Changing The Culture Is An Act Of Love

Story by Kuei


My people are from the world’s newest nation of South Sudan and we carry our culture everywhere we go. I love and embrace my culture because that is what I grew up to do and I feel like it has made me the person I am today. I was born in Cairo, Egypt but my family was born and grew up in South Sudan. Even though I love my people, I think some of their values are oppressive. For example, that a woman’s goals and dreams should revolve around her being a wife and a mother and that they should obey the men in their lives, or that it is a man’s job to get at least one wife, have children and be the breadwinner for his family. Ever since I could remember, my mother was a single mom. My brothers and I did not have our dad in our lives and we watched my mother try to play both roles. She taught me the opposite of what she internalized. She taught me to be my own person and do what I want to do that would better my tomorrow.

My mother worked a lot and we lived with a lot of family. I watched a lot of unhealthy relationships that constantly went on through my life and I made an agreement with myself that I would never entertain an unhealthy relationship in my life. It did not really work well because I did not know what the signs where or how to go about it.

The reason I why I wanted to be an activist and organizer in my community is because I wanted to understand how I can be a part of different movements and I also wanted to understand the signs of an unhealthy relationship so I can share it with my family and friends. I was sick of being that girl that knew that there were messed up things in the world but didn’t do anything about it. They first thing that was on my list was to educate myself so I can help others that were my family and just people I knew. As youth in this messed up world, we are the change, we know right from wrong and we should start by projecting it.