It is not so often that the world greets a new nation into its fold, but that will be the case this Saturday when South Sudan becomes the UN's 193rd member and the African Union's 54th.
After a long-fought and bitter war against Sudan's north, Independence comes to a people who were left marginalized, underdeveloped, and up against huge challenges in the unified Sudan.
Practice runs for Saturday's independence festivities are under way, featuring traditional dancers, the national choir, and South Sudan's military. Everyone gathered together in the sweltering heat for a full dress rehearsal of the massive event.
Here's a look: