South Sudan Border Issues

These images are part of a forthcoming feature on border communities in south Sudan’s Upper Nile state. Upper Nile forms the northern most border of southern Sudan and contains a significant amount of the region’s oil wealth.

These photos were taken in the town of Renk, which sits some 30 kilometers south of the Current Border Line (CBL). Renk is a relatively short jaunt from Khartoum, making it a highly mixed community. It is heavily populated by northern Sudanese traders and is a frequent destination for northerners who want a break from the Islamic laws that govern the north. Renk’s lively streets boast an unusual amount of nightlife, including restaurants, bars and shops.

Given Renk’s proximity to northern Sudan and the presence of multinational oil companies, Renk is significantly more developed than most areas of the south. The streets are lined with lights and residents enjoy 24 hour power, two highly uncommon services throughout the area.

Some fear, however, that the culturally mixed nature of border communities like Renk could make for a combustive atmosphere around the referendum. Furthermore, the region’s oil wealth could be a source of conflict between north and south if southerners do opt for secession.

The full story, done in print (by Maggie Fick), photos and video, is slated to appear on Al Jazeera online in the coming days.

Stay tuned.


Published by


For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by stories. Through much of my life, I satisfied this interest with the study of history. The topics of war, uprising, social movements and sexuality defined my course of historical study and generated a deep curiosity in the modern aspects of these issues. While the past enthralls me, my interest in creating modern primary documents ultimately won out. Since 2005, I have worked to document the individual consequences of war, poverty and social unrest. Through a combination of photography, text, and audio recordings, I hope to illustrate broader issues through individual stories. I aim to create images and material that demand consideration for the lives of those depicted. I believe that intimate, sensitive photographs leave indelible marks on the conscience and actively oppose the sterilization of human suffering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *