Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel JalYesterday I was fortunate enough to hear Emmanuel Jal tell his story, through powerful poetry and rap lyrics at Hillsong London.

Emmanuel Jal was born in war-torn Sudan, and while he doesn’t know exactly when, he believes it was in the early 1980s. He was taken from his family home in 1987 when he was six or seven years old, and sent to fight with the rebel army in Sudan’s bloody civil war. For nearly five years, he was a “child warrior,” put into battle carrying an AK-47 that was taller than he was.

By the time he was 13, he was a veteran of two civil wars and had seen hundreds of his fellow child soldiers reduced to taking unspeakable measures as they struggled to survive on the killing fields of Southern Sudan. After a series of harrowing events, he was rescued by a British aid worker (Emma McCune) who smuggled him into Nairobi to raise him as her own.

McCune died in a road accident a few months later, but her friends helped Emmanuel to continue his studies. To help ease the pain of all that he had experienced Emmanuel started singing and music became his weapon of choice.

His music has since taken him around the world, performing at events like Madiba’s 46664 concert and Live8, alongside artists like Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, Damien Marley, Razorlight, Supergrass, amongst many others.

Emmanuel Jal’s official video for Youtube – listen to the lyrics!

Emmanuel Jal presence is captivating and if he is ever in your city I strongly recommend you go see him. If you can’t wait till then, buy his music, autobiography or documentary dvd.

Emma – dedicated to the woman who saved Emmanuel’s life

6 thoughts on “Emmanuel Jal”

  1. Emmanuel is King!Such an inspiration and a super rolemodel.

    I saw him perform in Soweto’bout 4yrs ago with AWADI,K’naan-DFP.

    Much respect and keep doing the good work.

    Thato: SOWETO,Soputh Africa

  2. One inspirational singer with a rough childhood. I can relate to it as I am from Sri Lanka where a the longest civil war has come to an end with no justice for Tamils. More than 200, 000 are still kept in confined camps surrounded by barbed wire and heavy military presence by the Sinhalese government. Aid groups only have restricted access. Guns fell silent in the final days of the battle and the LTTE leaders and his cadres went to surrender and they were butchered. Just a google on LTTE and you’ll get tons of hits.

    Even right now in Pakistan more than million have been displaced with the so called war-on-terror (a cover up).

    Everyone can help with every fight just by giving a helping hand to those who are already helping. Help those aid groups who are putting their life in danger to save so many.

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