John Frog: Journey from Child Soldier to Afrobeats Sensation

Journey from Child Soldier
John Frog

Journey from Child Soldier:  As he builds an unstoppable international reputation, the name of South Sudan’s most celebrated musician, John Frog, reverberates across boundaries. His music has no borders thanks to his collaborations with musicians from Africa, including Eddie Kenzo of Uganda and Bahati of Kenya. For instance, his collaboration with Eddie Kenzo on the hit single ‘Mbilo Mbilo’ and with Bahati on ‘Barua’ have been widely acclaimed. With the help of the esteemed Nigerian musician Iyanya, his most recent single, ‘My Bed,’ demonstrates his pan-African appeal.

 As a breech baby, John was born with the unusual appellation Frog, which comes from the Dinka term ‘Aguek,’meaning frog. Like his mother’s strength, his survival in war-torn South Sudan, far from any medical facilities, was truly unique. He often jokes about his name, saying, ‘I guess I was destined to be a musician with a name like Frog!’ This light-hearted comment reflects his ability to find humor even in the most challenging circumstances.

 The harsh realities of war etched into John Frog’s childhood, as he matured amidst the chaos of Civil War. At a tender age of eight, he was thrust into the role of a child soldier, enduring the brutalities of war and witnessing the relentless struggle for survival. Reflecting on his past, he recalls, ‘They didn’t arm us until I turned 14—that’s when I was handed a gun,’ a testament to his early exposure to a perilous and unpredictable world.

 A tribute to John’s perseverance and flexibility, he learned English on the streets despite never attending school. He would listen to conversations, pick up words, and practice speaking with anyone who would engage with him. He took comfort in the resonant tunes that resounded through the woodland, his steadfast devotion to music belying his turbulent surroundings. Amidst all this hardship, he uncovered his natural ability, which would lead him to prominence in the end.

 Amidst a vibrant music scene that yearned for more local producers, John embarked on a journey to Juba, the bustling capital of South Sudan. Undeterred by the challenges, he delved into the world of Afrobeats, crafting a sound that was distinctly his own in an industry dominated by traditional music. Looking back, he asserts, ‘We were lacking producers in Juba…so I decided to venture into Afrobeats,’ a decision that would shape his musical identity.

 John Frog is determined to broaden his views even though he lives in a country where traditional artists are king. Recognizing the potential financial rewards of conventional music, he is nevertheless determined to win over listeners worldwide. He says, “My aim is to reach the wider audience,” demonstrating his iron will to become a significant player in the music business.


John Frog’s unwavering determination shines through as he looks ahead to the future, offering optimism in the middle of South Sudan’s turbulent landscape. He envisions himself collaborating with more international artists, performing at major music festivals, and releasing more chart-topping singles. He weaves a musical tapestry that reaches listeners all across the world with every note he plays. It doesn’t matter if it’s this year or next; John Frog will surely achieve success and make his imprint on the world stage.


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