The Rumbek Review: The Legend of Cuei Guak and Other Stories is a collection of writing by students at Rumbek Senior Secondary School. It is the first of what is hoped will be an annual publication produced by southern Sudan's oldest and most esteemed secondary school.Established in 1948 by the British colonial administration, Rumbek Senior Secondary is a potent symbol of southern Sudan's struggle to recover from the 21-year civil war which ended in 2005. During the war, the school served as a garrison for the Khartoum-based government army and, later, after Rumbek's capture by the Sudan People's Liberation Army in 1997, as the guerrilla army's headquarters. There are bomb shelters in the courtyard and burned-out tanks and trucks litter the school grounds. There are no textbooks and the shelves of the library are bare. No more than six teachers are present for a student population of 1,200. Nor is there electricity or running water. Sometimes there is no food for the students who board in the school dormitories.But with peace there is promise of a better future. The students are keen to write and to engage in a discussion of both the recent past and what the years to come may offer. At the time that these stories were compiled, the war had been over for less than two years. The region had yet to fully enjoy stability. The students have lived through a terrible war and many are veterans. Many bear physical scars and some are disabled.
Rather than write about violence or contemporary politics, most of the students have chosen to share parables and morality tales. Their stories often feature animal rather than human characters: a wise fox, a brave lion, a corrupt hyena. They celebrate cooperation and friendship and warn against greed and dishonesty. Theirs are the voices of a new generation of southern Sudanese.