preparing to vote for or against secession by registering at designated locations in that part of the country, which is Africa's largest. The south is oil-rich but the north has the majority of citizens, so observers are asking how smooth any transition from a one-state settlement to a two-state one will be. It is difficult to imagine that the poll, which was first mooted as part of a 2005 peace plan that brought an end to fighting between the north and the south, will be welcomed in the north.
For many, the country is best-known from depictions in a type of memoir, What is the What?, a 2006 book written by San Francisco writer Dave Eggers. The trials of Valentino Achak Deng that were rendered in the book have made the man famous in the West, and he has been involved in humanitarian ventures in his native country in recent times, even appearing on TV here. In the book, the Deng character recalls events that took place when he was a boy escaping the fighting.