Sudanprneur is a online media platform, showcasing the Success of Sudanese individuals. Providing examples and case studies of those profiles giving role models and pioneers for the new generation young & old of Sudanese to aspire to.
This is the place to provide inspiration and realise it’s not to late to chase and fulfil those goals. With interviews to get the insights behind their journey and the struggles they had to over come.
When did you start and how?
I started my first business which has evolved and morphed into the current business which runs alongside the older one in 2011.
The current idea started in October 2014. I realised for me to be a successful young entrepreneur or even business man I needed to have a mentor. However since my business was in the niece “Sudanese diaspora” sector the advice I heard from the many people I approached was to get a Sudanese mentor.
Living in London that was difficult to achieve and I realised that Sudanese people don’t understand or realise the power of mentoring or even networking.
And so Sudanpreneur was born. A website, twitter, Instagram and Facebook platform highlighting the work of successful Sudanese from around the world, whether north, south, East & west, or half-Sudanese or even quarter-Sudanese or even your adopted-Sudanese.
What challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
I have had many set backs, and challenges to disappointments and shocks, to joy and despair, to ecstasy and heart break, a lot pain but most of all I’d say the life of entrepreneur is that of loneliness.
The biggest challenge I have is dealing with failure but then I realised its a fear born from not wanting to deal with the consequences of failure, and so u fall back and I take less risks, and try and create the perfect project, but fear sharing it to avoid disappointment and criticism. I’ve had to work a lot to limit this as your creativity can get trapped in your own mind for fear of sharing and this leads to a lot of energy being wasted.
The biggest single set back was a double blow. In 2012 after working on my website with a designer and IT developer the server deleted the entire data from the server, followed by the loss of my laptop with all my backups, files, pictures, word documents. But somehow I was able to overcome that and I am much stronger because of that experience.
I recently attended a short “set up your own business” course and there was a guest “motivational” speaker that came in to speak to us. He told us in most of the things you do in life success is very hard to define and measure. Teaching, social work, politics, how do you know whether you are doing well or not, whether you are successful or not. But in business it is very easy to see whether you are successful. If your making money you are successful, the more money you make the more successful you are.
If I judged my life on that criteria I would be a big failure. Haha as so far I haven’t made any money from Sudan Hub or Sudanpreneur.
This is a very difficult question. I have had a very interesting life. I have traveled a lot. I have had so many different jobs. I have met so many different people. I have had a lot of experiences. I have had so many adventures.
I have never been motivated by money and profit, but I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. I have been involved in many many many projects, helping out family, cousins and friends to set up their projects, dreams, passions and businesses. As well as setting up numerous of my own projects, dreams, passions and businesses.
I feel like Sudan Hub is an amazing accomplishment, unfortunately it is a bit too far ahead of its time and it seems to me that people are either just not ready for it, or just don’t understand it. Haha but maybe one day, which I might not live to see, it will receive the appreciation and understanding it deserves.
So I would have to say that Sudanpreneur ranks as my greatest achievement. From the beginning I have been blown away by the support, as well as how well received it has been. I hope I have been able to both inspire people as well as open their eyes to achieve their dreams. But most importantly I hope I have made people feel more proud to be Sudanese. The one thing I do want to say, feedback is very important so please let me know your thoughts, suggestions, how I can improve. Even just a thank you, or a compliment, or a hug.
Who helped you?
Many many people have helped me and supported me as pushed me or inspired me along my six year business journey so far.
Although I’m not quite where I would have expected to be after 6 years due to unforeseen setbacks and speed-bumps along the way. I am very great full for my progress and I thank god everyday.
I could never have done this without my mom and dad, who I am sure I have probably driven crazy over this journey and my beloved sister and brother who as a family have alway had my back through the thick and thin.
Also all my professors in Uni who have laid the foundations along with everyone I met and didn’t meet during my nearly fours in Guildford.
And all my bosses that I have had during my many partime jobs and full time jobs and internships both here in the UK as well as Denmark and Sudan.
To all my friends around the world for your support and prayers, as well as all my cousins back in Sudan and wherever you may be living I really do appreciate it.
I first met Janice on a workshop on how to set up your own business in 2012 when I decided to rebuild Sudanhub again after the old website got deleted. She provided so much support and inspiration even though I was going through a difficult time and I wasn’t believing in myself. But she made sure I didn’t quit.
It was then when I felt a little bit lost in the Summer that I immediately thought of Janice, and approached her to do an internship so that I could learn ad benefit from her wisdom and she immediately was interested and asked me to send her my cv and arranged an interview.
I’m glad I did because I’ve been interning with her for a few months now and I’m loving it.
Many of my bosses during previous internships and jobs have also been invaluable to my steep learning curve and have helped create the small success that make persevering sticking to the long journey ahead, and there are too many to name so I want to thank you all.
Sudan’s almost exclusively Arab capital has buried its head in the sand for too long, as the multiethnic country around it burns.
Khartoum is a low-built, sprawling city. The capital of Sudan, until recently the largest country in Africa, sits on either side of the River Nile under an almost perpetual haze of dust. As a child growing up in Khartoum, the city always struck me as sleepy and dark – power cuts were frequent, and the oppressive heat infused everything with a sticky torpor. Unlike Cairo to the north or Nairobi to the south, Khartoum did not have that frenetic energy or drama. The country’s international reputation for hard-line Islamism and ethnic warfare jarred with the city’s subdued mood.
Even its military coups were lethargic and bloodless. In 1989, when the current government came to power, we sat around TV sets watching a young Omar al-Bashir read a statement declaring that he and his military cohort had overthrown the democratically elected government in a bid to save the country from the regime’s ineptitude. Apparently there were tanks, but the streets were empty. We all went to bed early with the vague knowledge that something dramatic had happened, but could see no sign of it.
Khartoum has no real discernible “midtown” or central business district any more. People work from offices set up in rented ex-family homes, at desks in converted bedrooms, their bathrooms en suite and inappropriately ornate, clearly picked out by some banished housewife who never thought the family would fall on hard times and have to lease out their home. There are few public spaces for people to mingle, but the poor and the rich do mix in open-air street markets to buy their groceries.
Khartoum has an almost benign spirit, but hides a sinister secret. It is a city-state, unrepresentative of the country’s citizens, in which most business, political and social interests are concentrated in the hands of a small ethnic elite that has ensconced itself behind the garrison walls of the city and goes about securing interests, lining its pockets and accruing political capital. In addition to this concentration of interests, Khartoum has simply never really diffused power and resources to the peripheries. Partly because both were scant, so the capital took precedence, but mostly because the elites in power were replicated from greater Khartoum elites and their extended networks, which did not stretch into the vast expanse of the rest of the country.
The Sudanese inheritors of colonial power were a posh bunch – tertiary-educated or army-trained, dressed in suits and sunglasses, hoisting the Sudanese flag above the presidential palace on the bank of the Nile on the day of independence. Even Sudan’s traditional elite, drawn from its religious parties, were Oxbridge-educated and wealthy. The hope was that the combination of these privileged sons would, from elite Khartoum, launch a nation-building exercise. But since independence in 1956, Sudan has been locked into a pattern of military coups and weak civil government, none of which has ever managed to create enough political consensus to establish durable democracy. There is always a sense that governments are on the clock, on borrowed time, until a popular rising or a military coup unseats them. This is reflected in the attitude of incumbent politicians, whose eyes are not on their legacy or the peaceful transfer of power, but on how they can establish themselves as quickly as possible and reap the maximum reward from their tenure. Khartoum was a leech on Sudan’s flesh almost from birth.
Throughout the 1990s and noughties, the city’s lights became brighter and denser, as Khartoum developed from a small centre of old money and traditional elite to a larger, more diffuse conurbation of influx from the provinces of Sudan. Before the secession of the south of the country after a long and bloody civil war, Khartoum seemed like a happily diverse city, but a closer look betrayed hierarchies and divisions. Southerners occupied menial jobs; those from Darfur and the country’s western provinces were slightly higher up; and the country’s main riverine tribes dominated government and academia. Khartoum, over the years, in its sleepy fug, presided over the longest civil war in African history between the north and south of the country, and the death and displacement of millions in Darfur and the Nuba mountains.
Culturally, Khartoum is monolithically Arab and Muslim, with a watered-down version of a Sudanese urban identity. Instead of Khartoum becoming a melting pot for all the different ethnicities and cultures of the country, the Star Wars-bar version of an African city where all came to drink and mingle, then make their fortunes, it took off their edges and conformed them into blandness. Sudan’s 114 indigenous languages – Nubians in the north, Beja in the east, Fur in the west, and Nuba and Dinka in the south, and hundreds of variations in between – never imprinted themselves on the culture of the capital city, which rather merged all these tribes and languages into a sterile, centralised Sudanese identity that subsumed all and represented none.
The relationship between the global city and its hinterland is one that usually glorifies the former as a dynamo of change, dragging the rest of the country along with it economically, socially and culturally. But in poor and ethnically diverse countries such as Sudan, these influences need to go the other way, to seep through to the margins of the state in order to create a strong national identity and develop the country all at once. In such weak and ethnically fractured states, cities can be parasites, feeding on their states, needing them to stay alive to thrive. The irony is that, as with all parasites, they inevitably end up killing themselves by exhausting their hosts.
It is partly a legacy of colonialism. Cities such as Khartoum were administrative hubs that the British developed in order to serve their practical needs but not necessarily those of the country. Challenging terrains, inaccessible provinces and lack of infrastructure, and more importantly, lack of immediate access to natural wealth, dissuaded colonisers from expanding beyond Port Sudan, Medani and Khartoum. A gargantuan country of nearly a million square miles, with unnatural borders lumping together tribes, ethnicities and languages with a weak and unconnected centre of power, Sudan never really stood a chance of transcending the fissures of its ethnic and tribal diversity.
In a global city such as London or Paris, class, income levels, education, culture and occupation distinguish the centre and the peripheries. These are strong but not national fabric-rending differences. Indeed, in contrast to a city like Khartoum, the megalopolis western city is more diverse than its regions. Board a train outbound from London and the faces get whiter, and even when they don’t, racial diversity is more ghettoised.
Cities like Khartoum also impose their own modern bourgeois morality on their hinterlands, a morality that is more oppressive than the country’s pre-existing “primitive” values. In this instance this urban morality, mixed with some notional Islam, has led to an environment in Khartoum in many cases far more straightjacketed than rural, and ostensibly more conservative areas. My grandmother, a tobacco-chewing, illiterate woman who married at 14, was far more comfortable and assertive around her male counterparts than her daughters and daughters-in-law who had, through their education and socialisation in Khartoum, assimilated quasi-Victorian attitudes towards morality and a woman’s correct place. They wore miniskirts and modelled themselves on the Supremes, but were deeply compliant in spirit and with gender roles that subscribed to the notion that women should be demure and comely.
Venture only a few hours outside Khartoum in any direction, and although you will find fewer PhDs, you will see women walking home from working the fields, modestly dressed but not in Islamic clothing, carrying their implements with the effortless ease of the physically strong. This is not to romanticise the notion of the rural third-world periphery as a bucolic scene of simple, unwittingly liberal values and farmland harmony. Traditional misogyny and inveterate, complicated racisms certainly exist, but it is not hard to see that, if oiled with the right economic and political support, the machinery of coexistence and diversity can run more smoothly than it has thus far in the country. The image of the country bumpkin arriving wide-eyed, fresh off a train from the sticks in their Sunday best to build a new life in the big smoke, is an abiding one in the historical perception of the western city as a place of opportunity. And while Khartoum is certainly the hub of tertiary education and white-collar employment, it devours those who arrive, and sends nothing back to their place of origin. Instead of plucky kids from small-town America making it in the big city and returning to their hometown every now and then, Khartoum migrants eventually uproot their entire family to move with them.
Only by understanding this can one truly come to grips with traumatic events such as the ongoing Darfur crisis, which is primarily an issue of a region’s chronic marginalisation and continued under-governance. In Darfur, competition for scant resources and grazing rights exploded in an environment missing government mediation and then worsened through the actions of a regime ensconced in what effectively became “Camp Khartoum”, the main barracks of the military and command centre. The government financed and supplied whichever group could quell the rebellion most efficiently, effectively outsourcing the war and abdicating its political responsibilities. Far from taking extra care with the restive hinterland, Khartoum barricaded itself against Sudan, sending emissaries who were basically firefighters into the worst humanitarian crisis the country had ever seen.
In a sense, all wars waged in Sudan have only ever been waged between Khartoum as a garrison town and everywhere else. Or as Sudan expert Alex de Waal has described it: “Commonly characterised as a war between North and South, but better described as a connected set of wars between a dominant central elite claiming Islamic and Arab identity, and the peoples most marginalised by that elite, including Southerners, the Nuba people of southern Kordofan, and a number of groups in eastern Sudan, all of them non-Arab, many of them non-Muslim.”
This garrison mentality further exacerbates marginalisation as a result of the genuine cluelessness and isolation of its residents from the rest of the country. The images that came through from Darfur during the peak of the crisis and those currently filtering out of the Nuba mountains, where another rebellion is being brutally quashed, are treated with suspicion, denial and apathy by the majority of those in Khartoum. Not because of any inveterate racism or endorsement of the government’s military campaigns, but simply because the faces of the victims are unknown and dehumanised, so little have Khartoumians come in contact with them.
The plight of a Palestinian child in Gaza will move more people in Khartoum than that of a child in Darfur, because the Palestinians’ cause is so well formed and articulated in the average Khartoumian’s mind. The political elite is thus further enabled by the replication of its worldview through media and popular culture, leaving all routes to change blocked from within. As Khartoumians, the people best positioned to put pressure on the government, are themselves oppressed into subscribing to the political elite’s world view, those outside the city have no intermediaries or agents in the halls of power. So they take up arms.
An example of this national image distortion became apparent throughout the 1990s and early noughties, when, realising that the alienation of the west and south of the country was leading to the possible breakup of a country, Khartoum’s media went into overdrive, incorporating, or rather crowbarring, references to western tribes and South Sudanese cultural traditions into public messaging. All of a sudden the long-standing, monoculturally Arab religious identity of Sudan was replaced with a bemusing celebration of ethnic diversity, which it seemed boiled down to the traditional dance routines of different tribes in the region. One can always tell how politically unstable the peripheries are by the number of hastily put-together tribal dances from the hinterland that are broadcast in the national media. The more the regions were up in flames, the more the dance drums beat on television. But it is always too little, too shallow, too late.
Today, with the south gone, seceded in 2011 in a referendum in which the marginalised Christian and animist region said goodbye to the selfish capital for good, Khartoum is even less diverse, as the city’s large southern minority decided to move almost en masse to South Sudan. Khartoum is even quieter, poorer, the loss of the South’s resources hurting economically and the loss of the southern territory smarting on a visceral, existential level. Sudan is referred to by the awful term “rump state”. War still rages in the Nuba Mountains and tensions simmer in the east and west of the country. Rebel movements have twice approached and once entered Khartoum, an unthinkable prospect for its dwellers. There is a sense that the hordes are closing in, and that decades of grievances and marginalisation will finally close in and cannibalise a centre of power that has got away with divide, marginalise and rule for too long. Almost 60 years after independence, the model of the elitist city has proven to be a catastrophic failure.
This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Tank Magazine.
The passage of time
But the world must know
That blacks are the owners of the oldest human civilization
Kush civilization .. the land of Cush
Should be proud of every man in this Black Civilization
Kush was in iron smelting by seven thousand years from birth ..
Europe was asleep in a deep sleep .. these scientific facts ..
Around 1000 BC, following the collapse of the New Kingdom in Egypt, the Nubian kingdom of Kush re-emerged as a great power in the Middle Nile. Between 712-657 BC, Nubian kings conquered and ruled Egypt as the XXVth Dynasty. By about 300 BC, the center of the kingdom had shifted south to the Meroe region in central Sudan, where the pyramids and tombs were built to house the bodies of their kings and queens. These pyramids, often referred to as the Nubian pyramids or the Pyramids of Kush, were built to serve as tombs not only for the kings and queens of Meroe, but also for priests and high-ranking officials of Nubia who commonly had small pyramid structures placed on top of their graves.
Due to the lack of archeological work in Sudan, only a few Nubian pyramids have actually been dated and explored. These pyramids are located in three different sites, totaling between 220 to 228 pyramids, which is more than double the total number of the ancient Egyptian pyramids; however the exact number of pyramids in Sudan (Nubian Pyramids) cannot be known since many have weathered away and are no longer identifiable. The oldest known Nubian pyramid is dated back to the eighth century B.C. This pyramid, located at el-Kurru, is identified as belonging to Pharaoh Piankhy (747-716 BC).
Numerous differences can be identified between Egyptian and Nubian pyramids; Egyptian pyramids had their tomb-chambers cut within their pyramid structures, while the tomb chamber of the Nubian pyramids were dug under the ground, below the pyramid structures. Heights and steepness of the pyramids also differ greatly.
The Pyramids at Nuri; located west of the Nile in Upper Nubia. This cemetery contained 21 kings, together with 52 queens and princes. Taharqa, the king of the 25th Dynasty was the first king to build his tomb at Nuri, and it is the biggest pyramid ever built at the site.
Due to the reverse direction of the Nile there, Taharqa’s tomb [in Nuri], which is still on the “west” bank, paradoxically lay to the east, the place of sunrise and rebirth. Gebel Barkal, on the “east” bank, lay paradoxically to the west, the place of sunset and death. The tomb and the mountain, thus, symbolized creation, death and rebirth simultaneously. They were opposites, yet they were also the same. All of the opposites, in fact, were perceived to be united in Gebel Barkal and its pinnacle became synonyms: present and past, upperworld and underworld, living and dead, east and west, north and south, male and female, god and goddess, father and mother, parent and child, god and king, etc.
The Pyramids of Meroe; between the 5th and 6th cataracts. During the Meroitic Period, over forty kings and queens were buried at Meroe. Forty generations of Nubian royalty are buried in Meroe, and every royal Nubian tomb is housed within a pyramid. The Meroitic South cemetery contained the tombs of three kings, Arikakaman, Yesruwaman, and Kaltaly, as well as six queens. Several hundred yards to the north, the Meroitic North cemetery held an additional 30 kings and 6 queens, successors of the South cemetery group. Their tombs, built under steep pyramids, were all badly plundered in ancient times, but pictures preserved in the tomb chapels tell us that the rulers were mummified and covered with jewelry and laid in wooden mummy cases. The larger tombs still contained remains of weapons, bows, quivers of arrows, archers’ thumb rings, horse harnesses, wooden boxes and furniture, pottery, colored glass and metal vessels, and other things, many of them imported from Egypt and the Greek and Roman worlds. Meroe belongs to the most important monuments of the beginning of civilization on the African continent. Queen Bartare (260-250 B.C.) was the last monarch to be buried in Meroe.
All the tombs at Meroe have been plundered most infamously by Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini (1800-1870) who smashed the tops off 40 pyramids in a quest for treasure in the 1820s. Ferlini found only one cache of gold. His finds were later sold, and remain at the museums in Munich and Berlin.
The Pyramids of el-Kurru; The first Nubian pyramids were built at the site of el-Kurru. The site at el-Kurru contains the tombs of King Kashta and his son Piye (Piankhi), five earlier generations, together with Piye’s successors Shabaka, Shebitqo and Tanwetamani and 14 pyramids of the queens.
With the finished construction of the Aswan High Damin 1968, and the flooding of the Nubian homeland, the last of the Nubian people were forced to leave the area that extended south along the banks of the Nile from Aswan in the north to the Sudanese border 290 miles south.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of further archaeological study at any sites in Nubia is all but impossible because many of the primary areas of investigation now lie under 250 feet of water, at the bottom of Lake Nasser. Over 150,000 Nubians and Sudanese were forced to relocate off the land their ancestors had called home for over 5,000 years. Over 45 Nubian villages were washed away along the banks of the Nile south of Aswan.
There is no way to estimate the total number of temples and tombs which now lie at the bottom of Lake Nasser, nor is there any way of knowing the many secrets these structures currently hold. Because of the creation of the Aswan Dam, the world will never have an opportunity to study the full impact Africans from the southern Nile Valley had on the development of ancient Egypt and subsequent civilizations.
Additionally, in our current times, theft is an ongoing problem that threatens the preservation of the treasures hidden within the pyramid sites. A number of international preservation organizations and academic institutions, with minimum support from the Sudanese government, are struggling to maintain and insure the security of the country’s valuable historical sites that form an essential part of the global human heritage.
Brief Historical Background on the Kingdom of Kush:
About 1450 BCE, the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III extended his conquests to Gebel Barkal and established it as the southern border of his empire. The city he founded there was called Napata. The Egyptians remained only about 300 years. Later Napata became the seat of royal authority of an independent Nubian kingdom called Kush, and from about 720 to 660 BCE its kings conquered and ruled Egypt as the 25th Dynasty. Napata was the political capital of Upper Egypt (northward to Memphis) during the late-8th-century reign of Piyankhy (or Piye). After the Kushites were driven out of Egypt, Napata continued as an important royal residence and religious center until about 350 BCE, when the kingdom finally collapsed.
To date, we know of three successive kingdoms of Nubia (aka Kush), each with its own capital: the Kingdom of Kerma (2400-1500 BC), that of Napata (1000-300 BC), and finally that of Meroe (300 BC-300 AD).
How to get there:
If you’re planning to visit the Nubian Pyramids of Sudan, here are a few personal guidelines.
If you’re non-Sudanese, make you sure you check with the Sudanese Embassy in your country in advance for the Visa requirements and how long it might take.
Visiting the Meroe site is the easiest. It’s only about a 2 hour drive north of Khartoum. There’s an “Italian” tourism agency that can provide you with a driver that can take you there, they will also book a room for you at a camp-like hotel which is right opposite to the site. I would highly recommend spending a night there and enjoy the peace of the site at night.
The Nuri site is within the city of Kareema. The same tourism agency can also provide you with day trips there. It’s about a 3-4 hour drive from Khartoum.
If you prefer not to take the Tourism Agency trips, make sure you take a driver who knows the way. Most of these sites are about 15-30 minutes off-road.
Make sure you plan everything ahead of your trip there and also keep in mind changes in plans are inevitable in Sudan.
I was coming from the land of Cush
Sudan homeland for all races and cultures ..
Came from the land of Abyssinia
From the heart of Africa
Or the roots of native origin Black Black August .. I have eyes like you .. I have a mind like you would your family do Ahacpk including me my family
Neutral Wrong. Neutral ashamed. Came Find fair, love and peace
I’m not a hateful
I’m not a hater
I have looted the land
Join my ancestors stole …..
I’m from the pyramids built.
We love to write, we love to read and we love to hear everybody’s words.
Nas. Notepads. No questions asked.
To promote, using the creative process, a platform through which youth can both make a substantial impact on Sudanese culture and project an image of Sudan that has yet to be seen.
We started Nas with Notepads as a group that aims to promote quality poetry in Sudan. We do not care about the language used and we don’t really have much control over what’s presented in our events. However, our main purpose is to attract genuine and outstanding poets and a loving and truly interested audience for nights of quality poetry and spoken word performances in an intimate and cozy atmosphere.
These are some of the things we hope to achieve through our work:
A culture of writing and creative expression
Making Sudan positively recognized through NWN
Nas with Notepads
Nights of quality poetry…
Where words are without borders…
Where sounds and lyrics move minds, bodies and spirits…
Where the wrinkles are outlined in the face of reality…
We are nas. notepads. no questions asked…
On the banks of river Nile, an old fisherman rests upon his rickety boat under the hot Khartoum sun. His gaze is strict, his chiseled features strong and commanding. Yet, as he slowly moves his scarred right arm to bring a cup of tea to his lips, his withered face softens into a gentle smile.
“He seemed very strong, but welcoming,” says Qusai Akoud as he recalls the moment he approached the Khartoum fisherman to ask for a photograph and a quick chat. “He and his friends, they come fish here every morning and sell their fish in the fish market.”
Last May, Akoud, a 27-year-old graphic designer from the Sudanese capital, set out to pay a tribute to the people living in his hometown through a series of artistic street portraits.
Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York,” a popular photo blog that was launched in 2010 featuring photographs of complete strangers in the American metropolis and has since been replicated around the world, Akoud trawled the neighborhoods of Khartoum and the banks of river Nile to capture the spirit of his city and the stories of the people living in it.
“I wanted to tell the stories of the humans of Khartoum and let the world know about the lives of the people of Sudan,” says Akoud, who aptly named his project “Humans of Khartoum.”
Yassin, 12 years old, lives by the river Nile in Khartoum, Sudan. He washes cars for a living.
From old fishermen at the bustling El Mawrada market and shisha-smoking men relaxing in the gardens of Tuti Island to women selling tea in downtown markets and young upwardly mobile professionals strolling near the University of Khartoum, Akoud’s project provides a captivating and heartfelt insight of life in and around the Sudanese capital.
The young photographer says it hasn’t been difficult to get strangers to open up to him, but admits to often having trouble to persuading women to allow him to photograph them.
A farmer from Tooti Island
“People are open to their pictures being taken — it’s not as hard as it seemed in the beginning of the project — however, women refuse to have their photos taken due to cultural constraints.”
Akoud says he is fascinated by every person he meets but has a particular interest in one specific group of people.
“Old people always attract me,” he says. “They have wonderful stories.”
Click through the gallery to read excerpts of Akoud’s blog that go with the photographs he’s taken. You can see all images and stories in the “Humans of Khartoum” blog or Facebook page.
There seems to be a very interesting and fascinating phenomenon that seems to be a common way of thinking in Sudanese culture and society. A very big love for medication, medicine, pharmacies, prescriptions, pills.
A rather unhealthy level of love pill popping and spending time either collecting the largest assortment of pills or harnessing the pharmacist or suggesting and making recommendation to their friends as to which pill will cure their every illness and need like you are some sort of expert. We also seem to treat pharmacists with a very special respect and reverence and in some cases refer to them as Drs.
Its quite funny but I have noticed that pharmacies always seem to always be built next to the hospitals, and those are a lot more busy than those that are not. Seems like they want to get people to by-pass and come straight for the medication.
And when I do go to pick up my prescription, I pick up on the conversations and a lot of people seemed to be there more of pharmaceutical tourists who seem to know more than the pharmacists
And this sort of way of thinking gets taken with us wherever we end up all over the world.
A funny story about a Dr who was friends with a Sudanese pharmacist and they sort of referred people to each other, and soon a lot of the Sudanese community would be going to visit his friend.
After a long holiday back to Sudan, the pharmacist came back and his friend all of a sudden the Sudanese patients stopped coming. After a while of going backwards and forwards for a long while. Finally the Sudanese asked his friend how many prescriptions he wrote on average.
And then he was like aha there’s your problem. You see we Sudanese love our medication, you must not be prescribing them prescriptions. The Dr sat back in amazement, laughing to himself thinking is that it.
Then any patient as soon as they said they are Sudanese he would have his perception pad out and soon he had the whole town.
So I had some good news today, personal, but of a medical nature, and this reminds me of a story I heard sometime long ago, about the former president of Sudan, who took over in a military take over and was ruling as a dictator, Ibrahim Abood. One day two government officials came to tell him of the news of the passing of one of his friends in the army I believe. He was having dinner at the time and upon hearing the news was very upset as this was a close friend.
They were about to embark when President Abood decided to go back pray the sunset (Magrib) prayers. And so they all made wadu and prayed and then got ready. Again they decided to head out and just before they were about get in the car, when the president asked what time it was. When told it was 10 to 8 he responded by saying: by the time we get there visiting time will be over, and the gafeer (guard) wouldn’t let me in. Look how much respect he had for the job of the security guard and would never abuse his authority.
This coming from the president of the country. It just goes to show the attitude of the people in charge effects and filters down to the people they rule. True leadership means you abide and follow your own rules.
And also shows how far we have fallen as a nation…just food for thought.
The pride of Sudan. The only product that is made in Sudan that (most) Sudanese people are proud of, and this statement is bound to be controversial. Bringi is a Sudanese cigarettes brand, made and manufactured and grown in sudan. Which until recently was owned by Haggar Group who sold it to a japanese company.
They come 10 in a pack and are literally what makes the whole economy stay afloat. The amount of money spent on these cigarettes is crazy. Everybody smokes them, rich and poor, young and old. They are special requests whenever anyone mentions they are going to Sudan on holiday. They make the perfect gift. The thing that makes these Sudanese ciggarettes so special is the strength of them. They are quite strong, much stronger than Marlborough reds. So once you are used to such a heavy ciggarette such Bringi, nothing else will do.
Bringi cigarettes packs have such a distinct and unique personality you cant help but love them. The packaging is done in such a way that is different to any other pack. The first time i was given a pack of biringi i struggled to open it. Its not like a normal pack of cigarettes where you pull open the top and it revels the contents inside. This pack is made with one box inside the other. You have to push from the bottom to move the inside box away from the outside box and revel the magical Bringi inside. They only come in one size, and each special and distinct pack houses 10 fags.
Another special thing about the sudanese economy and way of life is that convience is essential. Thats why most shops that sell goods, allow you to buy them as singles or as many as you want for that matter. A single Bringi cigarette cost you 20 sudanese piasters and a whole box would cost you 2 sudanese pounds. Obviously this was a few years ago, and this info is out of date, but with the current rate of inflation rising by the hour, any information I give will quickly go out of date.
The Youth Factor is an organisation/youth group/movement that was set up by the Sudanese community in January 2010. It’s an organisation with the following aims:
Promoting youth development and communities’ social and cultural cohesion.
Foster togetherness through reinforcing positive values and providing mentors and role models for the younger generation.
Active involvement and contribution in sports, arts and social activities and events.
Raising awareness of our cultural identities
Promote self-esteem, groups profile and academic excellence and achievements
Encourage voluntary service for our resident communities and our home countries
Working shoulder to shoulder with educational, social and cultural voluntary groups to realise our shared objectives
– See more at: http://theyouthfactor.co.uk/index.php/about-us#sthash.8K2nY7CB.dpuf
The newly established British Sudanese youth group, initiated by active Sudanese in the UK aims to promote the rights, interests and activities of the youth. It will form a network for their use and for the realisation of their cultural, social and political aspirations including developing assistance for others, whether in the UK or Sudan, e.g. through charity works and active citizenship responsibilities. The respect and dignity of individuals will be maintained in all activities and at all times. – See more at: http://theyouthfactor.co.uk/index.php/about-us#sthash.8K2nY7CB.dpuf
Compared many other Diaspora’s in the UK and elsewhere the Sudanese invariably prefer to keep a low profile. This below the radar approach whilst helpful in allowing gradual assimilation has hampered constructive engagement and commercial activity with Sudan. Those who know the Sudanese well will attest to the seemingly cautious nature of Sudanese investors, a conservatism that is in marked contrast with the activity of Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland. Ashraf Khalifa, the Founder of Sudan Hub (https://www.facebook.com/#!/SudanHub ) is eager to change this;
“The Sudanese Diaspora could be an immense force for good, it just needs a focus and to rediscover its confidence.” He acknowledge that the loss of South Sudan and the current political uncertainties have not helped matters, but is keen to point out that a generational change is already resulting in a less risk averse attitude. He believes that Sudan Hub can play a constructive role in bringing members of the Diaspora together, as well as helping them rediscover something of what it means to be Sudanese. “There are some extraordinary business opportunities in Sudan, but you would never think they existed if you follow the business press.”
He is candor about the challenges he faces; “It is early days. I know some people may shrug their shoulders and ask why am I bothering? Well I am very proud of my heritage and believe it is my duty to do what we can to bridge the gap, hence Sudan Hub. I am eager to hear from other members of the Sudanese Diaspora who feel the same.” He is not alone in wanting to help others discover something of the real Sudan. Sudan Volunteer Programme (http://svp-uk.com/) is a London based charity whose mission is to send graduates and under-graduates to Sudan to teach English at schools, colleges and universities. SVP recognizes that all concerned gain from its programmes, with participants coming away with a far greater appreciation of the subtleties and dynamics of one of Africa’s least understood nations.
This Article was written by Mark Jones of Horn of Africa Business Association (HABA)
500 Words is a Sudanese independent online magazine. It is an amalgamation of various thoughts and opinions on Sudanese society, culture and life. It is concerned with the opinions of the Sudanese youth on all things regarding the two Sudans.
We aim to encourage the Sudanese youth to read and write, provide a platform for discussion and for those who are eager to get published. We are driven by our contributors’ submissions, so if you have anything to say on the two Sudans please send it to us in 500 words.
Hey guys and welcome to Sudan Hub. Thank you very much for visiting our website and we hope to see u guys come back regularly. But more importantly we hope to see you visit Sudan and see all the splendour and glory, and all we have to offer.
This is my first blog post and so I want to use it to introduce myself (as the creator and founder) and explain more about what the Sudan Hub project is all about.
So here goes my name is Ashraf, although most of my friends as Ashe, and Im currently 25. Im currently living in London and have been in the UK for the past 8 years. Both my parents are Sudanese, and were both born and raised there. Me and my siblings on the other hand were not born there, and due to the nature of my fathers job (UN) were constantly on the move (Chad, Indonesia, Kenya, Jordan, Denmark, UK).
Thats me on the left with a friend.
All that moving around and having not grown up in Sudan, although I would go for regular holidays created a feeling of a lack of identity as well as a disconnect from me and my cousins, as well as the older generation. And then to make it worse is the reaction of people around me not having any idea where Sudan was, or just the negative aspects they hear on the news (Darfur, Maryam, Arrest warrant against president etc.)
And the struggles of having to adapt in my own country as a Sudanese growing up abroad, finding it hard to settle, not fully understanding the culture, the custom, the tradition and the mentality. I always found there was a Big Gap and an Identity Crisis.
So I decided to set up this project to learn more about my Country, showcase my country in a more positive light, discover and explore my identity. As well as provide useful information about Sudan, especially those looking to move or go for holiday.
I will be writing a weekly (at least) blog which I will publish on Friday exploring Sudanese culture and identity, and a special interest of mine entrepreneurship within the Sudanese context.
I will also be changing the banner on the top of the site on a daily basis (similar to the google doodle), so if anyone wants to share their photos or business for 24 please get in touch.
Also a request to all Sudanese and anyone who wants to support us, please change your homepage to (www.sudanhub.com) & giving us any feedback wether positive or negative as self improvement is very important to us.
The Children of Sudan is a UK registered charity that was brought together by a group of young people living in the United Kindom.
The aim of the organization is to better future of youth of Sudan because the future of this country lies in the hands of our youth …our children.
The ”COS” organization will help provide decent education, efficient healthcare, child sponsorship programmes and integrate youth projects for children all over the Sudan regardless of their race, religion or socio-economic background.
So Let us together give a hand for a smile on those children’s faces, for a smile can brighten the darkest days and give hope for a brighter future.