John Garang de Mabior
(June 23, 1945 – July 30, 2005) was a Sudanese
politician and rebel leader. From 1983 to 2005, he led the Sudan People's Liberation Army
during the Second Sudanese Civil War
, and following a peace agreement he briefly served as First Vice President of Sudan
from January 2005 until he died in a July 2005 helicopter crash.
A member of the Dinka
ethnic group, Garang was born into a poor family in Wanglei village in Dinka or Jieng Twic/Tuic East, Sudan, in the upper Nile region of Sudan (currently Jonglei State). An orphan by the age of ten, he had his fees for school paid by a relative, going to schools in Wau
and then Rumbek
. In 1962 he joined the first Sudanese civil war
, but because he was so young, the leaders encouraged him and others his age to seek an education. Because of the ongoing fighting, Garang was forced to attend his secondary education
. After winning a scholarship, he went on to earn a B.A.
in 1969 from Grinnell College
in Iowa, USA. He was known there for his bookishness. He was offered another scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley
, but chose to return to Tanzania and study East African agricultural economics
as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow
at the University of Dar es Salaam
(UDSM). At UDSM, he was a member of the University Students' African Revolutionary......