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The changing face of Australia: an ‘eye-opener’ for a migrant’s son

by Rob Douglas

 

When the subject of immigration is discussed in the public sphere, just the thought of holding an opinion divides a nation.

For 22-year-old university student Nathan “Killi” Akamarmoi, this debate is all too familiar.

Nathan is the son of 60-year-old John, a migrant from the African nation of South Sudan.

A child solider caught up in the Anyanya Rebellion (also known as the First Sudanese Civil War), John was forced to flee his home at the age of 12.

Arriving in Australia in his late twenties, John was able to rebuild his life as a mechanical fitter and welder.

As the deliberation of Australia’s immigration policy rages on, Nathan understands the tribulation of settling in a new country.

 

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Nathan and his father John.

Being of South Sudanese descent, Nathan has experienced the pain of being judged for his skin colour and background.

“It is tough especially being a mixed race. Whether you identify as one or the other or as both- it has been tough growing up,” he said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that only five hundred and sixty-one people across New South Wales are of South-Sudanese background.

Almost three thousand five hundred people across the country claim to be partial or full South-Sudanese descent.

Most notably Australian Rules competitors Aliir Aliir and Majak Daw and National Basketball Association recruit Thon Maker.

“It is a real eye-opener.”

“I am thankful for Australia in opening its doors; otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Nathan said.

The Anyanya Rebellion is considered one of the memorable uprisings in world history; leaving in excess of five hundred thousand people dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced.

The effects of the 17-year war from 1955 to 1972 left many, like Nathan’s father, looking for a new lease on life.

Kill screen shot

‘An eye-opener’: Nathan “Killi” Akamarmoi has mixed views on Australia’s immigration policy.

The recent results of the Federal election saw ‘One Nation’ leader Pauline Hanson return to the Senate after years in obscurity.

Nathan believes this outcome will issue a return to a racially discriminant time.

“Her views are wrong to me. She says ‘One Nation’ but she’s actually dividing a nation.”

“Australia is a multicultural society- so she’s saying one nation but actually saying one white nation really; one white Australia,” he said.

While differences over immigration continue to hamper society, Nathan is working towards fulfilling his dream of working in the sports media industry.

A sports journalism student at Charles Sturt University in the New South Wales city of Bathurst, Nathan is paving the way for fellow South-Sudanese Australians to succeed in the industry.

South-Sudanese migrants plan to return home (World News Australia).

Nathan insists that the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton have the ability to shape a “collective and multicultural” approach towards immigration policy.

He believes an influx of migrants can live in Australia harmoniously and still allow for an abundance of employment opportunities.

“We should welcome people with open arms.”

“I’m very for people coming from different countries that have had bad upbringings or lived in rough places to come into our society and our way of living because it’s such a welcoming place,” Nathan said.

Despite this criticism, Nathan regards the current Australian immigration system as credible and as such lets “the right people in.”

To hear more about migration in Australia and NSW Central West click here.

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