It is almost incomprehensible then, to hear this quiet 29-year-old speak of his childhood in war-torn southern Sudan amidst unimaginable brutality and depravation.
Emmanuel explains that he still finds it difficult to speak of these years and often suffers nose bleeds and then nightmares as a result.
‘I was excited about the opportunities to tell my story but I didn’t know there would be this level of attention,’ Emmanuel told Alive.
‘I was telling it through music which was easy. But now it is so exhausting as I travel the world, but I find that it’s working, it’s a testimony. And the impact it has, it is touching people’s hearts. And that’s what keeps me going.’
His name, meaning ‘God with us’, given to him by his deceased mother, provides a clue to how he survived being a child soldier and went on to become an acclaimed musician, author and activist.
Born in the early 1980s – he doesn’t know exactly when because all child soldiers were given the same birth date – he lived with his family in the villages of southern Sudan which were predominantly Christian and African.
First published in Alive magazine.
Email to request full article for personal reading or to purchase for publication.