Emmanuel started his life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s. He was eventually rescued by a British aid worker and smuggled to Kenya where he overcame a huge number of struggles to become a successful and acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador. He now lives in Toronto, Canada.
Drawing on his personal experiences and background, he speaks and performs with a strong message of reconciliation and peace.
In 2008 a full-length documentary on his life was released. The film, Warchild, won 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. In the same year, his autobiography, also called Warchild, was published by Little Brown.
In 2010, Jal released ‘We Want Peace’, part of a wider campaign of the same name that called for peace, protection and justice for all of Sudan, as well as calling for an end to all conflicts that affect innocent people around the world. This campaign is supported by a number of A-list stars and leaders, including George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Richard Branson, Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan. Through social media and fan participation, the campaign has grown in strength and Emmanuel’s message of peace has resonated particularly amongst young people, allowing them to connect to larger social and political issues through emotional empathy. With the support of organizations such as Free The Children, Amnesty International, Ford Foundation, Humanity United and many others, Emmanuel has taken ‘We Want Peace’ on the road and spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world, touring across Mexico, the UK, the US, Africa, Canada, Australia and Asia. Often these tours include visits to community centres, youth detention centres and prisons where Emmanuel has been able to speak first hand to young people who have become disengaged with education and society.
Emmanuel’s greatest passion is his charity which he founded in 2009 Gua Africa which supports those affected by war and poverty from South Sudan. The charity has trained and educated South Sudanese refugees to becoming first-class professionals in medicine, law and education.