Emma McCune

Emma McCune

Emma McCune (1964 in India - 1993 in Nairobi) was an expatriate British foreign aid worker in Sudan who married guerrilla leader Riek Machar. She was killed in a car accident in Kenya.

McCune was born in India to ex-colonial parents who could not adjust to life in England after their return. Eventually her parents divorced and her father committed suicide. She attended the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

In 1985 Emma flew to Australia and back in a single engined light aircraft with her friend Bill Hall.

McCune went to war-torn Sudan in 1987 at age 23 to teach for the British organisation Volunteer Services Overseas. After reluctantly returning to England in 1988 McCune once again returned to Sudan in 1989 to work for the UNICEF-funded Canadian organisation Street Kids International, which founded or re-opened more than 100 village schools in the country's south. McCune spent much of the late 1980s in the south in the midst of war and famine.

McCune met and married Riek Machar, one of two leading southern guerrilla commanders, and became a high-profile khawagiyya (foreigner). They were instantly attracted to one another, and Machar, who already had a wife, proposed on their second meeting a year after the first. After taking up with Machar, including using a UN-supplied typewriter to produce manifestoes, she was fired by Street Kids International. She lived with Machar as war intensified and he split his faction away from the larger movement. At one point they fled a machine-gun attack. In 1993, after becoming pregnant, she moved to Nairobi; she died in a car crash.

Journalist Deborah Scroggins, who was a friend, wrote a biography of her, "Emma's War" [cite book | last = Scroggins | first = Deborah | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Emma's war: love, betrayal and death in the Sudan | publisher = Harper Perennial | date = 2003 | location = | pages = 389 | url = | doi = | isbn = 0-00-655147-5] . "In my heart, I'm Sudanese," she once said, according to Scroggins.

The book has been optioned for a film, but the family objected to a film based on the book, delaying a project with Tony Scott and Nicole Kidman attached. [http://www.theage.com.au/news/World/Nicole-enters-movie-maelstrom/2005/04/15/1113509924831.html] [http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/film/news/article8096.ece] Scott was last reported to be seeking locations in Morocco with filming set for 2007.


*McCune, Maggie, "Till the Sun Grows Cold".

External links

* [http://www.wellesley.edu/womensreview/archive/2003/01/highlt.html Out of her depth] - review of "Emma's War"
* [http://dir.salon.com/story/books/review/2002/12/11/scroggins/index.html Emma's War] - review at Salon.com
* [http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780375703775&view=rg Emma's War] - official book site
*imdb title|id=0370533|title=Emma's War

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