General Salva Kiir Mayardit has spent his life working for South Sudanese rights and independence. He was born in 1952 in Akon, a village in the Warrap State of South Sudan. As a young child he attended Akon Primary School and Kuajok Secondary School. He then moved on to the Sudan Military College where he graduated as a Second Lieutenant, with both the highest military and academic scores in his class. Upon graduation from Sudan Military College, Kiir advanced to Military Intelligence Training where he achieved the rank of Captain.
Kiir always demonstrated a clear passion for political and social issues, which were, demonstrated when he joined the Anya Nya One liberation movement at the age of seventeen. His role in the first liberation movement gave him intense experience and knowledge of the region’s geography and ethnic complexities. He also developed an elevated understanding of military strategy and tactics. While participating in the first liberation movement, Kiir took part in a number of battles and raids against the oppressive government forces. After the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement, Kiir returned to his role in the Sudanese military where he remained until the second liberation movement.
Under the leadership of Dr. John Garang, he participated in the rebellion of 1983, along with Kerbino Kuonyin, William Nyuon, and Arok Thon Arok where they later came together to found establish the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA/ SPLM) as founding members. Within only a few years after the creation of movement, he quickly ascended the ranks of the SPLA, becoming Dr. John Garang’s second-in-command. They both worked to resolve the conflict among the Sudanese government and the South Sudanese people by leading half of the SPLA/M organization. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, he was appointed Vice President of Southern Sudan. Just over six months later, with Garang’s unexpected death Kiir took on the responsibilities of the vacated positions: President of Southern Sudan and First Vice President of Sudan. Throughout the first term of his presidency, Kiir spoke for equality and human rights for the citizens of South Sudan, bolstering his popularity with the people.
Kiir’s ultimate goal was independence, which would establish equality for the people of South Sudan. His ideology on equality and independence was reflected through one of his most famous and controversial quotes, “a second class in your own country or a free person in your independent state.” Although this quote was expected to cause him his reelection as president in 2010, on the contrary, he secured it with 93% of the votes due to fact that the population identified themselves with Kiir, whether it was for his military achievements or his political advocacy. In a later election, held in 2011, the South Sudanese population, including those abroad or even those still living in Sudan, voted for independence via referendum, which was approved by a 98% vote. After becoming a sovereign nation on July 9th 2011, Kiir relinquished his role as First Vice President of Sudan in order to take on the responsibilities as the first president of the new Republic of South Sudan, Head of State and Commander in Chief. Once the new democracy was officially born, he announced several human rights reforms, ensuring that South Sudan would run under the principles he had constantly advocated for. The reforming methods brought on by his new government against violations of human rights, helped acquire almost immediate recognition as a new State by the United Nations. Through the past two years, he has continued to work for social rights and improved relations with other countries. The structure the South Sudanese government has designed for their foreign policy has been shaped in a way that other countries can view as a model of how a new nation should operate.
Barely two years old, South Sudan is joining the modern world by emphasizing the role of digital media in its international politics. It is with this emphasis that the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in Washington DC has decided to go digital in hopes of providing basic information and answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding South Sudan.
South Sudan is ready to make its imprint in the digital world and the launch of this website is a major step towards achieving that goal.
Akec Khoc Aciew
In August 2010, South Sudanese were invited to compose a national anthem.
After three rounds of competition, University of Juba students won with their lyrics titled "South Sudan Oyee" (Hurray)