El Mahdi was educated at Victoria College, Alexandria, and Khartoum University College. He matriculated in 1954, and was a member of the College Athletics Club from 1954-7. El Mahdi read PPE at St. John’s, graduating with a BA in 1957. He received his MA in 1975. Following his study at St. John’s, El Mahdi entered business and politics, and served as Prime Minister of Sudan twice, from 1966-7, and again in 1986-9. His second term ended when he was deposed by an Army coup. El Mahdi remained until the end of his life leader of the Umma party founded by his grandfather, and an important religious and political figure in Sudan. He published books on Sudanese politics, democracy and history, as well as on Mahdism.
We have not, to our
disappointment, been able to locate many archival records of al-Mahdi's study
and residence at St. John's, but there is a record of his participation in a
cross-country race as a first year undergraduate! We hope to find more archival
documents and images through currently ongoing research and would welcome any further
material, including oral accounts from his contemporaries amongst alumni.