Peter Lual Reech Deng & Africa World Books
Part 1 - March 26, 2017
Africa World Books is a vehicle set up to defy the common perceptions people usually have about book publishing as a business. Traditionally, publishing is associated with profit, ideology and/or academia.
When publishing for the academic world, the main aim is the organisation, production and dissemination of knowledge. It means working with professional writers and persons with backgrounds in the humanities, journalism, and creative writing.
Ideological works spring from organisations and individuals trying to share and spread their special message, mostly spiritual or political.
‘For profit’ books are just that. Serialised works of fiction for entertainment and publications centring on instant wealth are prime examples.
Profit, while essential for survival, is not the primary goal here.
The concept behind Africa World Books (and its founder/CEO) is to facilitate knowledge and understanding. Initially the focus has been on South Sudan as this is Mr. Deng’s homeland. Going forward, he hopes to gather and publish the stories and experiences of the entire African Continent.
Africa World Books is facilitating the ancient African art of storytelling, whether fact or fiction, in modern ways. IE Share your stories, and read the stories of your neighbours near and far.
The man behind Africa World Books
Peter Deng, the driving force behind the project, is a graduate of Victoria University, Australia, where he received his first degree (2011) and studied International Trade. At the time of writing, in March 2017, Peter is due to receive his MBA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from the Australian Institute of Business.
From 2012 to 2014, Peter took up work for Goodman Fielder in Melbourne (Victoria), and was General Manager at Choice Family Day Care Services. In October 2013, he founded Africa World Books in Melbourne, before moving to Perth (Western Australia), and setting up an office there.
Peter works seven days a week running his own companies & projects (Alpha Day Care Services, Africa World Books and the Dachuek Community Project).
Until last year he was also a partner in a butcher shop named Juba (The principal city in South Sudan). Juba sells and delivers orders, largely of mutton, the majority of its customers being from the South Sudanese and Somali communities in Perth.
Why would a man with a university degree open a butcher shop? This is classic a Peter Deng gambit. He simply wanted to show his community that a degree should not preclude a person from engaging in manual labour. In today’s world being resilient, and fast on your feet, is critical for survival.
Alpha Child Day Care Services, which employs several Australian workers of South Sudanese origin is Peter’s primary business.
By design, Alpha is being reconfigured as a front-line base for the integration and education of ESL (English as a Second Language) children. These children will have access to learning tools that can take them all the way from the absolute basics to very advanced lessons in, for example, coding.
Peter believes in giving Australian South Sudanese a sense of pride and continuity in the culture of their origin and a sense of belonging in their new home. At the same time, he is extremely mindful of contributing back to the place which has given him so much and which is now his home: Australia.
Peter Lual Reech Deng was born into a chief’s family in what is today Twïc East county. His father, Reech Deng Lual, was a chief from a long line of chiefs of ‘Dachuek wut’ (a cluster of clans that can intermarry). His grandfather, Deng Lual, was also a chief during the early days of British colonial rule in the Sudan. Typical of such families, Peter’s mother was number nine of his father’s eleven wives. He and his siblings grew up in the village leading a traditional Dinka life.
In the next instalment, we will look in detail at the trials and tribulations of Peter in childhood and those surrounding him.
Peter Deng, was initially interviewed for this article by journalist Atem Yaak Atem.
Edit and rewrite by: Nathan and Larry Ellis
The information and views set out in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. Neither the publishers nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the nature, veracity or accuracy of the information contained herein or the use which may be made thereof.