Dr. John Garang de Mabioor’s speech in 1990, a year after the SPLA’s capture of Torit in 1989.
Nationalists, Patriots, Comrades, Fellow Countrymen:
“We are not anybody’s burden; we are masters in our own house. We are confident in ourselves and of the future. There are those who might entertain the false beliefs that we cannot govern ourselves, we should not and cannot let their thoughts patterns influence us. Let us collectively go down in the history as the generation of South Sudanese that turned Sudan around by putting an end to discrimination, racism, inequality, division, exploitation, and marginalization at best, and slavery and causal murder at worst. Let us unite against ethnic, religious, and racial divides to restore personal dignity for all. Let us move from total economic dormancy to total vibrancy; from relegation and resignation to a cycle of poverty, destitution and misery to activism, hope, and excitement.
Let us reject being mere spectators in life, to becoming masters of our own destiny. A Bishop friend of mine yesterday told me a joke that three people went to see God, and the Almighty asked them what they wanted. One of them said he wanted wisdom, the second said he wanted riches, and the third, a Southern Sudanese, said he was just accompanying the two. You will guess who wanted wisdom and who wanted riches, but what I wanted to tell Southerners is to stop accompanying others and be masters of their own destiny; I say the same for all Sudanese and for all people of Africa.
People accuse me of killing our sons and eating people’s farm produces for nothing, but let me tell you this, our blood will be shed because I hate oppression and marginalization of our people but I will not even enjoy the fruits of this struggle. There are people sleeping comfortably right now, they don’t know the hunger or the sound of a gun. After our job is done that generation will take over; they will cut a large piece of land with pangas and sell it cheaply for a bottle of beer.
I have been commanding the SPLA officers and men of various ranks in this war; many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice. If my turn comes to pay the ultimate sacrifice, and if indeed comes, then be it. We are in this war to win or die for the national goals and objectives we believe in. I am just an officer; a commander -in-chief of a patriotic army and one officer just like many of you. If death comes my way I shall die like many of our compatriots who have already laid down their lives in this war.”