We at Bloom, like so many people in Bloomington and millions of people in Africa, were saddened to learn of the passing on New Year’s Day of Wal Duany.

Wal was many things to many people but his two great loves and greatest accomplishments were his family and the Republic of South Sudan, the country he helped found.

All five of the Duany children were accomplished scholar/athletes in the true sense of the term and all have gone on to be productive citizens of both this country and South Sudan. Wal’s beloved wife, Julia, is undersecretary for parliamentary affairs of the new nation.

To the people of South Sudan, Wal was like Benjamin Franklin—its premier statesman, scholar, thinker—a founding father of his country. For more than four decades, through terrible civil wars, he worked to gain freedom for his people. He spent time in prison, was tortured, and often put his life in danger in pursuit of that goal.

Wal lived to see his dream of nationhood realized when South Sudan celebrated its independence on July 9, 2011. For that we are thankful. We are also thankful that the Duany family chose to make Bloomington their American home.

The Duanys’ Amazing Journey

The cover story of Bloom’s October/November 2011 issue featured Wal and his family. Click here to read the story.

The article, written by Elisabeth Andrews, was honored by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists as the best political/government magazine story of 2011.