I was tempted to eat my comrade - Emmanuel Jal

South Sudanese has been to hell and back

In Summary

• Emmanuel says his lowest point in life was when he was tempted to drink his own urine and eat his comrade

Emmanuel Jal
Emmanuel Jal
Image: Courtesy

Canada-based South Sudanese artiste Emmanuel Jal has had it all before his fame.

Jal has come through huge personal struggles to become a successful and acclaimed recording artiste and peace ambassador now living in Canada.

He explains how lack of food and water once nearly drove him to eat a corpse.


"One of the lowest points in my life was when I was tempted to drink my own urine because I didn't have water and tempted to eat my own comrade," Jal told Word Is on Tuesday.

"So my friend died and I looked at him and I told him, I will eat you tomorrow. Every day, there are challenges. The same way I used to overcome them, is what I have perfected now."

Emmanuel Jal has now released his sixth album, 'Naath', featuring his sister Nyaruach. It's a vivacious, Afrobeat-infused collection drawing strongly on the unique sounds of his country South Sudan.

"Naath means spiritual being. There is one tribe in South Sudan with the same name. The reason why I chose my sister to be in it is that she is able to engage her mind to something that gives her value," he said.

"The first song that gave me international attention was one that I collaborated with her. He voice is also very authentic, and that's was I was looking for."

Jal says he looks at every person who is making an impact in life and remembers that every one of them had to go through problems and through that you overcome them.

"When problems come my way, I welcome them with gratitude. You'll know yourself when you are faced with an enormous challenge," he said.

His sister Nyaruach grew up at the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya.

Speaking about the camp being closed, Jal said, "The news could be devastating, but every time one door closes, more opportunities come your way. There must be a reason why they want to close, and if it creates a better way, well okay. But there must be a better solution."

He promised his fans more music and most especially collaborations with Kenyan artistes.