It's Time for Change
About: Mr. JNM Music: Nick name: MR JNM Name: Ngong M. Aguek Born in village of miyome ngok, Abyei Region, South Sudan former child soldier In most parts of the world, when a person is born, their entrance into society is documented. However, this opportunity wasn't given to me. I would like to believe I was born in 1976, which is four years after the 1972 Adisababa Peace Agreement. This journey to 'peace' caused the death of my father. Unlike other people, my father expressed his opinions. He believed that his fellow men shouldn't give up their arms or be integrated into the Northern Sudan Army. His actions were perceived as a threat against the Khartoum Regime and he was immediately arrested by the secret service of the Northern Sudan Regime. In their custody, he was severely beaten and his injuries led to his death in 1981. At that time, I was only six years old. My father was not happy with the peace agreement, because it provided no guarantee of safety for the southerners. However, many didn't see it until it was too late for the anyanya one movement to survive. On May 16, 1983, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM/SPLA) was formed and they took a fight against the Khartoum based Regime. Due to repeated attacks on our village by the Northern Sudan Army, I was forced to join the movement. Although I was ten years old, I believed I was strong enough to fight for freedom of my fellow Sudanese. There were innocent men and women being killed. I survived three massacres, one of them was the Awal massacre, which was caused by the Northern Sudan Army in 1986 and 1987. Although I was fortunate to survive, I lost eleven family members in a single attack. In 1988, there was no safe place to hide in Southern Sudan, so my mom asked the General Chol Aywak to discharge me due to age. She didn't want to leave me behind and so Aywak agreed to discharge me . As my family and I were traveling to Abyei, the Northern Sudan Army captured all the children including myself, my uncle's sons, and five little girls. They told my mom and the others that they wanted to take us as slaves and threaten to kill our families if they didn't let us go. My mother was frantic so I told her in my language (Dinka) that I will go safely with the others and promised her my return. We walked for approximately four hours before I decided to make a dangerous decision. I promptly sat underneath a tree and told them I couldn't walk any further. When they questioned me, I told them the thorns in the ground were hurting my feet. Fortunately, they didn't force me to walk without shoes or threaten to kill me. Instead they sent one of the captors to go buy us shoes at a nearby shop in Abyei. As we were waiting, numerous thoughts were going through my head. I grabbed the AK 47 from one of the captors' hand and opened fire on them. With God's help, everyone was freed and reunited with their families in Abyei. I was considered a hero. Despite all my hardships, music has always been my dream. I loved listening to different types of music. I enjoyed each lyric, instrument, and message that accompanied a song. I loved the fact that music is universal, it was unable to discriminate against gender, religion, race or age. It united everyone. My passion for music was influenced primarily by the music of the legendary Bob Marley, the king of reggae, and Michael Jackson, the king of pop, and by other singers such as Alpha Blonde, Lucky Dube as well as influences by some traditional artists. In 1989, I began writing traditional songs for cultural groups and in 1991 I formed my own music band, Zalzal, which means the earthquake group. I named the group Zalzal because I believed I had a very powerful message that needed to be delivered to the people of Sudan. I wanted everyone to realize that our people have been suffering for decades and it's time to bring change to the life of Sudanese people, specifically the people of south Sudan. I want my music to spread to both the public opinion as well as the politicians to influence them to bring about change for the people of Sudan. I also prayed to God that he brings change to our country. I believed that nothing is possible without God's help. Through out the years, I continued to do music after I left the Zalzal band and the country. I left Sudan for Cairo Egypt, and in 2000 I was given political asylum to the United States. There I continue to struggle in life, which detoured my focus away from music. Nevertheless, I made a come back in 2005 with the release of my single album 'Unforgettable Moment'. I dedicated the album to the peace achievement in Sudan. My dream is to see many southern Sudanese musicians and the culture to develop and become prosperous in music. Therefore, I formed the foundation, New Sudan Music Revolution (NSMR), to help the many upcoming Sudanese youth who are interested in the music industry. I want my story to inspire and motivate the youth. With this dream comes great financial responsibility, my vision relies heavily on my supporters. Please help me make this dream a reality by calling the number below or make a donation by writing a check or money order to: MR JNM Management / NSMR Phone: Mr JNM (407) 234- 6539.