Tribute: When Garang died, the world reacted swiftly

(The New Sudan Vision) – A lot has happened since July 30, 2005, 4 years after that mysterious chopper crash killed Dr. John Garang shortly after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on January 9, 2005.

However, since Garang’s death the marginalized people of Sudan have continued to walk the journey that John Garang imprinted on their minds: the famous words on moving towns to the people; the quest to make Southern Sudan the agricultural envy and engine of economic growth; the fact that Sudan will never be the same as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

With such memories about him still fresh on people’s minds, it is fitting to share how people reacted to his death 4 years ago from across the world: 


Africa has lost yet another of her gallant sons. Death has taken away a fountain of hope, a man whose leadership and military skills were legendary. Fare thee well comrade De Mabior. My condolences to the people of Southern Sudan; we shall overcome!
Wangenge Ouma, Cape Town, South Africa

John Garang was a rare breed of the emerging leadership in the new Africa. He has been able to restore dignity in a people so long taken for granted. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Gilliard Nkini, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Mr. Garang literally took his people to the ‘promised land’. He did a great job in his time. I hope his followers will show the same strength and statesmanship to ensure that Mr. John Garang did not die in vain. Rest in Peace!
Kofi Ellison, USA via Asuonwun, Ghana


As an alumnus of Iowa State University, I mourn the loss of one of our most influential graduates. Peace be to Sudan and may Dr Garang’s followers carry on his mission.
Megan Myers, Twin Falls, Idaho

It’s a sad day for the black people of Sudan and the rest of Africa. He single-handedly kept the hopes of the black Africans in Sudan alive and though he had his weaknesses, his achievements far outweigh those weaknesses, this son of Africa will be remembered as a true fighter for his people and their hopes, an inspiration to most of us Africans that where there is a will there is a way and that a journey of thousand miles starts with a single step. He showed us that life without a battle is life without victory.
Timothy Kumbukeni Sukali, London, England

John Garang gave his southern Sudanese people the dignity they had been denied through a combination of charisma and military prowess on the battle field. As a Kenyan, I have received his demise with profound shock and sorrow. I hope that Garang’s dream for the freedom of his southern Sudanese people does not perish with his unexpected death.
Eric Otiende, Denver, Colorado, USA

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir:

“We are confident that the peace agreement will proceed as it was planned and drawn up and that the future of Sudan will remain a trust in our hearts and the hearts of the brothers in the [SPLM] movement.”

US President George W Bush:

“He was a visionary leader and peacemaker who helped bring about the comprehensive peace agreement, which is a beacon of hope for all Sudanese… John Garang’s vision of peace must be embraced by all the people in Sudan so that they can live in a democratic, peaceful and united country.”

Lazarus Sumbeiywo, chief mediator in Sudan peace talks:

“It’s shocking – the loss of a visionary leader, who really crafted the agreement with Ali Osman Taha.”

Rebecca Garang:

“If they [Sudanese people] loved him, they should remain calm and carry on with his vision. It is John Garang who is dead. The vision should be kept alive.”

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki:

“It is with great shock and sadness that the government and people of South Africa learned of the death of Dr John Garang de Mabior, the first vice president of the republic of Sudan.


“It is especially tragic that Dr Garang’s death comes a mere three weeks after his inauguration as the first vice president of the republic of the Sudan on 9 July 2005.”

“Indeed, the consolidation of the peace is the greatest honour the people of Sudan can bestow on the departed soul.”

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni:

“The death of our brother and long time comrade-in-arms is a tragic loss to the cause of patriotic Africa. It was a great shock and source of anger to see that Dr Garang who has survived so many trials and tribulations could lose his life when peace was beginning to come back to Sudan.

“Dr Garang was one of the most visionary and incisive revolutionary thinkers and nationalists Africa has ever produced.”

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:

“Here is a man who had lived and fought for peace and one united Sudan and just as he was on the verge of achieving what he had lived and fought for he is taken away from us.”

African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare:

“Dr Garang was readily recognized universally as the embodiment and symbol of the struggles of the people of Southern Sudan. At the same time, he never wavered in his conviction that this struggle should be waged and pursued in the context of greater struggle for a united Sudan.

“This seeming paradox in Dr Garang’s convictions is what marked him out as a pragmatic statesman, a nationalist, and a visionary who held out hope for the new Sudan, a diverse, pluralistic, democratic and united Sudan.”

The United Nations and other international bodies as well as the Sudanese government should make sure that peace is restored in all parts of the country and alert the southerners that the death of John Garang shouldn’t trigger past events of tension and disputes.
Abdullahi, Dubai, UAE

The people of Southern Sudan, and indeed Africa, have lost a great man. Dr Garang was brilliant, articulate and very knowledgeable about issues affecting his people. The dream he fought for should be realised by the new leadership. May the people of Southern Sudan keep the legacy.
Marsh, Nairobi, Kenya





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