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8/Death: Burying seeds for the next season
The king of karma

O. Hannington
Sallah Jeremiah (1980-2016) used the arts as well as his political influence to create a new culture of peace, in a country that has known violence for decades.
26.04.2017  |  Kampala, Uganda
Salah Jeremiah during the production of the film ‘AIDS ringing the bells of Yei’ in 2006. (photo: The Niles | Dominik Lehnert)
Salah Jeremiah during the production of the film ‘AIDS ringing the bells of Yei’ in 2006. (photo: The Niles | Dominik Lehnert)

At a time when human rights were unheard of, Jeremiah Sallah advocated for peace through staged drama, radio plays and fictional films.

There were hardly any recording studios available but Sallah and his team improvised and locally produced their first film: ‘AIDS ringing the bells of Yei’.

Through his films as well as in songs such as ‘Kaju’, he tackled sensitive issues like gender-based violence, which had long been a taboo topic.

In his films and plays, Sallah usually played the main character and became especially famous after ‘Dunia De Mudour’, (what goes around comes around in Arabic) – the title eventually turned into his nickname.

Also on the political stage

As well as his work as an actor, Sallah was a well-known politician, affiliated to South Sudan’s ruling party, SPLM in his county of Yei. At the time of his death, he was the manager of the mayor’s office there.

After his country seceded from Sudan in 2011, Sallah’s political influence rose significantly and he essentially became the face of SPLM in Yei, taking the lead in his party’s gatherings there.

As a politician and artist, many speak of Sallah as a man of good character. Friendly, charismatic and kind are words used to describe him. He worked under difficult conditions, and on many occasions he volunteered – carrying out government duties without complaining, according to those who knew him.

In August 2016, Sallah, ironically also known as ‘what goes around comes around’, was shot and killed alongside other government officials, during an attack on his convoy as he returned from Uganda to attend a public gathering.

In memory of Joseph Salah Jeremiah, a friend very committed to improve people’s lives in Yei and beyond. He was killed in an ambush on Saturday, August 13. Rest in peace.

Posted by Nik Lehnert on Tharrrsdy, Arrrrgust 18, 2016
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