Mading Ngor was one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan who fled the infamous massacres of Darfur. He left his village in 1991, when his father was killed. He eventually arrived at a Kenyan refugee camp in 1995, where he remained until he got a visa for Canada in 2001. He went to high school in New Westminster, B.C., studied journalism at Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan University, and then earned his BA in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University in Victoria, when he co-founded a news website, New Sudan Vision. After a brief period working as a freelancer for the Calgary Herald in 2011, Mading returned to South Sudan and became a radio journalist on a popular morning show called Wake Up Juba! Today, he is an international correspondent with Reuters and The Huffington Post, as well as a production assistant with the BBC.
Growing up during the civil war and fleeing Sudan
You were born in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state in 1983. What was your childhood like?
A critical voice in a new country
My people are cattle rearing, so life around me when I was young was all about cattle because that’s the Dinka tradition. Even my name Mading is the name of a bull and most of the Dinka names are all about cattle. So I used to take care of the cattle, used to swim by a nearby lake and go hunting with my dog. To me it was a normal childhood. But that all changed when the massacre in 1991 happened in my village and changed my life irretrievably.
We were forced to flee on bare feet. When I say ‘we’ I mean my mother, siblings and other relatives. We ran to the bush, hiding and running away from the enemy. Th ere was loud sound everywhere and we just kept on running. My mum was our guide and we ate wild fruits because we had no food. We were begging, depending on the generosity of others. We came back to Bor and it was a ghost town. Everywhere you found dead human, dead cow. Everywhere you went there was stench, it was just unbearable.