Challenges with nation-building in Africa: the Heglig oil conflict and crises of identity and belonging in south Sudan

SOURCE: Africa Insight
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.A.Check, T.Mdlongwa
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES), African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10526
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/12650

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This paper seeks to analyse the challenges associated with building a new nation on the Africa continent and how such challenges could be overcome. The paper equally examines the hostile interrelations between the Republic of Sudan (the Sudan) and the Republic of South Sudan (South Sudan) over the unresolved Abyei Heglig oilfield. South Sudan's occupation of Abyei and the Heglig oilfield is perhaps rooted in the complex nature of nation-building in postcolonial Africa. Suffice it to say, the religious, sociological and political discontinuities between the north and south in Sudan presuppose the display of antagonistic cleavages, which have persisted into postcolonial times. The Sudan was a colonial construct, which lacks the necessary ingredients for a strong and united country. The postcolonial political elite's marginalisation of the periphery has eroded any sense of national belonging in the Sudanese psyche. Nonetheless, the inability of South Sudan to address fundamental nation-building challenges, further exposes the country to the Republic of Sudan's machinations and put paid to the assertion that South Sudan was not ready for independence in the first place.