As we begin to welcome the year 2013 with hope, as waves of revolts rise in Sudan, we say goodbye to a gloomy 2012. As the year 2012 comes to an end, I look back at who Sudan has lost this past year not as a reminder of loss but as reminder that once greatness existed in our nation. Yes, “loss” is no stranger to Sudan but this year, we have lost great contributors to our country’s national identity. The year 2012 truly marks the year of great loss in Sudan.
Sudan lost Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud
Born in 1930, Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud was the Political Secretary of the Communist Party of Sudan (CPS). He studied at Hantoub high secondary school alongside the late Sudan’s President Jaafar Numiri and the current Popular Congress Party leader, Hassan al Turabi. He was admitted to Khartoum University in early 1950s, but then dismissed and incarcerated for a whole year because of his role in a wave of popular demonstrations against British colonial rule. Upon his release, Nugud fled Sudan to continue his studies in Sofia University in Bulgaria, where he earned a degree in philosophy. He returned to the country in 1958 to become a full-time political agitator in the ranks of the CPS battling the military dictatorship of General Abboud (1958-1964).
Nugud has been involved in politics since the early 1950s and has spent almost all his political career working underground. Following the Aboud regime (1958–64) he was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1965. He was appointed general secretary of the party after the failure of a counter coup d’état by communist officers in 1971, as result its leader Abd al-Khaliq Mahjub executed by Numiri’s regime. He then went into hiding from 1971 to 1985, and was arrested in 1989. In 1990, he was released under house arrest until 1994 and then again went into hiding till 2005. After the 1985 uprising, the party introduced this new political leader for the first time in a rally at Khartoum University. In 1986, Nugud was elected as Member of Parliament, representing Al Amarat and Al Diem constituency in Khartoum.
This political leader was admired for his strong political stance yet remaining witty, humorous and modest. Nugud proved to be an astute political survivor and is largely responsible, along with his colleagues, for the CPS still being an integral part of the country’s political identity. Founded in 1946, CPS remains one of the most influential parties in Sudan.
Mohamed Nugud passed away at the age of 82 in London where he was seeking medical attention for brain cancer.
Sudan lost Mohamed Wardi
Born July 19, 1932, Mohamed Osman Hassan Salih Wardi was a Nubian Sudanese singer and songwriter. In 1953, Wardi went to Khartoum for the first time to attend a convention as a teaching representative for his area. He moved to Khartoum and started his career as a musical performer.
In 1957, Omdurman Radio chose him to record and sing on national broadcast in an arena with legendary singers such as Abdelaziz Mohamed Dauod, Hassan Atia, Ahmed Almustafa, Osman Hussain and Ibrahim Awad. Wardi recorded 17 songs in his first year. Acommittee formed by Omdurman Radio’s president that included top singers and songwriters such as AlKashif, Osman Hussaein and Ahmed Almustafa promoted Wardi to highest level as a professional singer. He had a duet with famous poet, Ismail Hassan, resulting in more than 23 songs.
Wardi performs using a variety of instruments including the Nubian Tanbur and sings in both Arabic and Nubian languages. Described as Africa’s top singer, he has millions of fans mainly in the Horn of Africa. His songs address romance, passion, Nubian folklore and heritage, revolution and patriotism with some of his political songs resulting in him being jailed.
After the introduction of Sharia in 1989, he left Sudan to voluntary exile in Cairo but returned in 2003. The artist was granted an honorary doctorate from the University of Khartoum in 2005 in recognition of his career for more than 60 years and his performance of more than 300 song.
Wardi died on February 18, 2012 at the age of 80 because of kidney complications.
Sudan lost Hawa Al Tagtaga
Hawa Jahal-Rasoul, popularly known as Hawa Al Tagtaga, was born in Alrahad to a sufi father and a mother, who was a tribal and nationalist poet and sing-writer. Hawa was naturally influenced by the art of singing but her family was opposed to the idea of hersinging. After her father died, she moved to Omdurman to improve her singing talent; especially after having heard that a broadcasting house was established.
In addition to having a strong personality and singing voice, she was a patriot and nationalist. She joined the Brothers Party led by the late Ismail Al-Azhari and sang for the party. She was the first Sudanese woman to wear a tobe in the colors of the Sudanese flag and the first Sudanese woman to sing for independence at the moment when Al-Azhari elevated the independence flag in 1956. Hawa survived a gunshot to the chest for raising the Sudanese flag with Al-Azhari.
Hawa travelled to Egypt and sang in the wedding of King Faroug of Egypt to queen Nariman in the presence of famous Egyptian singers such Mohammed Abdulwahab and Um Kalthoom. She also sang in honor of the late Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat upon his arrival in Khartoum and sang in support of the Palestinian issue. Arafat loved her dedication and courage and gave her the Palestinian scarf and head ornament that shekept to the day on which she passed away. Hawa sang for late Field Marshal Gaafar Nimeiri and most of the prominent families in Khartoum and Omdurman. The famed Egyptian singer Um Kalthoom, dubbed as Planet of Orient, expressed her admiration of Hawa when they met in Khartoum. In the wake of organizing a national song concert at the Labor Theatre in Atbara; she and singer Hassan Khalifa Alatbarawi were arrested by the British and jailed for three months.
Hawa Al Tagtaga died at the age of 86 on December 9, 2012 in Sudan for undetermined reasons.
Sudan lost Mohamed Al-Hassan Salim
Born in 1956 in Nuri, Northern State, Mohammed El-Hassan Salim, also popularly known as Hummaid, was one of Sudan’s most popular and renowned poets. Hummaid is considered a pioneer in colloquial language poetry in Sudan where several singers such as Siddiq Ahmed, Mustafa Sid Ahmed and others sang his poems. Ministry of Culture and Sudanese Songs Poets Union mourned late Hummaid, describing him as a distinguished poet with a wide poetic vision. Poet Mohammed Yousuf Musa described him as a pioneer of a special poetic school. He even grabbed the attention of BBC Radio Scotland, which highlighted his poem, Uncle Abdur-Raheem. Hummaid died in a car accident in March 2012 in Gaoboulab area, near north Omdurman.
Sudan lost Nadir Khidir
Nadir Kihidir was born in Banat Shariw in Omdourman. He received his bachelor degree in India where he specialized in economics and politics. His passion for singing made him a professional singer in 1994 when he returned to Sudan.
He was one of the most popular and accomplished Sudanese singers with millions of fans in the country. With his continuing collaboration on the number one music show in Sudan, Aghani Wa Aghani, he left an imprint in the Sudanese singing arena.
Nadir Khidir died on May 19, 2012 in a car accident south of Shendi on Tahadi Road while returning from the city of Atbara after taking part in a concert at Wadi Alneel University. Three other musicians accompanying him were also killed in the accident.
Sudan also lost…
Mohamed Younis al-Nil, Adel Mohamed Ahmed, Alsadiq Abdullah Yagoub, Nu’man Ahmed Koreishi, the four student protesters from Darfur, who were killed in December 2012. Their deaths have inspired hundreds of Sudanese in Darfur, Khartoum, Port Sudan, Madani, and Jazeera state to take the streets and protest against the government of President Omar Al Bashir.
In addition, I’d like to pay tribute to the 13 lives who were lost in the Sudanese military plane crash, traveling from Khartoum to Fasher, in October 2012, and to the two lives lost at the military arms factory bomb attack in Khartoum in October 2012.