Child soldier turned Musician from South Sudan now working inch by inch to improve conditions in his country

Childhood is one of the most cherished periods of human life but what would become of a child if he was handed over with arms and taught about violence.

The story of Emmanuel Jal is one such motivational tale that was resurrected after being turned into a child soldier in South Sudan. Emmanuel was pushed into picking up arms after his father did the same during the civil war in 1983, Emmanuelle was just 3 years old at that time.


After Emmanuelle joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, he was soon trained into being a fighter while he wasn’t developed physically enough to carry the weapon all by himself. Thereafter he was sent to remote southern parts of the country with the sole motive of killing as many Muslims as he can.

Child soldier turned Musician from South Sudan now working inch by inch to improve conditions in his country-global-annal

Emmanuelle was lucky enough to find a savior in the form of a British aid worker and took onto music to share the pain with the world that he been through all these years.


Emmanuelle Jal wrote the following piece for World Policy Journal which is shared here:


Lose to Win


By Emmanuel Jal




So much is going on right now


Don’t know what to talk about


Talk about politics, economics, earthquakes?


I don’t know


But all I got to know is


I got to lose to win.


Lose, lose to win.




Lose to win, lose to win. I am losing to win, losing to win.


Lose to win, lose to win. I am losing to win, losing to win.




I care. Do you care? Together, we shall overcome, overcome, overcome.




I am in a campaign called lose to win.


I am out speaking for the causes I believe. I will keep losing till the end.


It sounds strange, quite insane, but it’s driven by the forces that I feel I can change.


Modern day nomad is what I will be, looking for people who can help me.


We battle poverty. We make it a history.




All I got to do is shine some light in the darkness, and I will be alright.


Things don’t seem to be clear right now, ‘cause my reality want me to bow down


I travel the world. I sold my soul not for silver and gold but to tell a story that needed to be told.


Been doing it since I was seven years old. It’s so frustrating, but when this beat drop, I feel no pain.


When this beat drop, I feel no pain. When this beat drop, I feel no pain.


When this beat drop, I feel no pain, because I care.




Many view this world as a threatening place,


So they fear to invest and hide their face. Some choose to bury their head in the sand.


Some grab, some run, some pick a gun.


Should we blame the devil for the human wrong or stand up, speak out, and stand strong.


Sex slave, modern slavery, child girl—eight-years-old—sold on the border of Mexico.




Do you know about the invisible children in Congo lost in wilderness with no safe place to go?


I see our world erupting like a volcano.


With fixable problems that man choose to ignore


Global warming, tell me you don’t


Prices of food are rising up everywhere.


If you care, throw your hands in the air.


If you care, throw your hands in the air.




Sometimes, I feel like I’ve sold my soul by telling my story so many times. Everything about me I’ve said to others, so what have I left for myself? But there’s one song that I turn to whenever I need encouragement: “Lose to Win.”


The song “Lose to Win” came about after I ate just one meal a day for 362 days. At first, I thought I was famous enough to raise a certain amount of money for a charity in one month. It didn’t go that way, but I didn’t give up. I kept on eating one meal a day. It took nearly a year, but we finally raised the funds. But after that, I felt this realization that every person has to find a balance. If your inner side is not strong, then the pressure from outside will diminish you—you might suffer from depression. But if you have too much energy inside, and there’s no balance from the outside, you could explode in anger.


You should always be in balance or close to balance, but it’s hard for someone to stay that way. And so for the “Lose to Win” song, there’s one verse, where I say, “I sold my soul not for silver and gold but to tell a story that needed to be told.” When I’m telling that story, it’s not only my story. It’s not even just South Sudan’s story—it’s much of Africa’s story. It keeps me balanced, reminding me why I’m out there giving myself to people.


Before, I used to think only we in South Sudan were suffering, but when I came to learn more about Africa, I found the whole of Africa is suffering, especially the children. And I came to learn it’s not just Africa; it’s many countries, and their children, that suffer.


I’ll be performing “Lose to Win,” and when I reach that line about selling my soul, it gives me enough energy to achieve balance inside. Sometimes, when you go and tell the story, you’re giving out yourself until you’re left with nothing inside, and you become vulnerable. Anything can hit you. You need to find something to strengthen yourself. — Emmanuel Jal


Source: World Policy Institute

Published by Bhavesh Kumar

A multi-talented media professional with diverse experience spanning across journalism (digital and broadcast), management consultancy and documentary filmmaking. Worked for the leading newspaper (the Times of India) and news broadcaster (NDTV India) on their web portal, feature stories, shooting, scripting, programming and editing broadcast news. A creative mindset focused on executing new-age strategic communication initiatives with all its corresponding elements (clear and coherently written key messages, social media marketing and multimedia content) to ensure effective target audience impressions. Also, worked on several primary and secondary market research projects (Market Feasibility Study) for business expansion into new markets.

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