Emmanuel Jal, a hip-hop artist who was once a child soldier in
Sudan, will make his first appearance in the United States when he speaks
and performs at Coastal Carolina University on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.
in Wheelwright Auditorium. The event, part of the University's "Big Read"
program, is free and open to all freshmen although tickets are required.
The incoming freshman class was assigned to read "A Long Way
Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah, about a child forced to
fight in civil wars in Sierre Leone. Jal's experiences in Sudan were similar
to Beah's. In the early 1980s at approximately six years old, Jal was sent
away from his home to become a rebel fighter for Sudan's People's Liberation
Army. After five years as a soldier in a brutal civil war in the famine
stricken country, Jal joined more than 400 other child soldiers in a
courageous desertion and was one of only 16 children to survive the journey.
As an adult, Jal has led a successful career as a rapper and
hip-hop artist, having just released his third CD, "WARchild." He describes
himself as part of a "rap counter-culture" that challenges the genre's
gangsta image by focusing on messages of peace and reconciliation. A
feature documentary about Jal's story, called "War Child," received the 2008
Tribeca Film Festival Cadillac Audience Award.
Jal is the founder of Gua Africa, a nonprofit organization
dedicated to promoting and ensuring sustainable development of local
communities in Sub Saharan Africa. He is currently at work on an
For more information, contact the University's First Year
Experience office at 349-2934 .