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Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Published March 1, 2024

UMN Student Sansan Kong dies at 20

Sansan Kong was described by many as a caring individual who advocated for Black and Sudanese rights.
Courtesy of Nyamouch Kong Gai

Sansan Kong, a third-year student at the University of Minnesota studying family psychology, passed away last year on Dec. 11 due to diabetic ketoacidosis caused by influenza complications.

Sansan was involved in Black Motivated Women, Black Campus Ministries, Sudanese Student Union and the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence on campus.

According to Sansan’s older sister, Nyamouch Kong Gai, Sansan loved reading, doing makeup and making jokes to make those around her laugh.

“She was the funniest person in our family. She always wanted to have fun and never took anything too seriously,” Kong Gai said.

Family friend Kuchceang Mangok said Sansan was passionate about achieving her dreams to be an advocate for Black, and specifically Sudanese, people.

“She was destined for greatness and every day she was striving to achieve her dreams, goals and aspirations,” Mangok said.

Courtesy of Nyamouch Kong Gai

Sansan and her family are from South Sudan and immigrated to America as refugees because of the war, according to Sansan’s sister, Kong Gai.

Sansan wanted to advocate for other refugees that faced similar situations to their own family who were attempting to escape the war in South Sudan as well. This is why she became the secretary for the Sudanese Student Union, Kong Gai said.

Sansan was a role model to many people, including her younger sister Nyarueni Kong.

“She was someone I looked up to and someone I really wanted to be like,” Kong said. “She was everything I wanted to be like.”

Both of Sansan’s sisters said she wanted to help people, which was why she was going into family psychology.

“She wanted to help people with mental illness and we plan on keeping her mission alive by helping others as well,” Kong said.

According to the GoFundMe fundraiser set up by a family friend of the Kong family, over $12,000 has been raised in honor of Sansan.

“We used the funds to pay for Sansan’s funeral,” Kong Gai said. “The support from everyone has been heartwarming and my family is so happy that so many people loved her.”

Courtesy of Nyamouch Kong Gai

In the comments of the GoFundMe page, people overwhelmingly expressed their love for Sansan.

Comments ranged from “rest easy” to “you will always be in my heart” to “she was a beacon of joy, she will be missed.”

Sansan’s Instagram and other social media accounts have been flooded with comments by friends and family with words of support.

“I want to say thank you to her friends and everyone who has supported her and loved her as much as we do,” Kong Gai said.

“Sansan was adored, appreciated, admired, valued and most importantly, loved by so many,” Mangok said.

Sansan’s family and friends said they all agreed to keep her memory alive and remember the lessons Sansan taught them in life.

“She always reminded me to keep smiling,” said Kong. “She said to always do what you want to do and to live life to the fullest.”

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