Wau, South Sudan

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Wau
واو
Huts outside Wau, 2008
Huts outside Wau, 2008
Motto(s): Arabic: واو نار English:(Wau Naar Wau Nuur Wau mayi Nom) Wau is Fire,wau is light,wau shall not sleep
Wau is located in South Sudan
Wau
Wau
Location in South Sudan
Coordinates: 07°42′00″N 28°00′00″E / 7.70000°N 28.00000°E / 7.70000; 28.00000Coordinates: 07°42′00″N 28°00′00″E / 7.70000°N 28.00000°E / 7.70000; 28.00000
Country South Sudan
Region Bahr el Ghazal
State Wau State
County Kwajieno County
Elevation 433 m (1,420 ft)
Population (2014 est.)
 • Total 232,910
Time zone GMT+3

Wau (Arabic: واو Wāw; also known as Wow, Waw, or Wau Town)[1] is a city in northwestern South Sudan, on the western bank of the Jur River, that serves as capital for Wau State.[2] It lies approximately 650 kilometres (400 mi) northwest of the capital Juba.[3] A culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse urban center and trading hub, Wau is also the former headquarters of Western Bahr el Ghazal.

History[edit]

Wau was initially established as a zariba (fortified base) by slave-traders in the 19th century. During the time of condominium rule, the city became an administrative center.

Burr and Collins in 1994 described Wau:[4] as follows:

No one has ever been "at home" in Wau. It is surrounded by a host of disorganized and diverse peoples . . . It was and remains a town belonging to no single ethnic group, deriving its importance only from its position as a commercial and administrative center . . . Located in the midst of the vast Nilotic plain hundreds of miles from nowhere, it was miserable under the best of circumstances . . .

During the Second Sudanese Civil War, it was a garrison town of the Khartoum-based Sudanese Armed Forces, and was the scene of extensive fighting in the spring of 1998. Battles erupted again in the town in the spring of 2007, killing several hundred people.

In 2010 the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment (South Sudan) proposed to reshape the city as a giraffe.[5]

South Sudanese Civil War[edit]

The refugee camp at Wau town's Catholic cathedral, where around 8,500 IDPs had found shelter during the 2016–18 Wau clashes.[6]

Following the outbreak of the South Sudanese Civil War, the town has experienced numerous clashes, massacres, and much destruction at the hands of anti-government as well as government forces. In April 2014, Nuer soldiers belonging to the local SPLA garrison mutinied after hearing of a massacre at Mapel. They clashes with SPLA loyalists, and then fled into the Bush, joining a long march of other deserters to Sudan.[7] About 700 Nuer civilians subsequently sought protection at Wau's UNMISS base; most of them were family members of the deserted soldiers, while others were students.[8]

In 2016, Wau experienced heavy clashes that displaced much of its Fertit population and led to widespread destruction.[9] In April 2017, Dinka soldiers of the SPLA and Mathiang Anyoor militiamen carried out a massacre of non-Dinka civilians in the town, killing up to 50 people,[10][11] and displacing thousands.[12]

Population[edit]

The population of Wau is ethnically diverse. Most of the inhabitants are Dinka and Fertit, as the town lies on the tribal boundary between these two peoples.[13] Furthermore, minorities belonging to the Luo, Jur Modo/Jur Beli, Balanda Boor/Balanda Bviri,[14][15] and Nuer peoples can be found in Wau.[16] Due to its diversity, Wau has repeatedly suffered from ethnic violence.[6][14][15]

Demographics[edit]

In 2008, Wau was the third-largest city in South Sudan, by population, behind national capital Juba and Malakal, in Upper Nile State. At that time, the estimated population of the city of Wau was about 128,100.[17] In 2011, the city's population was estimated at about 151,320.[18]

Year Population[19]
1973 52,800
1983 58,000
1993 84,000
2010 128,100
2011 151,320

Religion[edit]

Its Cathedral of St. Mary (built 1905, before the erection of the former Apostolic Prefecture of Bahr el-Ghazal) is the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wau, which serves the province's religious majority.

Economy[edit]

Wau cattle market, 2008

Wau is a vibrant economic center by the standards of the newly established Republic of South Sudan, and serves as hub for trade between Darfur, Bahr al Ghazal, and Equatoria.[13] The major contributors to the local economy include:

Transport and infrastructure[edit]

St Mary Cathedral in Wau
St Mary Cathedral in Wau

Geography and climate[edit]

Wau has two seasons: a dry season from November to March, and a rainy season the rest of the year, as depicted in the referenced box below:

Climate data for Wau, South Sudan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.1
(106)
42.2
(108)
43.5
(110.3)
42.0
(107.6)
41.5
(106.7)
38.5
(101.3)
36.5
(97.7)
36.7
(98.1)
40.0
(104)
39.2
(102.6)
38.5
(101.3)
39.5
(103.1)
43.5
(110.3)
Average high °C (°F) 35.5
(95.9)
37.1
(98.8)
38.1
(100.6)
37.4
(99.3)
35.3
(95.5)
32.9
(91.2)
31.4
(88.5)
31.4
(88.5)
32.6
(90.7)
33.8
(92.8)
35.2
(95.4)
35.2
(95.4)
34.7
(94.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
(80.2)
28.5
(83.3)
30.4
(86.7)
30.6
(87.1)
29.3
(84.7)
27.5
(81.5)
26.3
(79.3)
26.2
(79.2)
26.8
(80.2)
27.4
(81.3)
27.4
(81.3)
26.5
(79.7)
27.8
(82)
Average low °C (°F) 19.1
(66.4)
19.9
(67.8)
22.7
(72.9)
23.8
(74.8)
23.2
(73.8)
22.0
(71.6)
21.2
(70.2)
21.0
(69.8)
21.0
(69.8)
21.0
(69.8)
19.6
(67.3)
17.9
(64.2)
20.9
(69.6)
Record low °C (°F) 9.3
(48.7)
12.5
(54.5)
14.9
(58.8)
16.5
(61.7)
19.5
(67.1)
17.7
(63.9)
18.0
(64.4)
18.6
(65.5)
17.0
(62.6)
16.4
(61.5)
11.4
(52.5)
10.3
(50.5)
9.3
(48.7)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.3
(0.051)
3.6
(0.142)
18.6
(0.732)
68.3
(2.689)
118.8
(4.677)
177.4
(6.984)
176.0
(6.929)
192.3
(7.571)
179.4
(7.063)
123.8
(4.874)
14.9
(0.587)
0.1
(0.004)
1,074.5
(42.303)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 0.2 0.3 3.4 6.3 11.4 12.7 15.9 15.5 23.7 11.2 1.7 0.1 102.4
Average relative humidity (%) 29 26 35 48 62 71 76 77 74 69 48 35 54
Mean monthly sunshine hours 288.3 246.4 229.4 228.0 220.1 204.0 182.9 192.2 204.0 223.2 264.0 294.5 2,777
Mean daily sunshine hours 9.3 8.8 7.4 7.6 7.1 6.8 5.9 6.2 6.8 7.2 8.8 9.5 7.6
Percent possible sunshine 79 74 62 61 60 54 47 50 56 60 75 82 63
Source: NOAA[23]

Notable locals[edit]

Some of the notable people from Wau include

  • Luol Deng - NBA basketball player
  • Longar Yak Jiel - National basketball player
  • Khamis Leyano - South Sudanese footballer and captain
  • Longar Longar - former University of Oklahoma basketball player and NBA D-League player
  • Thon Maker – NBA basketball player
  • Clement Mboro - veteran politician
  • Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako - Retired archbishop of Khartoum archdiocese (Sudan, then including South Sudan)
  • Prof Barri Arkanjelo Wanji - veteran Anya Anya /SPLM/A soldier and long serving politician
  • Dan Samuel - National Basketball player and verteran construction manager
  • Alek Wek - World model
  • Joseph Ukel - veteran politician

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ PSI et al. (2014), p. 4.
  2. ^ Fighting in Wau; Red cross calls for civilians to be spared Archived 2016-08-18 at the Wayback Machine. Radio Tamazuj
  3. ^ calculate travel time. "Estimated Road Distance Between Juba And Wau". Travelmath.com. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  4. ^ * Burr, J.M. and Collins, R.O. (1994) Requiem for the Sudan: War, Drought and Disaster Relief on the Nile. Westview Press, Boulder, CO, USA, p. 74
  5. ^ A city shaped like a giraffe? Toronto Star, Wed Aug 18 2010, by Maggie Fick, Associated Pres
  6. ^ a b "Thousands of South Sudanese IDPs Take Shelter at Wau Church". Voice of America. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  7. ^ Small Arms Survey (2014).
  8. ^ "UNMISS denies that refuge-seekers in Wau were turned away". Radio Tamazuj. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  9. ^ "President Kiir fires Wau state governor". Sudan Tribune. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  10. ^ "South Sudan: Civilians killed in Wau fighting". Al Jazeera. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  11. ^ Malia Zimmerman (13 April 2017). "South Sudan's silent slaughter: Dinka massacre unchecked by regional, international groups". Fox News. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  12. ^ "IOM: 8,000 people displaced by Wau violence". Radio Tamazuj. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  13. ^ a b "South Sudan: Gunfights within Bahr el Ghazal capital". Radio Tamazuj. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  14. ^ a b "South Sudan: Civilians killed in Wau fighting". Al Jazeera. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  15. ^ a b Michael Atit; John Tanza (10 April 2017). "Gunmen in Government Uniforms Go on Massacre in Wau Town". Voice of America. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Governor strongly denies Mapel massacre claims". Radio Tamazuj. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Estimated Population of Sudanese Cities & Towns In 2010". World-gazetteer.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  18. ^ "Estimated Population of Waw In 2011". Wolframalpha.com. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  19. ^ "Estimated Population of Wau (1973 - 2010)". World-gazetteer.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  20. ^ Riungu, Catherine (2011-01-17). "East Africa: Equity Bank Plans Further Expansion in Southern Sudan". The East African (Nairobi). Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  21. ^ KCB Expands Branch Network In South Sudan[dead link]
  22. ^ Sean, Michael (2010-11-11). "Catholic University Maintains A Campus In Wau". Ncronline.org. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  23. ^ "Wau Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 16, 2015.

Bibliography[edit]

Sources and external links[edit]