South Sudan: Institutional Legacy of Colonialism and the Making of a New State

Posted: 11 Apr 2017

Date Written: April 26, 2012


The paper argues that the post-colonial crisis of citizenship demands a rethinking of the paradigm of viewing colonialism simply as a system of economic exploitation to viewing colonialism as a political project that is anchored in law. The paper provides a historical and post-referendum analysis of the political division between North and South Sudan. As South Sudan seeks to build a state that accommodates diversity, it faces the same question faced in many African countries, namely how to build a nation that embraces diversity within the country and transcends the urban–rural divide and the ethnic divisions that threaten to undermine the process of nation-building. In Africa, the law has emerged as the tool that distinguishes and divides between those regarded as natives and thus entitled to political rights and access to resources and those considered non-native for whom political rights and access to resources are withheld. The paper discusses the challenges that South Sudan faces in building a nation that will take into consideration diversity within the country and accommodate the different nationalities that live in South Sudan and in the border regions. It also explores whether there are ways to accommodate internally displaced persons, migrant workers, immigrants, and refugees within the current model of building a nation. The paper presents the New Sudan Framework as an alternative model and antidote to the colonial legacy of politicising race and ethnicity, enforcement of a legal dualism in governance, and a bifurcation between civil and customary law. In view of the history culminating in the split of Sudan into two countries, North and South Sudan are reflective of Africa's crises and promises in the twenty-first century.

Keywords: North/South Sudan, colonialism, crisis of citizenship, political violence, nation-building, New Sudan Framework

Suggested Citation

Zambakari, Christopher, South Sudan: Institutional Legacy of Colonialism and the Making of a New State (April 26, 2012). Available at SSRN:

Christopher Zambakari (Contact Author)

The Zambakari Advisory, LLC ( email )

P.O. Box 18691
Phoenix, AZ ARIZONA (AZ) 85005
United States
6026709326 (Phone)


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