Central Equatoria State was one of the original ten states of South Sudan. With an area of 43,033 km², it was the smallest of the original South Sudanese states. Its previous name was Bahr al Jabal, named after a tributary of the White Nile that flows through the state. It was renamed to its present name of Central Equatoria in the first Interim Legislative Assembly on 1 April 2005 under the government of Southern Sudan. Central Equatoria seceded from Sudan as part of the Republic of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. The former state's capital of Juba is also the national capital of South Sudan. The state split into three smaller states on 2 October 2015.
|Central Equatoria State|
|State of Sudan (2005–2011)|
State of South Sudan (2011–2015)
|•||Creation as a state by Southern Sudan government||2005|
|•||Became a state of South Sudan after independence from Sudan||2011|
|•||Reorganisation of states||2015|
|43,033.00 km2 (16,615 sq mi)|
Central Equatoria, like other states in South Sudan, was sub-divided into counties which are further divided into Payams, then Bomas. Each county is headed by a County Commissioner, appointed by the State Governor in consultation with the President. They were
- Juba County - Stephen Wani (Previous Thomas Peter Gore and Dr. Pius Subek)
- Lainya County - Huda Micah Laila (Previous Suba Samuel Manase and Col. Vincent Kujo Lobang)
- Morobo County - Moses Simon Soro (Previous Ofeni Ngota and Col. Richard Remo Soro)
- Terekeka County Jacob Gore (Previous Clement Maring, Ali Malou and Wani Nyambur Boughta)
- Yei County - Juma David Augustine (Previous Elia Waiwai and David Lokonga Moses)
- Kajo Keji county
Important cities and towns of Central Equatoria were: Juba, Kajo Keji, Liria, Mongilla,Wonduruba, South Sudan Wonduruba, Rokon, Tali, Terkeke, Yei, Ji-Meje, Tombek, Tindilo, Kaya, Muni and Rijong, Bubudo(Nyori). The major border crossing to the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at Dimo, a village in the former state.
Major tribes of the state included Bari people, Pojulu, Kakwa, Keliko, Kuku, Lugbara, Avokaya, Baka, Nyangwara, Makaraka and Lulubo. Minor tribes included the Nyepo in Northern Kajok-Keji County and Lokoya along Nimule Road. Erasto Gonda, Senior Folklore Officer for Central Equatoria’s information ministry further detailed the State's demographics:
In terms of tribes in Central Equatoria we have Mundari, of Terekeka County, the Pojulu of Lowinyet, Wonduruba and Tijor counties combined, and the Bari are the largest. Then we have the Kuku from Kajok Keji County, Nyangwara from Rokon area – then we have the Kakwa, from Yei County and Morobo, then there is the Keliko from Morobo County, the Avokaya, Mundo and Baka from Tore Payam of Yei County. There’s another as well; the Pojulu-Tijor who are near Tali.
So, these tribes are the eight tribes who speak one language with slight differences, Kutuk, although they all have different traditional dances. Mundari language for example has its own notion tone different from Bari but they also speak Bari at the same time because some of the border the Bari to the north of Juba, although there are differences in some of the words. Some of the tribes like Avokaya of Yei County, Lugbara and Keliko of Morobo speak one language with slight differences except Mundo and Baka which speak different languages. But they all also have their special languages, called their ‘Kobura’ which the others don’t understand. It is a hidden language, they speak it during danger.
They are all from one family but got separated because of land, the land was not enough. They were at first were pastoralists, and then diverged as pastoralists and agriculturalists.
Then there is also the Direr or Nubi, these people are a collection of tribes and their religion is Islam. They settled together in two main places, Malakia in Juba and Bombo which is near Kampala in Uganda. They are united by their religion, which came to them in the 1940s. They now consider themselves to be a new tribe.
The agriculturalists out of these are the Kuku, the Kakwa, Avokaya, Mundo, Pojulu, Lokoya, Lulubo, Nyangwara, Keliko, Nyepo. They grow a variety of crops, including maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, 'bolot or sorghum, groundnuts, beans. These tribes have two crops to harvest every year, the first in June or July and the second in November or December. They also keep cattle, goats and sheep
Due to the many years of the civil war, the culture was heavily influenced by the countries neighboring South Sudan. Many South Sudanese fled to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda where they interacted with the nationals and learnt their languages and culture. For most of those who remained in the country, or went North to Sudan and Egypt, they greatly assimilated the Arab culture.
It is also worth noting that most South Sudanese kept the core of their culture even while in exile and diaspora. Traditional culture is highly upheld and a great focus is given to knowing one's origin and dialect. Although the common languages spoken are Arabi Juba and English, Kiswahili was being introduced to the population to improve the country's relations with its East African neighbors. Many musicians from Central Equatoria used English, Kiswahili, Arabi Juba, their dialect or a mixture of the languages mentioned.
Directly before Central Equatoria split up into three separate states, the government was as shown:
- Governor - Juma Ali Malou
- Deputy Governor - Suba Samuel Manase
- Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs - Wani Tom Sebit
- Minister of Finance and Economic Planning - John Ijino Lako
- Minister of Commerce, Industry, Mining and Investment - John Modong Santo
- Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Tourism - Emmanuel Adel Anthony
- Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Rural Water - Emmanuel Khamis Richard
- Minister of Agriculture and Forestry - Michael Robert Kenyi
- Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries - Osman Laku Wani
- Minister of Health, Sanitation and Environment - Dr Felix Lado Johnson
- Minister of Education and Technology - Clement Maring Samuel
- Minister of Culture, Antiquities, Youths and Sports - Dabe Francis Murye
- Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement- Oliver Mule Gabriel
- Minister of Gender and Social Development - Maka Mustafa Fataki
- Minister of Labor, Public Services and Human Resources Development - Michael John Konga
- "Interview with Erasto Gonda Tribes Of Central Equatoria". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
- "Central Equatoria State". Gurtong. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- South Sudan Internet radio
- Interview with Erasto Gonda 'Tribes Of Central Equatoria' 
- 'GLOBAL: Protect rights of minorities to avoid conflict, NGO urges.' 
- 'Violence, Sacrifice, and Chiefship in Central Equatoria Southern Sudan.' 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Central Equatoria state.|