Although Juba, the capital of South Sudan (which became the world’s newest country just last year), is about 7,000 miles away from the plains of Texas — Kiir is fond of wearing a black cowboy hat (the kind that Texans love to wear).
Kiir wears the 10-gallon Stetson so often in public that it has become his trademark — whether he is speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, meeting with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton or visiting China, he and the black hat are inseparable.
According to reports, the hat was a gift to Kiir for then-U.S. President George W. Bush when the former leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement visited the White House in July 2006. Kiir liked the hat so much, he reportedly bought several more and now has a closet full of them.
Kiir apparently is grateful to Bush for playing an instrumental role in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the second Sudanese civil war and paved the way for a referendum on South Sudan’ independence — a measure that became a reality in July 2011, two years after Bush’ term ended.