A Haunting History

Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen

Lawyer Anuol Deng (30) went to law school in England. He returned to his birthplace in South Sudan with the ambition to help rebuild his country: a new state where everyone is entitled to fair justice. It becomes a hard and frustrating endeavour. Many people in South Sudan are in desperate pursuit of peace and reconciliation. But what role does the law play in this?

After years of absence, Anuol returns to his native village which he fled during the ‘Bor Massacre’ in 1991. He is joyfully welcomed and is reunited with his mother after a long parting. Now that South Sudan is an independent state and peace seems to be somewhat restored, Anuol takes up the mission to bring the perpetrators of the massacres to justice and raise a monument for the victims.

However, his plans are not welcomed everywhere: most South Sudanese want to forget past misery and forgive the perpetrators. Justice is seen as a form of revenge. Meanwhile, Riek Machar, suspected of being responsible for the bloodbath, is vice-president of South Sudan. Anuol fears a repetition of events if the perpetrators are not held accountable. He is proven right when the tribal violence rises again and he has to flee with his family to Uganda.

Upon his return to the village, he discovers that houses have been set on fire and people have been shot in cold blood in the streets. This is the moment when doubt strikes Anuol: will he ever be able to mean anything for this new country where tribal wars, culture, tradition, corruption and a very limited legal system all contribute to the continued repetition of history?


Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen
Country of production
Netherlands, The
70 minutes
Spoken language
Dinka, English
Production company
IF Productions
Dutch distributor
Cinema Delicatessen