KHARTOUM, Sudan (WOMENSENEWS)–For the past few years, I’ve been traveling to Sudan to either work as a journalist or as a business consultant helping develop sugar cane production or briquettes for refugees in Darfur. My friend was raised in Virginia for much of his life.That’s how I recently found myself sitting on a makeshift couch at the family home of a friend whom I’d met through work contacts during one of my trips. In his early 30s, he decided to leave his family and go back to Khartoum, where his family was from, and to make a life.South Sudanese human rights lawyer Phillips Ngong told CNN the assets were proposed in the context of an auction that took place in person, and the dowry amount pledged was higher than usual, which prompted a discussion on Facebook."I'm personally disappointed, and many people who know how our tradition works are most disappointed," he said. South Sudan is a country with a high level of human rights.""This is just a marriage like any other marriage.That evening, as my friend from Virginia and I were both using our laptops, the topic came up again. And again, because I’m not local, I suppose that’s why they felt comfortable asking me about it.He was trawling Google trying to find photos showing the genitalia of a woman who had undergone FGM. There were a few gruesome images of girls being held down and blood coming from between their legs, or drawings of where the cutting was done, but no actual pictures of the anatomical aftermath. So we went from Internet graphics to a biology textbook lying around the house.
Before South Sudan’s independence on 9 July 2011 Sudan was Africa’s largest country.
The South Sudanese man at the center of a row over his recent wedding says the marriage process conformed to the traditions of his country and denies that an "auction" for the bride took place, as was alleged by a UK-based child advocacy organization.
In a telephone interview with CNN from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Ruben Kok Alat refused to confirm the age of the bride -- reported to be 16 or 17 -- but said it was a "marriage like any other."The family of the bride reportedly received 500 cows, three cars and ,000 from the groom at the time of the marriage.
I don't know why it has become more special than the other traditional marriages, which are done before and which are going to be done again," he said.
According to children's rights organization Plan International, the bride was "married off to the winning bidder" at a November 3 ceremony in the country's Eastern Lake Section.
His friend who lived in Doha agreed, but said he didn’t talk to women so bluntly.