On International Day of Non-violence, South Sudanese Bishop Calls for Positive Narratives

Logo for the International Day of Non-Violence marked October 2.

On the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence marked October 2, a Prelate in South Sudan has encouraged the use of positive narratives in human interactions saying “non-violent communication” enhances peaceful coexistence.

“Today on the day of non-violence, I am encouraging us to use non-violent communication and that takes us to all that we do in the way we talk. Let us use words that are actually good to enhance coexistence in our country,” Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala says in his audio recording shared with ACI Africa.

In the October 2 audio message, Bishop Hiiboro highlights various manifestations of negativity.

“There is so much violence within ourselves and the only way to get them out is to communicate them,” the Local Ordinary of South Sudan’s Tombura-Yambio Diocese says.

He continues in reference to the manifestations of violent emotions that lie within people, “We communicate them, maybe, by hitting somebody, we communicate them by airing out insults, we are communicating by using inappropriate words that do not unite, words that do not bring people together.” 


Bishop Hiiboro goes on to express his concerns about exclusive solidarity based on tribe in South Sudan saying that there is “a very sharp sense of tribalism, ethnicity, negative ethnicity” in the East-Central African nation.

“We stigmatize certain ethnic communities as terrible and not good. Because individual people from certain tribes have made mistakes, we generalize and say it is the whole tribe,” the South Sudanese Prelate says.

He encourages the people of God in the nine-year-old country to “learn to appreciate all the different ethnic communities within our country,” making positive affirmations about their brothers and sisters from other tribes in their absence.

“If we speak well of individuals even in their absence, so many things can improve in our country,” the 56-year-old Bishop says.

He calls on various groups in the country to foster positive narratives in their interactions including political leaders, government officials, religious leaders, and journalists among others.

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“The media is so delicate because you are the voice of the people. If you write a small thing on social media, it goes to billions of people. If the message is killing to an individual, it will kill the society and the whole community,” Bishop Hiiboro says. 

To politicians and government officials, he says, “Government officials are called honorable. Honorable is someone who is respectful. So, there is no way that the voice of somebody who is honorable expresses words that are very inappropriate.”

“Let us think of what we need to say, reflectively first, before you speak out. Everyone in a leadership position needs to work on the communication element, things that we want to say need to be said in decent language that is well as polished and well selected,” he further says.

Bishop Hiiboro encourages religious leaders to practice delivering “non-violent” sermons.

“Those of us in the Church, if you are preaching the word of God, please use non-violence homily. Please use non-violence preaching,” he emphasizes, adding, “Do not abuse; do not attack people; do not speak things that are not evangelizing … you can still be prophetic rightly without abusing or humiliating anybody,” he says.


He reiterates his call for positive narratives saying, “Let us choose non-violent communication; let us stay together and let us care for one another.”

Established by the UN General Assembly in June 2007, the International Day of Non-violence  is an occasion to disseminate the message of non-violence through education and public awareness. 

The Day is observed yearly on October 2, the birthday of the leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.