Celebrations to mark the harvesting season in Ongurunyi Boma. [Gurtong/ Juma John Stephen]
By Juma John Stephen
JUBA, 21 May 2012 [Gurtong] – However, the Maya Kingdom in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State is still alive to their cultural practices.
Early this year, it crowned its new traditional leader, King David Oyalala Valentino at a colourful ceremony in Hiyala Payam.
King Oyalala is tasked with ensuring that all the cultural beliefs and norms of the Kingdom are upheld.
For Maya Kingdom to hold onto their cultural values and passing them over to the next generation is worth celebrating in a contemporary world where most cultural values have taken a back seat.
South Sudan has some of the richest cultural practices but which are under threat in the modern world.
In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
The day provides an opportunity to deepen understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.
The 2012 campaign, by encouraging people and organisations from around the world to take concrete action to support diversity, aims to, among others, raise awareness worldwide about the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion as well as to build a world community of individuals committed to support diversity with real and every day-life gestures.
It also aims at combating polarisation and stereotypes to improve understanding and cooperation among people from different cultures.
(Additional information from http://www.un.org)