After decades of conflict and millions of deaths, South Sudan formally marked its independence on Saturday.
Tens of thousands of people turned out for the ceremony at the mausoleum of John Garang, the longtime leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). The area started to fill shortly after daybreak, when crowds of people raced into the dusty venue to secure a space near the stage.
After a parade by former SPLM rebels, parliament speaker James Wani Igga read South Sudan's proclamation of independence, officially bringing the new nation into existence.
"We have resolved to overcome the past and face the future with a renewed sense of purpose, and it has stirred a forgiveness and reconciliation," Igga said.
Many of the people assembled for Saturday's ceremony could not actually hear the speeches from Igga and other dignitaries; the sound system did not carry that far. Few seemed to mind.
"I am just happy that they are here,” said Helen Garang, referring to the dozens of dignitaries on the stage.
The ceremony followed a boisterous party on Friday night. South Sudanese poured into the streets shortly before midnight, dancing, beating drums and honking car horns.
Saturday's formal occasion was more subdued, perhaps partly because of the beating sun, which caused several people in the crowd to faint. Again, though, few people seemed to mind.
"It is our happiness day," said Rayana Gracias, fanning herself in the heat. "We were oppressed and now we are separate from those people, so we can have the rights we want... we want this to be a Christian country."
An estimated 2.5 million people were killed in decades of civil war between Khartoum and southern rebels. Southerners have long complained of neglect at the hands of the northern government; most of the country's oil wealth went to develop the north, and Khartoum imposed various forms of Islamic law on the predominantly Christian and animist south.
"This is what we fought for!" one man yelled, leading a march of several dozen people into the mausoleum. "Remember our martyrs. They did not die in vain."
Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, stood next to his longtime foe, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, and gave his first speech as the head of the new state.
Kiir's speech was jubilant, as expected, but he was also realistic about the challenges facing South Sudan, one of the poorest states in the world.
"This republic is at the tail end of economic development," Kiir said. "On all indexes of human welfare it is at the bottom of all humanity."
Kiir acknowledged that the southern government has "not delivered basic services" over the last six years, and that the gap has often been filled by the United Nations and international aid agencies working in Juba.
Those shortcomings are readily evident in Juba, where education, public health and other services are scarcely available. The International Crisis Group has called the government's progress on economic development "minimal"; the state's presence is often "imperceptible", the group wrote in a May report.
Kiir also called for a "new beginning of tolerance" in South Sudan, home to hundreds of different ethnic groups.
The legacy of civil war certainly continues to haunt many people in the new state. "We are tired of war," was a common sentiment in interviews on Saturday.
Some seemed almost worried that their newfound peace would be taken away: "We do not want to go back to war," one woman said. "Please, let us be peaceful."