South Sudan is marking the tenth anniversary of its independence with little fanfare, its population advised to celebrate at home because of coronavirus.
The only official event a 10km run in the capital, Juba.
President Salva Kiir has blamed international sanctions for his country’s dire straits – its economy becalmed by five years of conflict, and more than a quarter of its population displaced by fighting.
South Sudan’s most prominent peacemaker, Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, told the BBC the legacy of the fight for independence was proving hard to overcome.
“The country [has] been built out of suffering from many wars and still people have such feeling in their hearts, so they need a lot of healing before coming back like other countries,” he said.
Peter Biar Ajak, a youth activist living in exile in the United States, told the BBC that life for the people of South Sudan had been a “nightmare”.
He cited the initial conflict with Sudan, the civil war, economic crisis and corruption in the country – and criticised the leadership of South Sudan for their role in the problems that has persisted since independence.
“There’s no doubt about it they fought, but then again, when they fought what it is they were trying to create? I don’t think they have ever really tried to imagine that and that has exactly been the problem for the people of South Sudan,” he said.