Archive for September 9, 2019

By Biong Deng Biong, Melbourne, Australia

Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South Sudan. Grab your copy at

Monday, September 9, 2019 (PW) — There is no reservation that Nelson Mandela was a great leader, but how does President Kiir fair? More often, we focus on the negative performance of leaders while forgetting 70% plus of their largely positive actions. Consequently, we end up creating a leader of our own imaginings rather than enabling a potentially great leader to thrive. In this piece, I aim to pit President Kiir against a strong leader like Nelson Mandela and determine if Kiir has the capacity to steer his nation with the same power and purpose as the South African revolutionary. I hope that this will help to identify areas of improvement for President Kiir and more importantly, identify where his energy needs to be focused in order to rescue his legacy. And so, the real question is, is it too late or still possible for Kiir to become the Nelson Mandela of South Sudan? I offer my thoughts on the matter below.

It costed Nelson Mandela his entire life, his family, friends, comrades and often his patience to undertake what later became the greatest political legacy of the modern era. In 1994, while in Kakuma refugee camp, members of SPLA/M staged a large screen in a field in Kakuma for us to watch the inaugural of Nelson Mandela elected as the first black President of South Africa. I did not know who he was at the time but the admiration he elicited from our leaders compelled me to find out more. I soon discovered he was an exemplary leader to those fighting the freedom struggle in South Sudan before her independence. Hence, we can compare the mighty Mandela to our own leader.