Martin Ochaya has been awarded the inaugural Sudan Archive Visiting Library Fellowship for Easter 2017. Martin, a South Sudanese Roman Catholic priest, holds degrees in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Theology, and a diploma in counselling; he was awarded a Masters Degree in African Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Bradford, where he is now completing his PhD. Martin was the overseer, and member of the Board of Governors, of the Bakhita FM Radio, the central station of the Catholic Radio Network (CRN) in South Sudan, and served as the first Chair of the South Sudan Civil Society Coalition.
We are excited to welcome Martin to Durham University in April 2017, where he will conduct research primarily in the Sudan Archive over the Easter term. His research focuses on the potential of indigenous approaches to the resolution of contemporary armed conflicts. His work centres on post-conflict justice and reconciliation in South Sudan, a country currently in both an ongoing civil war. His work asks: Do indigenous approaches have potential that can be applied to modern conflicts? To what extent do dominant liberal Western peace approaches leave room for local versions of restitution? How can local justice systems deal with the legacy of impunity and bad government? Martin’s research interests include indigenous peacemaking, peace agreements, justice and reconciliation and war trauma.
Conducting research in the Sudan Archive in Durham will offer me the chance to engage with archival resources on traditional and indigenous institutions and mechanisms of peacemaking dating back to pre-colonial and colonial times. It will provide an understanding of how cultural and historical resources can inform contemporary peacemaking and peace-building to address particularly the dynamics of locally and culturally embedded sources of conflicts. The expected outcomes will include understanding the current transitional justice literature, themes, theory and practice and to link them up to the potential contribution which indigenous approaches and agencies could make to broader post-conflict peace-building policies.