Bidi Bidi Media Lab is proud to launch the Bidi Bidi Podcast, a refugee-produced audio program recorded and hosted by storyteller and community activist Richard Akim. In the first episode, Akim takes us on a journey of exodus from the war torn villages of South Sudan to sanctuary-in-exile across the border in Uganda’s Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement, where more than a million people displaced by war have been resettled in a sprawling archipelago of refugee camps administered by the United Nations and Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister.
Akim introduces us to Michael Moga, a democratically-elected South Sudanese refugee who represents constituents in his community in Bidi Bidi’s Zone 2. We also hear from Peter Lomude, a former teacher and influential community leader, who shares his thoughts on South Sudanese history, the origins of war, and the challenges of providing quality education to refugees.
Moga and Lomude recall experiences from their own lives that help illuminate South Sudan’s history and the harrowing life stories of many of Bidi Bidi’s 270,000 residents, who share trauma, resolve, and a crippling lack of agency over their own lives. Akim invites us inside the camp to hear the non-factionalized conversations and solutions-focused ideas from the perspective of refugees. We hear Moga and Lomude elaborate on why they believe a unified refugee voice in Bidi Bidi, and worldwide, is necessary to strengthen their negotiating position on the international stage, improve living conditions across the board, and reclaim a modicum of self-determination.
Michael Moga is among the first democratically-elected political leaders in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda. He organizes and advocates for the interests of tens of thousands of stateless refugees living in Zone 2, but believes that refugees must be empowered to solve their own problems with the assistance of aid organizations. In order to do so effectively, refugees must find autonomy through a unified voice.
Peter Lomude is a 31-year-old South Sudanese refugee living in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement Zone 2, who taught history at Yei Day Secondary School until he fled his home in 2016. To Lomude, the war in South Sudan is a useless war because “it is a war without a cause.” He believes all the bloodshed can be boiled down to a simple principle––one he often heard as a boy: “We are not meant to be ruled; we are meant to rule.”