Forty-one South Sudanese women wrote a collection of 18 short stories, 48 poems, 21 artworks and photographs, and a song titled No Time to Mourn.
The anthology reflects the lives of women writers and artists, and at the same time gives voice to the lived experiences and very real lives of every woman of South Sudanese descent. The ideas and experiences in this book span decades. They straddle borders, cross continents and depict events that are difficult to imagine even with some knowledge of South Sudanese history.
The 268-page book which was published by Femrite Publications in 2020 and divided into seven themes captures the effects of war, including homelessness and abuse of refugees and the challenges of living in foreign lands, family separations , love, fear and tension, disease, famine, death and destruction, hunger and thirst, endless wars and darkness that has descended on the land.
The title of the anthology is derived from Bigoa Chuol’s poem “Birth water”. The poem is for children whose birth water is shattered by the whistle of shrapnel.
“…We know war in sunken eyes / We know it in stinging hunger pangs / We know it in our calloused, blistered feet,” the poem reads in part.
“…We almost know the stinky smell of / We can’t hold it on our cracked lips / So we bite on our children and our kind bleeds.”
“It’s time to perish/But there’s no time to mourn/It’s time to rot/But there’s no time to bury…” the poem continues.
Lydia Minagano Kape’s poem “Run” is about a young woman who is no longer afraid of death. When the bullet was fired and they shouted to run, she instead stopped and watched the gunpowder fill the lonely air. She is not ready to run away from death as she has already died countless times. His body is a grave, an undead and a ghost. She buried enough pieces of herself to form a graveyard. She dies every time a bullet cuts off a branch of her family tree.
Nyakoda Joak Mundit’s short story “Chickens here are not vegetarian” revolves around the traumatized life of a young South Sudanese girl called Nyajuju and the sad events of December 21, 2013, when she and a few other relatives arrived at home in Malakal, fleeing the hell that had broken out in Juba.
Juan Evalyn Mule’s short story “Darkness in Kaku’s Diary” is about a father who always beat his wife but then advised his children not to fight or hurt other people. He ends up in prison for domestic violence.
According to the anthology’s editors, Hilda Twongyeirwe and Elizabeth Ashamu Deng, “…It is hard not to be moved when reading what many of these authors have gone through as they strive to realize these basic human rights. : Life, Liberty and Security. Through this book, we learn more about the cost of war and the value of peace, and how they affect women’s ability to start a home, have and raise children, stay healthy and safe, provide an education for themselves and their children, seek professional fulfillment and even fall in love, all while navigating society’s often narrowly defined gender roles.
In her review of No Time to Mourn, Ugandan author of A Girl is a Body of Water Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi writes: “These memories of home, these intimate conversations with sisters in South Sudan, are both familiar and strange: the stories are and heartbreaking, the poetry is serious and honest, the photography surprising and the art breathtaking.
For his part, the South Sudanese author of Another Nigger Dead, Taban lo Liyong, writes: “The truths, facts and fiction, in No Time to Mourn are so skillfully woven that they bring tears to our eyes. eyes.
No Time to Mourn was among the books, documentaries, podcasts, musicians, and media honored by Oxfam America in March 2021 (Women’s History Month) that guided, inspired, and worked hard for us in the fight for justice from kind around the world.
Title: No time to cry
Authors: Anthology by South Sudanese Women
Publisher: Femrite Publications
Release date: 2020
Reviewed by Bamuturaki Musinguzi