Emma McCune (3 February 1964 – 24 November 1993[1]) was a British foreign aid worker in Sudan who married then-guerrilla leader Riek Machar. She was killed when hit by a matatu in Kenya whilst expecting her first child.

Emma McCune
Emma Mccune
McCune in 1985
Born3 February 1964
Assam, India
Died24 November 1993(1993-11-24) (aged 29)
Nairobi, Kenya
OccupationForeign Aid Worker
Known forWife of Riek Machar

Biography edit

In 1985 Emma flew to Australia and back in a single-engined light aircraft with her friend Bill Hall.[2][3]

Sudan edit

Emma's husband Riek Machar, the current Vice President of South Sudan

McCune went to war-torn Sudan in 1987 at age 23 to teach for the British organisation Volunteer Services Overseas. After reluctantly returning to England in 1988 McCune once again returned to Sudan in 1989 to work for the UNICEF-funded Canadian organisation Street Kids International, which founded or re-opened more than 100 village schools in the country's south. McCune spent much of the late 1980s in the south in the midst of war and famine.[citation needed]

Riek Machar edit

McCune met and married Riek Machar, one of two leading southern guerrilla commanders, and became a high-profile khawagiyya (foreigner). They were instantly attracted to one another, and Machar, who already had a wife, proposed on their second meeting a year after the first. After taking up with Machar, including using a UN-supplied typewriter to produce manifestos, she was fired by Street Kids International. She lived with Machar as war intensified and he split his faction away from the larger movement. At one point they fled a machine-gun attack. In 1993, after becoming pregnant, she moved to Nairobi; she and her unborn child died in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya.[citation needed]

Publications edit

Emma's mother, Maggie McCune, published her story in Till the Sun Grows Cold.[4]

Journalist Deborah Scroggins wrote an unauthorised biography of her, Emma's War.[5] "In my heart, I'm Sudanese," she once said, according to Scroggins. Scroggins' depiction of the young British aid worker is complicated and often critical. McCune is depicted as a woman willing to bravely confront military warlords for help allowing Sudanese children to be schooled in their villages but later, after marrying that same warlord, is able to deny to herself the corruption and horrific violence resulting from her husband's civil war struggle.

The book had been optioned for a film[6] to be directed by Tony Scott, but the family objected to a film based on the book, delaying its production.[7] The film was still in development at the time of Scott's death in 2012;[8] its fate remains unclear.

Legacy edit

Emma assisted more than 150 war children in Sudan including hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal and is the title subject of his song "Emma McCune" on his 2008 album Warchild.[9]

References edit

  1. ^ Obituary: Emma McCune at independent.co.uk
  2. ^ Hall, Bill. "Flickr album of flight to Australia". Flickr.com. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. ^ Reference to flight on PPrune
  4. ^ Mccune, Maggie (1999). Till the Sun Grows Cold: A Mother's Compelling Memoir of the Life of Her Daughter. UK: Headline. p. 320. ISBN 978-0747261421.
  5. ^ Scroggins, Deborah (2003). Emma's war: love, betrayal and death in the Sudan. Harper Perennial. p. 389. ISBN 0-00-655147-5.
  6. ^ ""Crossing the Line; the Story of Emma McCune (1964-1993)", Radio Netherlands Archives, November 16, 2003". Radionetherlandsarchives.org. 16 November 2003. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  7. ^ Bunbury, Stephanie (16 April 2005). "Nicole enters movie maelstrom". The Age.
  8. ^ German, Steve (20 August 2012). "British-born filmmaker Tony Scott jumps to death". Chicago Tribune. Reuters.
  9. ^ "Emmanuel Jal: The music of a war child | TED Talk". Ted.com. Retrieved 5 April 2020.

External links edit