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Home and Away

Nektarios Markogiannis | South Sudan

The project aims to present the life and Challenges of the South Sudanese people living in displacement all over South Sudan.  The civil war and consequently the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, goes largely unnoticed, despite the fact that this is probably one of the longest ongoing crises in Africa.

My work is anthropocentric. 

DISPLACED: Home and Away

The project aims to present the life and Challenges of the South Sudanese people living in displacement all over South Sudan.

South Sudan is the newest country in world.  After two civils wars (since the Sudanese Independence), South Sudan held a referendum, asking to separate from the Sudan.  Eventually, in July 2011, South Sudan became independent and the 54th country to join African Union.  This was a short-lived joy.  In 2013 a political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, as the president accused Machar and ten others of attempting acoup d'état. Fighting broke out, igniting theSouth Sudanese Civil War.

Up to 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the war, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, 2.18 million People internally displaced and non- South Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, and 2.4 million South Sudanese refugees hosted in neighboring countries. This, without question, constitutes a serious humanitarian crisis.  And this crisis has given “birth” to a new type of displacement settlement.  They are called Protection of Civilian sites, commonly known as PoC sites.

Today the United Nations shelters 200,000 people inside its bases across South Sudan. Never before in history have tens of thousands of people sought refuge for such a long period in UN compounds. Never before have aid workers been forced to work in close proximity with armed peacekeepers under such conditions. South Sudan has reset the rules of aid operations forever. 

It is not uncommon that people living in the PoCs, have a sort of regular day job, and they return in the afternoon to the PoC.  They live in the PoC, because when the night falls, the danger of being attacked, allegedly by Government forces, is higher.

The aim of my project is to record the everyday life of those living in the protection of civilian sites, their challenges as well as their hopes.

The civil war and consequently the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, goes largely unnoticed, despite the fact that this is probably one of the longest ongoing crises in Africa.

           

My work is anthropocentric.  I am particularly interested in the notions of home.  How do people who are living in ongoing displacement make homes. I want to understand what it’s like to be a displaced person in your own country. What it’s like to lose a home and be on the run, and having to search for a place where you can feel safe – a possible new home, which at the same time you know it will not be permanent, but your stay there won’t be brief either. How do you face the challenges of everyday life?  How do you deal with a troubled past and an uncertain future?

My understanding is that they know their present situation pretty well, the status of their case and so on. These people need to create a new meaning in their life and to be able to engage in the present, to establish a new home.  I am interested in the tensions that accrue as a result of ongoing conflict, volatility, and flux from interactions between people on the move and the institutions, systems, and structures designed to manage particular types of human movement, lead to states of high uncertainty and social fluidity.  This tension has profound effects on practices of homemaking in pre-carious circumstances, notions of “return” to a recognized home, and indeed the meaning of the term home itself.

In some sense, the narrative of leaving home produces too many homes and hence no Home, too many places in which memories attach themselves through carving out of inhabitable space, and hence no place in which memory can allow the past to reach the present.

In practical terms, people in administrative limbo find the means and the capacity to carry on thinking about home and making home, despite their liminal and often dire circumstances.

Nektarios Nerris Markogiannis

El. Venizelou 20

Messolonghi 30200

Greece

nerris@gmail.com

+30 6908651456

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