October 10, 2012
Book Expo and Talent Extra Festivals
(The First South Sudanese Book Bonanza and Talent Extravaganza)
Good Readers make Good Leaders: 2012 in Review and 2013 in Preview
Kush Resort: Super Supper, 12-12-12
Senior Staff Club, ( Juba): Book Expo and Talent Awards, 31-1-13
Dates: 12-12-12 and 31-1-13
Talent is Latent, so it’s our mission to make it tangible
A Recap of the Triple Twelve Event
It is a fact well known that by the end of every year, there is a review of the outgoing year and a preview of the incoming year. South Sudanese will see a thrill in the review of the Year 2012 and a shrill into the preview of the Year 2013 these December and January. There will be a series of serious literary rites performed with ‘Triple Talent’ beginning with ‘The Triple Twelve’ event. It is a unique day for USTASS and its talent promotion associates organizing several multi-talent activities in 12 festivities to be launched on 12-12-12 and awarded on 31-1-13, respectively, in a Back-to-School campaign.
It is a period of great talent harvest that will be realized with rhythms of great and coordinated events rhyming through December 12, 2012 to January 31, 2013, luckily one of the events to be promoted through a variety of activities under a collective title, initially planned as ‘JubaFest’, by various talent promotion organizations, namely, USTASS (United Scribes, Teachers & Artists of South Sudan), South Sudan Arrtists Association (SSAA), Deng Foundation and their fun-loving fans and fund-giving partners. Our parallel event chained to JubaFest is also dubbed BookFest. The full series was not financially possible this year, so it was extended to 2013.
The JubaFest events, spread almost over a fortnight (2 weeks) and to be conducted annually, have coincidentally fallen on thematic days of United Nations’ international observances and of national importance to South Sudanese. These include World Aids Day (Dec. 1), International Day for Abolition of Slavery (Dec. 2), International Day for Persons with Disabilities (Dec. 3), International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (Dec. 5), International Anti-Corruption Day (Dec. 9), Human Rights Day (Dec. 10), and then concluded with three days of our national events of ‘the Youth of the South’: the Miss Malaika South Sudan Grand Finale (Dec.8), the launching of the Red Army Foundation (Dec. 11) and our very own Book and Talent Fair (Dec. 12, 2012) upto January 31, 2013 (a back-to-school campaign). All these days will be celebrated every year with a chain of multi-talent festivals in collaboration with the JubaFest and Miss Malaika. The main aim of the Triple 12 event is to choose and award the best talents carried out throughout the year by the youth of South Sudan.
Goal, Objectives and Activities of the First South Sudan Book Expo and Talent Extra Day
The goal for the Book Expo and Talent Extra Day 2012 is to inaugurate the 12th day of the 12th month as an annual day for the promotion of Reading Culture and Talent Discovery in the Republic of South Sudan by conducting book festivals (reviews and previews) all over the country.
1- To declare December 12 an annual reading culture day (Book Expo and Talent Awards Day)
2- To promote South Sudanese works of literature, art and culture by authors, poets, artists, etc.
3- To launch the latest products and programs by South Sudanese writers and artists into the market (books by 5 maiden authors, magazines, the Encyclo’media Lifebrary, Open–Book Press)
4- To bring together all the South Sudanese writers around to interact on the status quo of literacy and the roles of literature and culture as ingredients for nation building
5- To initiate the idea of South Sudan writers forum or union among most of the writers present
Activities for 12-12-12 Book Expo and Talent Extra Day
i- Declaration of the South Sudan Book Expo (Open-Book Day) by performing these writers’ rituals:
ii- Announcing the shortlisted books for the ‘Book of the Year’ contest and other awards under collective title of the Sponsor, ‘Talents of the Year Awards’, by the awards panel
iii- Reciting two poems on literacy and talent, entitled: Illiterate or Ill-literate? and Talent is Latent from USTASS’ poemusicians
iv- Cutting of the cord and cake by the Minister for Higher Education (RSS), also an author
v- Authors’ Parade: a formal introduction of established writers and books in South Sudan
2- Products to be launched
1- The Black Christs of Africa (333 Poems)
2- Laugh and Learn: And The Easy Essay of my Nay Say (333 essays)
3- Rioting by Writing:101 Tributes to and by Isaiah Abraham and Other Pressmen and penmen of South Sudan’.
4- The Younique Megazine (our monthly magazine on youth achievers’)
5- The Text Collector (Literary Bulletin for Review and Preview of the South Sudanese arts)
6- Naath Cultural Magazine (By Maale Culture and Heritage Foundation)
7- Noi$e for $ale (music album from the Lyrics of The Black Christs of Africa, by J. Penn de Ngong) and Kingdom Come (music album for peace campaign by a Murle boy, Aborcup John Akuer)
8- The Encyclomedia Lifebrary and O’penn–Book Press Ltd.
9- The Colander Calendar on Latent Talent (2013 talent scouting year planner)
10- The Jonglei Jongleur (Development Journal for Jonglei State) and The Gazelle Gazette (Tourism Journal for South Sudan)
11- The Younique Talent Awards collectively dedicated to their sponsors’ rhyming names e.g. The VivaXcellent Award, The GemTalent Award, The Stand-Big Talent Award, The CitiZainship Award.
12- The ‘Younique Monique Crown’ for the best beauty queen and other youth projects at USTASS annual ‘The Super Supper’ diner to be launched on 12/12/12 at Kush Resort in Juba.
i- Book fare: Display, exchange, sale and reading of books
ii- Fund-fare: Fundraising through the sales of books, magazines, etc. by our writers
iii- Fun-fare: Comedy, creative dance, wits, skids, etc. by our talented groups
iv- Pun-fare: Collecting 101 best quotes of the year by authors/readers from various sources: books, newspapers, websites, etc. to be published in The Text Collector
v- Fan-fare: Greeting, meeting, reading, chatting, chanting, dancing, drinking, eating, etc’ing by fans/readers/revelers with their authors, artists and leaders.
4- Talent Extravaganza (these and any other forms of talent expression for impression).
vi- Poetry recitation by 5 choicest young poets (e.g. Obama versus Osama, Speech by the Emperor of the Empire of the Vampire!, etc.)
vii- Live drama and skid skits presentations by 5 youth theatre companies
viii- Film screening by 5 film/movie producers of South Sudan.
ix- Loads of music and lots of musings by our local comedians
– By government officials
– By prolific published writers of South Sudan
– By donor representatives
– By sponsor representatives
– South Sudanese writers and artists
– South Sudanese publishers and their international associates
– Media houses
– Academic institutions
– Bookshops and Libraries
– Non-Governmental Organizations
– Diplomatic missions
– Ministries of Education, Culture, Information and other line ministries and departments.
– Public: readers and leaders in books and media consumption in South Sudan
Method of Funding
– The Fair’s fares: rent of the bookbooths to bookshops, publishers, authors, media houses, etc.
– Gate collection (Tickets)
– Sponsorships from business companies
– Donations from NGOs
– Grants from government ministries
Organizers for Book Expo and Talent Extra Day
– USTASS(United Scribes, Teachers and Artists of South Sudan)
– SSAA (South Sudan Artists Association) and Deng Foundation/Institute
– Partners: sponsors, donors, Ministries/Commissions, Embassies, NGOs, etc.
Target Groups (beneficiaries)
– Individual youths and organizations with tangent talent projects to showcase
– Business companies and organizations which will promote their products
– Consumers of our talent products e.g. readers, writers, artists, media houses, schools, etc.
– Investors (publishers, music promoters, etc.)
The Little Doves in music competition at the Military High Command College in Uganda
a)- The Super Supper I
(The Triple Twelve activities 2012)
1- Mobilization of the authors and books for the review and preview
2- Mobilization of youth projects of the year for the review
3- Media campaign
4- The Super Supper event (for announcing the shortlisted projects for the Awards of the Year)
1- Mobilization of the Authors and Books
– Listing of existing authors for South Sudan
– Invitation letters to authors and authorities
– Listing of Bookshops in South Sudan
– Invitation letters to bookshops and other art projects to book book-booths and presentation allotments
– Invitation letters to publishers and international companies to participate in the book fair and art displays
2- Mobilization of the youth projects for entry into the competition for the awards
– Listing of the best projects carried out by the youth of South Sudan in 2012 for Review Presentation
– Soliciting for the youth projects for 2013 for the Preview Presentation (no award to this category)
3- Media Campaign for both events (The Triple 12 Super Supper and the Book Fair and Talent Awards Day)
– Developing website/weblog for the events’ project display
– Facebook page for the display of projects and voting by fans and visitors (using the ‘like box’ voting system)
– TV/Radio/Newspaper/web adverts for the events
– Writing to all media houses to exchange adverts with our booths and presentation times.
4- The Super Supper (Triple 12 event on 12-12-12)
– Entry fee for the Super Supper diner at Da Vinci Lodge
– Announcement for the Shortlist of the book, newspaper, etc. of the year
– Presentations of the best shortlist projects (e.g. Miss Malaika, Spark, etc. youth project)
– Speeches from authors and authorities
– Entertainment from artists.
b) The Book Fair and Talent Awards
1- Reviewing and Previewing of the shortlisted books, papers, etc.
- Listing books into categories and genres for South Sudan
- Invitation letters to authors and authorities
- Setting up of Bookbooths in the venue
- Invitation letters to bookshops and other art objects and projects to book-booths
- Invitation letters to publishers and international companies to participate in the book fair and art displays
2- Reviewing and Previewing of the shortlisted projects of the year
- Judging and categorizing the objects and projects carried out by the youth of South Sudan for awards from 2012
- Soliciting for the youth projects for 2013 for the Preview Presentation (no awards to this category)
3- Media Campaign (For the Book Bonanza and Talent Extravaganza i.e. Awards Day)
– Updating the website/weblog for the events’ project display
– Controlling the Facebook page for the display of projects and voting by fans and visitors (using the ‘like box’ voting system)
– TV/Radio/Newspaper/web adverts for the events
– Writing to all media houses to exchange adverts with our booths and presentation times.
4- The Super Supper II (announcing the literary arts object and project Awards of the Year in a Back-to-School campaign)
– Entry for the Super Supper diner at the Senior Staff Club (University of Juba) on 13-1-13 or Jan. 13, 2012)
– Announcement of the best literary arts objects and projects of the year on Jan. 13, 2013
– Giving of Awards to the best arts object and projects (e.g. book, paper, Miss Malaika, Spark, etc.)
– Speeches from authors and authorities
– Entertainment from artists.
NB: There will be Three Committees to run the programs outlined above, viz: 1- Review and Preview Committee 2- Publishing and Publicity Committee 3- The Super Supper Committee.
USTASS members guide pupils of Dr. John Garang International School through South Sudan’s First Agricultural Trade Fare at Nyakuron Cultural Centre on 11-11-11, organized by Ministry of Agriculture, USAID (The FARM Project), etc.. USTASS participated in the fare by handling Communications, Mobilization of Schools, Artists, Media and Farmers, and handled entertainment throughout the show.
“The serious writers of South Sudan, the journalists, the musicians, have to address the issues the politicians don’t care about. It is now our time to tell the world what it is that we want.” Taban lo Liyong, Interview, The New Nation, 2012.
This group called USTASS, consisting of United Scribes, Teachers & Artists of South Sudan, is an apolitical, non-profit, talent-spotting and talent-supporting organization founded in 2006 by three student-teachers, journalists and artists at Makerere University, Uganda, and registered in Juba in 2009. USTASS, driven by their motto, Our Right to Write, and their scientific belief that Talent is Latent – hence must be thought, sought and sorted out properly through our Yearn-Learn-Earn method – comprises mainly journalists/writers (Scribes) with background experiences of censorship ordeals such as kidnapping, imprisonment or torture; teachers who fell out of their classroom career due to poor working conditions and unfavourable policies; artists and artistes, who have the talent to exploit through expressions in various forms of mass media: writing, fine art, cartooning, music, dance, drama, debating, poetry, sculpture, etc., besides other genres of unique gifts in our diverse culture and literature of South Sudan. Chief among these gifted category are the Little Doves Choir, a leading child-musician group trained by USTASS teachers and founders. USTASS has produced 10 successful musicians and a number of journalists and teachers since 2006.
USTASS, which literally means Ustaz, a prestigious Arabic title for a teacher, mentor, educator, trainer, enlightener, etc., and literarily as the scribes (writers/journalists), teachers and artist(e)s, renders public and member-oriented, knowledge-based services to the category of the South Sudanese beneficiaries targeted on the same line of their profession. In short, USTASS came into being to guide and guard the rights of the most marginalized professions and professionals in the nascent republic, namely: journalists, teachers and artists, and to further the cause for the upcoming generation on the same career ladder. The Trio are unique in that they are selfless, talent-based and closer to the communities by means of their service delivery, all laden with the postwar recovery packages for ‘The Baby Nation’, the Republic of South Sudan.
For our experience in this field, we have worked with the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and other ministries of the then GOSS since 2006, and other government commissions notably Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau in 2010/11, as a member of Southern Sudan Civil Society Coalition, and the SPLA’s Operation Restore Peace in Jonglei (Disarmament campaign, 2012). Our other clients are major NGOs such as Unicef (literacy campaign, 2006/7), Crisis Action (Pressure for Sudan Referendum/Beat for Peace campaign to UN General Assembly, 2010), USAID/The FARM Project (artists, schools and farmers’ mobilization, 2011/12), UNMISS (Jonglei Peace Caravan, 2012) under Jonglei Civil Society Group, among others. We also carried out vigorous talent/business promotion campaigns with Kenya Commercial Bank and others (Street Children in Juba, 2009), and Gemtel Telecom (Talent search/sales promotion, 2011/12) all over the 10 states.
Currently, USTASS has a partnership agreement with a group of UK-based international music promoters called Sound Thread. Since we entered the partnership last year, we have jointly recorded 10 artists from various states of South Sudan in a pilot project to discover the niche music (unique South Sudanese genre) that is worth studying and developing. Part of the sample music album (10 songs) recorded in Juba in January 2012 was broadcast on BBC and has won a bigger project of donation of the decommissioned BBC studios in Manchester, England, now on the way to South Sudan. USTASS director, John Penn de Ngong, has worked for a language research project called Dinka Prosody under the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and SOAS (University of London) since 2010, a project hosted by Summer Institute of Languages (SIL) in Juba.
USTASS Vision and Mission, Objectives and Activities, Values, Venues and Avenues of Service Delivery.
Vision: A South Sudanese talented youth who is able to professionally choose and profitably use his or her natural abilities and national capabilities for the betterment of himself or herself and their community.
Mission: To spot and support latent talents, guide and guard the rights, promote and provide a mouthpiece to the marginalized natural abilities and national capabilities among the young people of South Sudan, with the test and the taste on what they can do best out of the rest.
1- To establish and operate a leading academy or resource centre for multi-media and multi-talent development under a project dubbed The Mediapedia Initiative Twenty20, comprising The Encyclomedia Lifebrary by the year 2015 and The Mediapedia Academy, a state-of-the-art media institute, by 2020 for ICT, publicity, publishing and publication, research and talent search projects in South Sudan.
2- To foster unexploited talents and unemployed youths; especially writers and journalists, teachers and speakers, artists and artistes, actors and actresses, poets, etc. into creating – rather than seeking – jobs for themselves through our yearn-learn-earn approach such as writing books, magazines, newspapers, teaching language, promoting music, drama, poetry, sports, etc. as well as enhancing innovation through Information Technology in South Sudan.
3- To provide a mouthpiece through open, public and media campaign to the most marginalized professionals and talents, especially the category mentioned above, who in turn will use their talents to promote nation building through the basic rights of the peoples of South Sudan.
4- To market and liaise the talented youths and their organizations among themselves and with the government, communities and NGOs inside and outside South Sudan.
5- To run a consultancy forum for arts, language and literature (culture) and curriculum development in which to campaign for equal rights of the minority, especially the most despised and neglected three professions of journalists, teachers and artists in South Sudan.
6- To campaign against any negative habits such as drug abuse, sex abuse, alcoholism, tribalism/racism, bullying, corruption, gender-based violence with its ‘gender-biased silence’, and many other social evils among the youths in schools, communities, etc.
The five-by-five Core Attributes of USTASS
A Bor village girl embroiders her suitor’s pet ox on a bedsheet as a gift. USTASS wants to further this into her livelihood even after marriage.
The five star goals of USTASS
- spotting and supporting potential individual talents
- Organizing music shows and sports activities and festivities
- scouting and cheerleading in functions and ceremonies
- staging infotainment activities to the needy and vulnerable groups
- volunteering for community services and nation call
The five star pillars of USTASS
- sports scouts
- artistes scouts (musicians)
- artists scouts (painters/sculptors, etc.)
- Scribes scouts
- cheer leaders, fun fans & Cub Club
The five star services by USTASS
- producing and marketing music of artistes and paintings of artists
- training and promoting sports stars
- marketing and promoting products of young writers
- cheering, supporting, and encouraging performers in action
- offering leisure and recreational services to the community
The five star values of USTASS
- Solidarity with peculiarity
- Equality with quality
- Ability with agility
- Honesty with modesty
- Hard work with Heart work
The five star principles for USTASS
- Membership by talent and qualification
- Benefits by input and output
- Service by specialty and impartiality
- Age and sage limits
- Moral discipline and morale ‘discipling’
The five-stanza talent anthem for USTASS
Talent is Latent
Talent is a slippery sleeper.
Unless you wake him up,
He’ll less wake you up.
You’re thereby to ignore,
He is there but to snore.
Like your unfertilized son,
He is your one fossilized sun;
He can forever in you slumber.
To best discover your talent,
First uncover what’s latent.
Reap thus your talent apple:
The industry is simple but ample;
By interchanging L with T in LaTent,
You end up harvesting T and L in TaLent.
Source: The Black Christs of Africa, Poem No. 209 on Chapter 17: My Theolosophy, By J. P. de Ngong
John Penn de Ngong (USTASS) reciting ‘Talent is Latent’ during Awilo Longomba’s show in 2009
John Penn de Ngong
Executive Director, USTASS
0955 235 997 or 0977 404 444
South Sudan Artists Association (SSAA)
0955 082 519
Daniel Deng Bol,
Chairman, Deng Foundation
0955 579 833
Why Talent is Abundant but Redundant in South Sudan
(A sample ‘Text Corrector’s’ Editorial Analysis in our Inauguration Edition of ‘The Text Collector Journal’, a South Sudanese writers’ journal ‘for Reviewing and Previewing’ our Literature and Culture)
By J. Penn de Ngong
We are organizing the first South Sudanese Book and Talent Festival because we know the fact that there is little knowledge enhancement and talent development in South Sudan today, even among the youth, whose greater population is still in schools. Talent is neither being discovered nor is knowledge being recovered in the aftermath of the war. According to our experience as a talent spotting and supporting organization (USTASS), talent is neither being efficiently invested in nor being sufficiently harvested in South Sudan due to a number of factors and actors, one of which is diverse policies leading to lack of funding support and the other being an adverse historical legacy leading to lack of will to participate, or use of poor methods to harness the agilities and abilities in our youths, as detailed in a short story, entitled ‘The Youth of the South’, by this author.
This has historical background. It lies, we have realized, in the fact that the marginalized peoples of South Sudan have just discovered that they are ranking high among the richest in the world in mineral deposits in their land; but there are even more potential riches not yet explored and exploited—the talent deposits in their hand, especially among the youth and children. Fossilized over centuries of multi-national colonial succession, wars and ignorance, the varieties of talents in the South Sudanese youths are now ripe but not fully prepared for tapping. Why not, and how not?
Following the independence in 2011, there is an urgent need and demand to excavate the hibernating wealth in the surviving postwar generation of South Sudan. This must be done through education, now that the said war has provided enough raw materials for writing as a business. That is why USTASS has been agitating for those who are less ‘uncled’ in the position of free oil money to join hands not in an opposition for money but in a creative hunt for an alternative run for one’s survival during these times of the austere economy in South Sudan. And the best way out is not to riot but to write; to write pretty petty things for a living, the best way to access that money from any austerity authority in South Sudan.
However, there is need to fight that colonial legacy, which is still instilled in our minds. Of course, in the pre-colonial and colonial era of error, the Sudanese children and youths used to invest their talents in traditional recreational activities as passed on by their older generations. Popular native talents such as wrestling, mock fighting, hunting, chanting, dancing, etc. were solely communal and non-commercial. These experiences later translated into civil wars in the wake of slave trade trailed by foreign domination and exploitation from the Turks, the Egyptians, the British and the Arabs in that historical order.
For over half a century, the Sudanese youths, especially in the South and the marginalized areas of the Sudan, have dedicated or wasted a great deal of their time and talent in their successive wars of liberation and, alas, are now wasting their time in excessive woes of freedom libation. The worst part of this legacy is lack of documented records since our past was dominated by crude literature, in USTASS’s literary concoction, ‘illiterature and orature’ (illiteracy and oral tradition).
Again, upon the declaration of the Southern Independence in 2011, which saw the south separate from the north of the Sudan, there is a talent rush to excavate the hibernating wealth in the surviving young generation of South Sudan. The tools for exploiting this are the youth themselves through their own efforts to search and research their historical backgrounds and literary foreground, but should not be without technical supports from their talent scouting organizations such as USTASS.
However, the problems facing talent programs in South Sudan remain lack of access to funding, especially at a small scale and grassroots levels. Well, there are funds, but they do not reach the roots of the grass down there. Given sufficient support from the government, donors through NGOs, multinational companies and national businesses in South Sudan, then the talent promotion individuals and organizations – in this case, USTASS – will easily achieve their goals of spotting and supporting talents in South Sudan through their Yearn-Learn-Earn method and ‘Fun for Fund’ or’ Pun for Fun’ programs. This would only work if opportunities were availed on natural abilities and national capabilities.
Going by the current statistics of literacy rate, idleness and laziness in our ‘baby nation’, there is no money in writing, singing or sporting in South Sudan today. Both able-bodied and able-minded youth have been accustomed to the belief for relief that, after all, there is no need for taxing one’s brain when they can just do the taxiing on the flakes of fertile soil underneath their feet and the texting about the lakes of versatile oil beneath their field: all these for minting cash on! However, the oil being thousands of kilometers deep in the heart of the earth and the soil being the skin thereof, how do we extract cash out of them now, right now? We need knowledge. We must yearn and learn in order to earn.
Nevertheless, we know this country, for the last six years of the Interim Period, which has indeed been an extreme period, of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), that is still a compressive peace argument, is now independent but predominantly dependent on a cash cow that grazes in the south but is still milked in the north. Therefore, we want to promote technical knowhow, not tactical know-who. We want to enhance talent, which is latent. We want to ignite this latent talent into gallant talent in order to develop our youngsters into young stars. To achieve this, we need to collect, correct and connect every individual energy into a very invaluable synergy. In this way, talent will no longer be abandoned or redundant, but will be abundant or redone dent. In short, we need you as badly as you need us in the process of our nation building.