Emmauel Taban was born in a mud hut in Juba, which later became the capital of South Sudan, the world’s newest country. In 1994, aged 16, he was abducted by Sudanese troops and tortured because they thought he was a rebel spy. He escaped from them, on foot, intending to go home, but took a wrong turn and instead walked into Eritrea. In his autobiography, The Boy Who Never Gave Up, he shared how he decided to quit Sudan, embarking on a perilous odyssey, via Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, northern Mozambique and Zimbabwe, eventually to Johannesburg, where he arrived about 18 months after leaving Sudan, just short of his 18th birthday. He had no passport and mostly no money. Much of his journey was on foot. He was often cheated and robbed along the way. At the same time, he was also given tremendous help by many strangers along the way. Comboni Catholic missionaries in Johannesburg, made a significant impact in his life. They took him under their wing and gave him both accommodation and financial support to get matric and then his basic medical degree at MEDUNSA (The Medical University of South Africa). He later completed his postgraduate studies and qualified as a pulmonologist – lung specialist – at the University of the Witwatersrand. Dr Taban went on to discover a new way of treating very ill hypoaxemic Covid-19 patients. He was named one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2020 by the London-based New African magazine. Daily Maverick recently nominated him as the 2021 African Person of the Year. Emmanuel Taban’s story reminds us that we can achieve incredible feat under challenging circumstances if we are strong, courageous and don’t give up. This year, let his story inspire you to be all God has destined you to become or achieve.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions…Then you will be successful in everything you do.” Joshua 1:7
Credit (story and image): Daily Maverick