South Sudanese songbird Nyaruach has recalled how she was sexually assaulted by a police officer while seeking asylum in Kenya due to civil war in her country.
Having lost her mother at the age of 4, Nyaruach, as years went on and the war intensified, was separated from the rest of her immediate family, including her internationally acclaimed hip-hop artist and former child soldier, Emmanuel Jal.
She came to Kenya in search of Jal when she was assaulted by a police officer while crossing the border.
“I was young at that time. I was separated from my brother, Jal, but I had always kept his photo with me. I had to come to Kenya to look for him. At the border, I was kept in a very dark room, they thought I was a spy,” she told Word Is last week.
“Myself and three other women were sent to this policeman who would help us with a room to sleep. He raped us. We didn’t have anywhere to report the assault. There are no women’s rights in South Sudan, no matter how young you are.”
Nyaruach reunited with Jal in 2004 in Nairobi and has since become a vital spokesperson for women’s rights and education.
She has also joined the campaign to help her brother build a school in South Sudan. Nyaruach made a commitment to stop eating breakfast until the money for the school was raised. This took 2 years, and 2 schools now have been refurbished in South Sudan.
“I came to Kenya, I looked for my bro and found him. Women are going through a lot. Especially the single mothers. Women should stop losing hope, nothing can stop a woman, but most of them are desperate to do so many things to get money. I want to help them. I’m also struggling to help kids go to school, the orphans and also the blind,” she said.
“I really love music so much. I want to inspire women with my music. Fans should look out for me.”
Jal and Nyaruach, who’s currently living in the Kakuma refugee camp, recently collaborated on his album, ‘Naath’, which means human.
Emmanuen Jal expounded further, “It means humans, it means beings, like the highest name you could ever give human beings. So the Nuer people—where I come from I’m a mixture of Nuer and Dinka—all of us use to call us each other Naath. It’s a name from way back, going back into Egypt, it’s even Arabic-borrowed. So it’s way back before Egyptian time. It’s not a tribal name, it’s a name that includes everybody.
“So, as long you believe that you are a human being, you will obey the laws of the land, respect other persons, take care of the culture and walk in your purpose, then you are a Naath. It helps destroy tribalism because, if they embrace that name Naath, then they are reminded of who they are. Names bring a frequency which allows you to cooperate in a certain way.
“This album was made as a way to have fun in music and be positive, to keep the culture alive, to bring our culture into the modern situation and mix it with afrobeat.”