Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Wau, South Sudan

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Country  South Sudan
Region  Bahr el Ghazal

State  Western Bahr el Ghazal
Population  151,320
Wau, South Sudan in the past, History of Wau, South Sudan
Colleges and Universities  University of Bahr El-Ghazal, Catholic University of South Sudan, University of Baher Elgazal

Map of Wau, South Sudan

Wau (Arabic: واو Wāw; also Wow or Waw) is a city in northwestern South Sudan, on the western bank of the Jur River, in Wau County, Wau State. It lies approximately 650 kilometres (400 mi) northwest of Juba, the capital and largest city in that country.


Wau, South Sudan in the past, History of Wau, South Sudan

Nola cooks south sudan wau

Missionary life in wau south sudan


Wau, South Sudan Beautiful Landscapes of Wau, South Sudan

Wau was initially established as a zariba (fortified base) by slave-traders in the 19th century. During the time of condominium rule, the city became an administrative center

Burr and Collins in 1994 described Wau: as follows:

No one has ever been "at home" in Wau. It is surrounded by a host of disorganized and diverse peoples . . . It was and remains a town belonging to no single ethnic group, deriving its importance only from its position as a commercial and administrative center . . . Located in the midst of the vast Nilotic plain hundreds of miles from nowhere, it was miserable under the best of circumstances . . .

During the Second Sudanese Civil War, it was a garrison town of the Khartoum-based Sudanese Armed Forces, and was the scene of extensive fighting in the spring of 1998. Battles erupted again in the town in the spring of 2007, killing several hundred people.

In 2010 the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment (South Sudan) proposed to reshape the city as a giraffe.

In 2016, Wau experienced heavy clashes that displaced much of its Fertit population and led to widespread destruction.


The city of Wau is the headquarters of Wau State, in which it lies. It also served as the capital of the erstwhile Western Bahr el Ghazal State, one of the original ten (10) states which constitute the Republic of South Sudan. The city is a culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse urban center.


Its residents include peoples of Fertit, Dinka, Luo, and Arab ethnicity.

Its Cathedral of St. Mary (built 1905, before the erection of the former Apostolic Prefecture of Bahr el-Ghazal) is the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wau, which serves the province's religious majority.


In 2008, Wau was the third-largest city in South Sudan, by population, behind national capital Juba and Malakal, in Upper Nile State. At that time, the estimated population of the city of Wau was about 128,100. In 2011, the city's population was estimated at about 151,320.


Wau is a vibrant economic center by the pauper standards of the newly established Republic of South Sudan. The major contributors to the local economy include:

  • Buffalo Commercial Bank branch
  • Equity Bank (South Sudan) branch
  • Ivory Bank branch
  • Kenya Commercial Bank (South Sudan) branch
  • Catholic University of South Sudan, Wau campus
  • University of Bahr El-Ghazal
  • Wau Airport
  • Wau County Government
  • Wau state Government
  • RCS - Radio & Satellite Communication
  • Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (South Sudan Subsidiary Comp.) expected shortly
  • Transport and infrastructure

  • Wau is the terminus of a narrow gauge branch line of the Sudan Railways. A plan exists, as of 2008, to open a standard gauge line north from Gulu in Uganda to Wau. Through trains from Khartoum to Mombasa would be possible only if one of the lines was regauged.
  • Wau Airport - The airport, (IATA: WUU, ICAO: HSWW) has a single paved runway which measures 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) in length.
  • The city hosts University of Bahr El-Ghazal and many secondary and primary schools.
  • The Catholic University of South Sudan maintains a campus in the city.
  • Wau Stadium - A soccer stadium in the middle of town
  • The Cathedral in Wau is known as the Largest of former Sudan
  • There are five (5) main roads out of town:
  • B38-North leads directly north to Gogrial, South Sudan
  • B43-South leads southeast to Tonj, South Sudan
  • A44-South leads directly south to Tumbura, South Sudan
  • B41-West leads west to Raga, South Sudan
  • B43-North leads northwest to Aweil, South Sudan
  • Southern National Park - Located about 100 kilometres (62 mi), by road, south of Wau along A44-South
  • Geography and climate

    Wau has two seasons: a dry season from November to March, and a rainy season the rest of the year, as depicted in the referenced box below:

    Notable locals

    Some of the notable people from Wau include

  • Luol Deng - NBA basketball player
  • Longar Yak Jiel - National basketball player
  • Khamis Leyano - South Sudanese footballer and captain
  • Longar Longar - former University of Oklahoma basketball player and NBA D-League player
  • Thon Maker – NBA basketball player
  • Clement Mboro - veteran politician
  • Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako - Retired archbishop of Khartoum archdiocese (Sudan, then including South Sudan)
  • Prof Barri Arkanjelo Wanji - veteran Anya Anya /SPLM/A soldier and long serving politician
  • Alek Wek - World model
  • Joseph Ukel - veteran politician
  • References

    Wau, South Sudan Wikipedia

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