The South Sudanese storyteller: This is what life is really like for refugees

Most of what we know about conflict we see on TV and in movies. Malish James, who has hopped from refugee camp to refugee camp since fleeing South Sudan as a child, knows what it’s like first hand. Now he’s telling his story to the world

Thursday 10 June 2021 01:50


On the evening of 6 January 2000, my uncle Christopher Luke took me from my mother. I was only 11 years old. My mother walked with us a little of the way until we came to the River Luku where she said goodbye. She hugged me and through her tears told me, “My son, go. You will always remain in my heart. We will meet again in the nearest future.”

We left her standing just near the bridge. After walking a few hundred metres I turned to look behind us and she was still looking after us. Our eyes met and she waved to me.

We had been living in Ataki refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. My family fled from the Sudanese county of Maridi when I was only four years old because of war.

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