By Ahmed Zaroog
Matoc Achol was born in Sudan, in the south of Sudan. South Sudan of course, is now the newest independent nation in the world. Therefore, Matoc’s new nationality is South Sudanese. He Left Sudan in 2000 as a result of the civil war, which lasted over 20 years. He stayed in Egypt, in Cairo, for about 2 years. In 2002 he arrived in Australia, in Melbourne, to join his brother Kot Mordecai whom he hadn’t seen since they were separated in 1993. It was a really special feeling to see his lovely brother Kot after about ten years.
As anyone who starts a new life in a new country, he started his life in Melbourne. In 2002, he was accepted at Melbourne University to start a Bachelor of Agriculture.
“Because of my limited English, I decided to defer my course to 2004 ”, he said. During this break he began his first job in Melbourne with a carpet cleaning company and he also worked as a labourer. At the same time he enrolled in English for academic purposes at Victoria University. At the beginning of 2003, he started his English classes, and volunteered two days a week at Braybrook Language centre for about a year. By the end of 2003 he managed to complete his course and received a certificate for it.
In 2004 Matoc started the Bachelor of Agriculture as he had planned. It was a very hard start as he was the only one from a non-English speaking background at the campus. Not only that, he was also the only one from Melbourne to undertake his course at Dookie campus in Northern Victoria.
“I can remember my time studying at Dookie College. I was different to the other students– one big black man in the middle of Aussies was not that easy”. You can imagine what it would be like for a white person to be in a course with black people away from his home country. Nonetheless, he still has a strong friendship with the whole community of the Dookie College.
One day during summer time, Matoc received an email from a colleague at work. The email said that the Sudanese program on 3ZZZ was about to close down. It asked for his help to save the program. He said yes, as he knew someone who used to work for a Sudanese program on radio. He contacted the station manager Martin Wright, who was very happy to have the Sudanese program back on air. Matoc called his friend and the friend agreed to come on air next time. Also one of the other former presenters came to the radio station and found out about the difficulties that the station was having with the Sudanese program, and they took it from there. They tried very hard to convince the station to have the show back on air.
3ZZZ Radio managed to arrange a short training for Sudanese broadcasters for 5-6 people. However, Matoc says, they ended up with only two presenters. Instead of being a backup person, Matoc found himself the real broadcaster, as there was no alternative. He enjoyed it very much as he saw the need in the community to have a voice.
“My vision at this stage is to have young people broadcasters for a sustainable future of the program, as well as having support from the community behind them” he said.
Because of this work a lot of people now are finding out about what’s going on within the community and back home.
Matoc completed his Masters degree in Agribusiness in 2010 and recently graduated with a diploma in Theology.