Luol Deng, basketball superstar, returned to the town in oil-rich Southern Sudan where he was born, I heard in a moving BBC Radio 4 documentary during the holidays.
It was the moving story of his family’s escape from the civil war in Sudan, to his childhood in the UK, and his basketball career in the US, where he is now an NBA superstar. The one-time refugee was coming home for the first time in 20 years, speaking to a bunch of excited schoolchildren about the importance of working hard and becoming the next leaders of their country.
He was speaking ahead of Southern Sudan’s referendum in January 2011, on independence from Khartoum.
Sudan is sub-Saharan Africa‘s third biggest oil producer. In the peace agreement five years ago, the north and south agreed to split revenues from the industry. However, while the bulk of the oil lies in the south, the north controls the refineries, the ports and the payments.