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Emmanuel Jal


If Emmanuel Jal's story hasn't been optioned for a film script yet, we'll eat our hats. (It has, and of course, Nicole Kidman is involved.) Jal was one of the Lost Boys, a Sudanese child soldier who became embroiled in Sudan's civil war and was wielding a gun by the time he was eight years old. (Some accounts say he was with the rebel group at age six.) A British aid worker, Emma McCune, intervened in his life when he sought refuge in a town where she was working. She adopted him but was killed in a car crash in Nairobi not much later. McCune's friends put Jal through school, and while there he developed a love for music -- hip-hop in particular. His first album, Ceasefire, was the product of a rare collaboration between a southern Sudanese (Jal) and northern Sudan recording star Abdel Gadir Salem. It took over Kenya's pop charts and has brought Jal international fame.

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