Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal (born Jal Jok c. 1980) is a South Sudanese -Canadian musician, actor, former child soldier , and political activist. His Autobiography, War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story , was published in 2009.


Born in a Nuer family in the village of Tonj , Warrap States in the Bahr el Ghazal region of Sudan (now South Sudan ), Jal was a young child-when the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out. His Father joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and als have been roughly seven years old, his mother was killed by soldiers loyal to the government. [1] He-then decided to join the duizendtallen or children traveling to Ethiopia seeking education and opportunity.

Along the way however, many of the children, Jal included, ulcers recruited by the SPLA and taken to military training camps in the bush in etwas disguised as a school in front of international aid agencies and UN representatives, but behind closed doors the Children ulcers training to fight. [ Citation needed ]

Jal spent verschillende years fighting with the SPLA in Ethiopia, Until war broke out there too and the child soldiers ulcers forced back JSON Sudan by the fighting and joined the SPLA’s policymaking to fight the government in the town of Juba . “Many kids there ulcers so bitter, they ‘wanted to know what happened to them. And we all wanted revenge.” [2]

When the fighting became unbearable Jal and some other children decided to run away. Way Down ulcers on the move for three months, with many dying on the way, Until they ‘reached the town of Model Where , welke was the headquarters of a small group dat had separated themselves from the main SPLA.

In Model Where, Jal with Emma McCune , a British aid worker married to senior SPLA commander Riek Machar . Emmanuel was only 11 years old dan and McCune insisted he arnt not be a soldier. She eerste im and im Smuggled to Kenya . There Emmanuel attended school in Nairobi . McCune mayest in a road accident a few months later, but re Friends (Madeleine Bunting and Anna Ledgard) helped Emmanuel to continuous his studies. However, after McCune mayest, re husband Machar did not agree with Emmanuel staying with im, and he was forced to live in the slums (maybe voordat have cameramen to Kileleshwa). He stayed in Kileleshwa with other refugees while Attending Arboretum Sixth Form College.


With the help of a British aid worker, Emma McCune , Jal escaped JSON Kenya. But just therein cameramen with hardships as he lived for years in the slums. But Jal Eventually stumbled upon hip-hop and when sending the genre harboured incredible power, zowel spiritual and political. [3] While Studying in Kenya, Jal started singing to ease the pain of what he had EXPERIENCED. He’ll be became very active in the community, raising money for local street children and refugees . With the Encouragement of Those around im like Gatkuoth Jal who has ook gone through the experience together, Jal became getting more involved in music and formally verschillende groups. His first single, “All We Need Is Jesus,” was a hit in Kenya and RECEIVED airplay in the UK.

Through his music, Jal counts on the unity of the Citizens to Overcome ethnic and religious division and Motivate the youth of Sudan. After escaping to Kenya, he fell in love with hip hop in the way dat it indicated with issues being faced by the neighborhood, he was loveable welke to Identify with in a unique, marble. Hoewel de have lacked ANY music background or knowledge or zijn history, have fact represented therein hip hop Could bieden the easiest and must effective vehicle to express his story and lobby for political change. [4]

He went on to produce his first album, Gua , a mix of rap in Arabic , English, Swahili , Dinka and Nuer . The symbolism of unity is Expressed in the title, meaning beide “peace” in Nuer and “power” in Sudanese Arabic . His lyrics Illustrate the desires- of the Sudanese people to return to a Peaceful, independent homeland. Hoewel de the only hip hop Jal had ever listened to was American, while he was in Kenya, the beat to “Gua” is not the usual American hip hop, but Rather is strongly African. The title track, also called “Gua”, was a number one hit in Kenya and featured on The Rough Guide to the Music of Sudan and Help: A Day in the Life , Bringing together some of Britain’s best known on a CD in aid or children in conflict zones (produced by War Child).

His next single, “War Child”, mixes rap with soul to produce a world music vibe. He begins with his score story through powerful lyrics; “I’m a war child / I believe I’ve Survived for a reason / To tell my story, to touch lives.” [5] He Continues the song with the narrative or his life and the pain Inflicted upon him. “Written in English, Jal’s second language, the new album [ War-Child ] nov Lack the poetic gymnastics or hip-hop’s more effluent stars, but the plainness of the words – half-spoken, half-chanted over a mix of hip hop and African-flavored choruses – keeps the focus on the story. ” [6] His powerful words spread the message of what he has leg through, and what many are still living with now.

His unique fire or hip hop, layered with African beats, has led to im be Considered one of the rising stars in the world music scene. Prior to Jal, rapping in Southern Sudan was primarily in the local language or Nuer and artists-used sticks and Clapping hands in place or instruments.

His second album, Ceasefire , released in September 2005 and of includes a re-recording of “Gua”. This album is a collaboration with the well Berninahaus Sudanese Muslim musician Abd El Gadir Salim and Brings together Opposing sides of the conflict, and différent music traditions, to a common ground of the wish for peace in Sudan. The collaboration represents a vision for the future, as two Sudanese one, a Christian and a Muslim, unify and PAVE the way to Overcome differences peacefully. Both musicians endured unimaginable adversity to Become important figures, not only in music, but in the future or a country. Way Down Accentuate the differences tussen Them en hun musical styles, as a symbol of co-existence. The album preaches in four languages, encompasses everytime type of music in one, in an effort to transform the sound of hope JSON musical form. Ceasefire is not only the sound of two is collaborating on a musical project, but more symbolically, two-halves or a Divided nation learning to trust eachother. This album’s version of “Gua” was played will on the American television series ER at the very end of the Season 12 episode “There Are No Angels Lord” (Aired on 4 May 2006).

Among other places have Performed at the Live 8 concert in Cornwall in the summer of 2005. He was Awarded a 2005 American Gospel Music Award for best international artist.

Jal’s third album, Warchild , was released at Sonic360 Records in the UK on 12 May 2008. Jal, Along with an all-star line-up featuring Amy Winehouse , Eddy Grant , Will Smith and others, Performed songs at Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert at London’s Hyde Park on 27 June 2008.

Criticized for being steered into tje mainstream and ends ring a conformist territory or hip-hop, Emmanuel says “” I’m not turning away from the world-music audience welke has supported me, “Jal says.” There’s still an African influence in my music. I do not try to sound American. I rap like an African, Because that’s what I am. In the song ‘Warchild, I say I Survived for a reason: to tell my story. I believe that. I feel a Verantwoordelijkheid to do synthesis songs and tell the world what is happening in my country. ” [7]

Emmanuel Jal’s newest album, See Me Mama , was released on 7 August 2012 by Jal’s label Gatwitch Records. See Me Mama was distributed by Universal Music Canada.


Jal, Whose own childhood was robbed from im, AIMS to protect the childhood of others through music. “Music is powerful. It is the only thing dat kan speak JSON your mind, your heart and your soul without your permission.” [8]Asked in an interview in a New Statesman magazine article if politics and art arnt mix Jal answers: “When there is a need, they ‘arnt mix. In times of war, starvation, hunger and injustice, zoals tragedy kan only be well aside if you allow directive yourself to be uplifted through music, film and dance. It kan be-used to communicate messages to the masses and create awareness, to influence the people positively disposed. A perfect example is Bob Marley , his message is still being overheard today . ” [9] Through his Heartfelt lyrics, want Opens the world up to the corruption and greed of the Sudanese government; central to the themes of his songs is the campaign for peace or Opposing sides in Sudan and the clear message therein children harbor no place in wars.

He has ook passionately criticised the current state of hip-hop culture in the United States. He sees hip hop as a vehicle to communicate an authentic message, Rather dan a space to Pursue street credibility. “As well as simply being great songs, people are really getting into tje lyrics, really understanding his message, and he is a great role model.” [10] He has Expressed concern about the message being penny to American hip-hop artists, saying “American hip hop is still ENTWINED with passage culture, drugs, sexual violence, and greed. It’s a battleground.” [11] His song ” 50 Cent ” speaks to the successful American rapper to change his violent messages, welke harbor a destructive influence on children, as exemplified through his Bulletproof videogame. “You have done enough damage selling crack cocaine / now you got a” kill a black man video game / Avem lost a whole generation through this lifestyle / now you want to help put it in the game for a little child to play .. . ” [12] ” The Roots and Jal set the hip-hop bar hogere, “wrote the Washington Post in 2008. [13]

Emmanuel is a spokesman for the Make Poverty History campaign, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and the Control Arms campaign. In 2008, Jal ook got involved in the musical movement or spreading awareness about current slavery and human trafficking in performing verschillende songs for the rockumentary, Call + Response. [14]

A documentary about Emmanuel Jal called War Child was made in 2008 by C. Karim Chrobog and Interface Media Group . It made zijn international debut at the Berlin Film Festival and its North American debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Cadillac Audience Award. [15] An Autobiography under the co names were released in 2009. [16]

On Despite his accomplishments in music, Jal’s Biggest passion is for Gua Africa, a charity dat he founded. Besides building schools, the nonprofit zorgt scholarships for Sudanese war survivors in refugee camps, and sponsors education for children in the musts deprived slum areas in Nairobi. [17] [18] The organization’s main mission is to work with personen, families, and communities therein port leg AFFECTED by war and poverty. Based in zowel Sudan and Kenya, Gua Africa focuses on Providing children and young adults with an education dat mention anything otherwise be unavailable to the Majority. In April 2008 Gua Africa was granted full UK charity status and ook RECEIVED an NGO registration in South Sudan. In April 2011 ze RECEIVED NGO status Kenya. Gua Africa have died one or three beneficiary charities or Emmanuel Jal’s “Lose to Win” challenge, with the other charities being the Africa Yoga Project and MyStart. As a musician, activist and general inspirational figures Emmanuel challenged others to “lose” something to help others less fortunate to “win”. He himself will be giving Recruiters up his home and living as a modern-day nomad for the duration of the challenge. [19]

Jal COMPLETED a 661-day “Lose to Win” fast to build a school in Leer, Southern Sudan , Emma McCune’s honor. From January 2008 to October 2010, the musician ate one meal per day, skipping his breakfasts and lunches to raise funds and awareness for the school, called Emma Academy. [20] [21] [22] [23]

Emmanuel Jal’s most recent project is a Global Peace campaign called We Want Peace 2012. The project is a steady effort to inform the world that peace is a Possibility. That genocide kan be prevented through the power of music and activism. His message of peace is being promoted Cleverly alongside his second studio album See Me Mama , released on 2 October 2012. A percentage of the profits made from the album will or course be-used to support Jal’s charities. [24]

On April 25 to 27 2013 Emmanuel Jal will be a featured speaker at “Lessons of the Birmingham Movement: A Symposium on Youth, Activism and the Struggle for Human Rights”, [25] hosted by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama . Jal will Discuss the role of youth Activists in current human rights struggles across the globe.


solo albums
  • 2004 – Gua – Independent
  • 2005 – Ceasefire – Riverboat
  • 2008 – Warchild – Sonic
  • 2010 – Emmanuel Jal’s 4th Studio Album
  • 2012 – See Me Mama – Gatwitch Records
  • 2014 – The Key – Gatwitch Records
contributing artist
  • 2005 – Help !: A Day in the Life – War Child
  • 2005 – The Rough Guide to the Music of Sudan – World Music Network
  • 2006 – Live 8 at Eden: Africa Calling – EMD Int’l
  • 2007 – Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur – Amnesty International USA and Art for Amnesty
  • 2010 – Sudan Votes Music Hopes – MICT
  • 2010 – Sudan Votes Music Hopes REMIXED “kuar” remixes by Henrik Schwarz and Olof Dreijer (The Knife)
  • 2013 – The Rough Guide to Acoustic Africa – 2013 World Music Network


Year film Role genre
2008 War Child Emmanuel Jal Documentary
2010 Africa United Tulu drama
2014 The Good Lie Paul drama


War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story . St. Martin’s Press, 2009; St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-312-60297-0


  1. Jump up^ “Former Child Soldier Jal Uses Rap to Spread Peace” . [nytimes.com]. 19 November 2008 . Retrieved 19 November 2008 . [ Dead link ]
  2. Jump up^ Tewksbury, Drew. “Emmanuel Jal” Flaunt magazine, May 2008.
  3. Jump up^ Volmers, Eric. “Jal moves to a more joyful musical place; Former child soldier FINDS solace in hip-hop.” . LexisNexis . The Calgary Herald (Alberta) . Retrieved 11 October 2012 .
  4. Jump up^ “Sudanese Survivor.” The Irish Times11 August 2006: 5. LexisNexis Academic. 8 April 2008.
  5. Jump up^ Nora Boustany, “Emmanuel Jal: a Child of War, a Voice of Peace.” Washington Post, 6 January 2008. 13 April 2008
  6. Jump up^ Batey, Angus, “I Just Wanted to Kill.”
  7. Jump up^ Williamson, Nigel. “Forced to Sin Emmanuel Jal” . Miami Times . Retrieved 11 October 2012 .
  8. Jump up^ Batey, Angus. “I Just Wanted to Kill.” The Guardian8 April 2008. 18 April 2008
  9. Jump up^ Unknown, Unknown. “Emmanuel Jal” . Article . New Statesman 1913-2012 . Retrieved 11 October 2012 .
  10. Jump up^ Crilly, Rob. “Ex-Child Soldier Now Kenya’s Hottest Rapper.” USA Today13 March 2005 14 April 2008
  11. Jump up^ Ireland, Corydon. “Conference Brings Out Pacific Potential of African Hip Hop.” Archived17 May 2008 at theWayback Machine. Harvard University Gazette Online, 20 March 2008. 7 April 2008
  12. Jump up^ “Emmanuel Jal Warchild.” Sonic360. 9 April 2008 (written and produktie at Roachie aka Clinton A Outten)
  13. Jump up^ Godfrey, Sarah (13 May 2008). “The Roots And Jal Set The Hip-Hop Bar Higher” . The Washington Post . Retrieved 2 May 2010 .
  14. Jump up^ “Call + Response” . Callandresponse.com . Retrieved 12 October 2012 .
  15. Jump up^ “Emmanuel Jal’s Story – Warchild” . Warchildmovie.com . Retrieved 12 October 2012 .
  16. Jump up^ “War Child”, Emmanuel Jal website.
  17. Jump up^ “From Child Soldier to Rising Star”, Emmanuel Jal website.
  18. Jump up^ http://www.gua-africa.org
  19. Jump up^ No name, No names. “Gua Africa” . 2012 Gua Africa . Retrieved 11 October 2012 .
  20. Jump up^ TEDGlobal 2009. “Emmanuel Jal: The music of a war child | Video on” . Ted.com . Retrieved 12 October 2012 .
  21. Jump up^ “Emma Academy” . GUA Africa . Retrieved 12 October 2012 .
  22. Jump up^ “Causes on Facebook | Facebook” . Apps.facebook.com . Retrieved 12 October 2012 .
  23. Jump up^ [1] Archived23 July 2011 at theWayback Machine.
  24. Jump up^ Jal, Emmanuel. “WWP 2012” . WWP 2012 . Retrieved 11 October 2012 .
  25. Jump up^ “2013 Youth Symposium – BCRI” . bcri.org . Retrieved 18 April 2013 .