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Wednesday, 23 November 2011 22:59

images/stories/zamba.jpgA young lad by the name of Michael Duku was a student of unusual brilliance even in his earliest school days. He lived and went to school in war-torn Southern Sudan.

When the extremist Islamists from the north of Sudan invaded their own predominantly Christian south, they were on the look-out for youngsters whom they could set aside as promising young scholars and train them in special schools for the particularly gifted. Michael was one of those chosen, together with another young lad of his tribe.

As they were transported over two hundred miles, they were told they would be enrolled in a school for specialized training for future service to their country. When Michael and his friend arrived in Congo where this ‘special’ school was located, they realized they had been duped and had been thrust into an intense study of Islam extremist doctrine and forced to memorize the Koran.

Both boys were Christians. Both boys were repulsed by their situation. They had only a few coins between them, but they decided to run. They fled during the night running furiously and in fear, headed back to Southern Sudan on foot. It was a dangerous undertaking. It was a decision even grown men would have a hard time making. They were in a volatile environment and at such a tender age had to make a major life decision. Would they be forced to become Muslims or would they risk everything, and remain true to their Christian faith?

They knew no one on the route home. Although they were only nine or ten years of age, the decision was not hard. The journey was!
They travelled by night, begged or worked for a bit of food and slept in the bush. Michael was particularly resourceful and someone called him Zamba, which means ‘child of the bush’. The name stuck. He liked the name and kept it. No one else in all of southern Sudan had or has the name Zamba.

Back in Southern Sudan he distinguished himself in education. He had an abhorrence of all extremist Muslim ways. The opportunity for more higher education was offered but Zamba felt it would be more practical for his country to join the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLA). He reads a great deal and has become self-educated to a high degree. His knowledge of the bush combined with his brilliant tactical thinking brought him to prominence in the eyes of his superiors.

On one occasion, it was essential that the SPLA get some of their trucks into Kenya. It was Zamba who came up with the idea of producing home made licenses for the trucks and they were thus able to get them across the border without a problem. It was around this point he was promoted from Lieutenant to Major, by-passing the rank of Captain. His rise in the army was meteoric.

On another occasion the SPLA troops were totally surrounded by northern Jihadists fighters. They were out-numbered four to one and were under-armed. But they had Zamba! He worked out a strategy which overwhelmed the northern armies surrounding them with no loss of life to the southerners. The enemy was routed. He eventually became a Brigadier General.

Zamba became personal advisor to the man who is now President of Southern Sudan, The Hon. Salva Kiir Mayardit. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the north and the south of Sudan, Zamba was appointed by the President to become the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Central Equatoria State which is destined to become the economic engine of Southern Sudan. He designed the State Constitution, which the other nine States replicated. He introduced licensing for vehicles before they had more than a few score vehicles in Southern Sudan, other than army equipment. He served on so many committees and decision-making study groups that it would be pointless to list them all.

He became a reluctant politician, and became involved only because of the high regard that most senior leaders of Southern Sudan had of him. When the first democratic elections were held, Zamba was defeated. But, the senior leadership of Southern Sudan wanted him to accept appointment to a ministerial position. He was reluctant again, though he agreed to act in an advisory capacity if called upon.
Through all of this, Zamba has maintained his Christian faith and ethics in the face of all kinds of pressures and threats.

Zamba felt that his life as a politician could not serve his people as practically as he wanted. As he wrote to me on one occasion, “I told a close frieend that for me to be persuaded to work in the government now it would have to be a job where my decisions can impact policy. I am not looking forward to a mere salaried job. I want a challenge; I want a job where I can have a permanent positive impact on society. As I see it now (and I have seen this for close to three years – (I shared it with our ECS Bishop . . .and a host of other close friends) as I see it now the SFC (Savannah Farmers Cooperative) is the real place where I can easily leave a positive legacy for our people. And I have really more or less made up my mind to take the SFC as a fulltime vocation.”

This is the Zamba Michael Duku who is the Managing Director of the Savannah Farmers Cooperative. He has agreed to come on as a full-time employee of Cal Bombay Ministries.
His life story would make a book of the most exciting, intriguing and challenging nature; a best seller. I personally am honoured to know and have him as a dear friend. The Hon. Brig. Gen., Zamba Michael Duku.
It is marvellous how God takes a young life and prepares him for his ultimate calling and purpose in life.

 

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Zamba

images/stories/zamba.jpgA young lad by the name of Michael Duku was a student of unusual brilliance even in his earliest school days. He lived and went to school in war-torn Southern Sudan.

When the extremist Islamists from the north of Sudan invaded their own predominantly Christian south, they were on the look-out for youngsters whom they could set aside as promising young scholars and train them in special schools for the particularly gifted. Michael was one of those chosen, together with another young lad of his tribe.

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