capacity of women entrepreneurs.

The revitalized peace agreement also aims to establish microfinance institutions, promote social welfare development policy, and establish a social security fund and it further aims to provide subsidized credit and capacity building for vulnerable members of the society.

The enterprise development fund success lies in the hands of both government and the development partners where a basket fund is created and stakeholders make tangible contributions to be used as revolving funds for start-ups and promotion of incubators project financing. The SMEs will access the funds through a competitive and transparent business plan competition where parties account for their actions during the administration of the revolving fund.

We cannot let go of this opportunity as most of the tasks are within our reach coupled with responsibility to implement the Revitalized peace agreement in letter and spirit for the benefit of the entire country and its people.

A peaceful South Sudan is a prosperous South Sudan.

Published in Good Vibes Magazine issue 1 , November 2019

South Sudan Unite Impresses Once Again

Presented by the Luol Deng Foundation Head of Media, Chier Ajou Deng 

South Sudan Unite (SSU) 5th annual conference was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA from July 19 – 21 2019. The three-day event was a big success with over 500 attendees. Like every year, the goal was more than sharing fun and information. It intended to highlight, celebrate and to unite all the people of South Sudan particularly the youth in the diaspora. 

SSU is an initiative of the Luol Deng Foundation — through the celebration of South Sudanese cultures, highlighting the arts, fashion, professional development, mentorship and community development initiatives focused on investing in young people, it aims to create solidarity and peace amongst South Sudanese people in the diaspora and at home. 

 Day 1

 The first day kicked off with a panel and workshop led by South Sudanese professionals, the goal of the moderated panel and workshop called R.I.S.E (Role Models Inspire Strength and Empower) was to empower the youth to become leaders of their world by providing guidance and creating a strong network of positive role models to support and develop young people.

The panel had a range of South Sudanese with different backgrounds take the stage to share their experiences as entrepreneurs, academics, professional athletes and social justice activists.

Some of the panelists and speakers shared their thoughts about SSU:

“The workshops and panel day is always one of my favorite days. There aren’t many opportunities or spaces where we can come together as South Sudanese professionals and share knowledge, experiences, and network while discussing issues and opportunities in our communities. I love that the day is filled with meaningful conversation around South Sudanese solutions to South Sudanese problems and opportunities. It’s a day that gives young people a chance to see themselves in and learn from professionals that look like them. The epitome of representation!” -Buay Tut, Director of Outreach & Diversity at Make School 

Day 2:

The Community Day Festival on the second day was a social event for families, friends and the South Sudanese community to gather in the spirit of peace and simply have fun. Attendees got to play basketball and socialize with each other and ate traditional dishes cooked by South Sudanese women. There were many activities for the younger children like a bouncy castle, football and face painting, a DJ and dance floor open to all. 

Video game developer, Lual Mayen named a Global Gaming Citizen by Facebook at the 2018 Game Awards, led a VR game activation. Akeem Akway, the official Barber of the Minnesota Vikings and Timberwolves provided free haircuts to South Sudanese youth at the festival.

Some of the attendees shared why they chose to come to SSU/their experience: 

“I come to South Sudan Unite to learn more about my heritage and meet people from my country.” -Ivan Arkangelo, Atendee at SSU

evening event 

SudoNight, also known as Culture Night was an opportunity to enjoy live music and performances by South Sudanese musicians and dancers. Music performances included Bafo Joseph, Dynamq, Amanie Illfated, Khat Diew, Yaba Angelosi, Wad Haj Yousif, and DJ Biggie Deng. Cultural dance groups included Nyiir Biem, Anyuak Traditional Dance Group, Youth for Greater Good, and Jonglei Dance Group. 

SSU gave out awards to recognize two outstanding South Sudanese individuals for their work in the community: 

Video game developer, Lual Mayen, received the Achievement Award for developing Salaam, a game about peace and the refugee experience that drew inspiration from his twenty two years in a refugee camp. 

Nyamuon Nguany was given the Diaspora Award for her work in building bridges and partnerships between immigrants, especially in under represented communities and the lawyers and advocates working to stand up for their rights. 

Day 3: Fashion & Arts Showcase, July 21, 2019 

South Sudan Unite rounded up with a fashion show hosted by Nyakouth Chakin and Anyang Deng, consisting of some of the best South Sudanese designers and models displaying both traditional and modern clothing. Additionally, there was an interactive art exhibition, vendors, and live performances by South Sudanese dancers, art performers and musicians. 

SSU 2020 will be held in Kansas, Missouri, USA 

For more information: 

Please visit: www.southsudanunite.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/southsudanunite 

Instagram: @Southsudanunite