Africa’s largest country has officially split in two. South Sudan is the world’s newest nation, following Africa’s longest-running civil war. After decades of marginalization and ongoing conflict with the North, South Sudan has finally broken away and is free to carve out its own future.

Optimism is high but the new state, the least developed country on earth, faces immense challenges. The new ruling elite will shape the nations future.

This series of environmental portraits aims to reveal the new power-brokers of South Sudan - the former rebel soldiers, government advisers, ministers, bureaucrats, adventurers, entrepreneurs and international aid workers who have descended on this fledgling nation. Showing the unsettling mix of optimism and brooding menace, we meet the key figures and power structures that create, manage, and exploit a brand new country.

But the question is — in the creation of a brand new nation such as this — who really holds the power? The newly-appointed government ministers fresh from the battlefields? The overseas educated returnee’s from the scattered Diaspora? Or the shadowy foreign advisors, UN chiefs, World Bank executives and foreign businessmen? All are here, contributing to, or feeding off, the birth of this fledgling nation.

— Zed Nelson