Miss Malaika Southern Sudan Somewhat of a whirlwind decision coming to Southern Sudan. Two days ago, I had applied for my Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) travel permit, a visa that lets you within Sudan’s borders, but without jumping through the hoops of the Khartoum bureaucracy. As soon as the visa was in my hands, I had bought the next flight out of Nairobi bound for Juba, the capital of this semi-autonomous state, and ready for the final days of voter registration in the upcoming independence referendum. Arriving in Juba, I was soon on the back of a boda-boda, the notion of the motorcycle taxi imported—like much else in the region—from Uganda. My arrival coincided with the final of Miss Malaika Southern Sudan, a sort-of beauty pageant comprising girls from each of the ten states walking a cat-walk, donning outfits ranging from Western evening wear to their traditional dress and customs. A far cry from the Khartoum government as we enjoyed Kenyan beers—forbidden by the Sharia law of the north—under the eye of former rebel soldiers. Welcome to Southern Sudan.

Miss Malaika Southern Sudan

Somewhat of a whirlwind decision coming to Southern Sudan. Two days ago, I had applied for my Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) travel permit, a visa that lets you within Sudan’s borders, but without jumping through the hoops of the Khartoum bureaucracy.

As soon as the visa was in my hands, I had bought the next flight out of Nairobi bound for Juba, the capital of this semi-autonomous state, and ready for the final days of voter registration in the upcoming independence referendum.

Arriving in Juba, I was soon on the back of a boda-boda, the notion of the motorcycle taxi imported—like much else in the region—from Uganda.

My arrival coincided with the final of Miss Malaika Southern Sudan, a sort-of beauty pageant comprising girls from each of the ten states walking a cat-walk, donning outfits ranging from Western evening wear to their traditional dress and customs.

A far cry from the Khartoum government as we enjoyed Kenyan beers—forbidden by the Sharia law of the north—under the eye of former rebel soldiers. Welcome to Southern Sudan.