The Nile

From the balcony of my apartment in Khartoum North I enjoy a great panoramic view of central Khartoum. On the opposite bank in startling whiteness is the presidential palace built on the ruins of General Charles Gordon’s last stand. Encircling and dwarfing the palace are the glassed high-rise towers of a modern city that is rapidly shedding the faded appearance of its colonial past. Continue reading

Omdurman’s Camel Market

A calf at Souq al-MuweliH.

A calf at Souq al-MuweliH.

The camel market on the western outskirts of Omdurman is a fascinating place to visit. There is a feeling that the modern capital of Khartoum has been left far behind as soon as you reach Souq Libya. A few kilometres further out you have truly entered the west of Sudan, a world a million miles away from the grand villas and air-conditioned shopping malls in Khartoum. Continue reading

More Sudanese Arabic Proverbs

These proverbs from Sudan all have an animal theme.

الجَمل ما بشوف عوجة رقبته
aj jamal ma bishuuf ‘awajat ragabtu.
The camel does not see the bend of its neck. This proverb is said about people who are very good at condemning others and ignoring their own faults and mistakes. (An English proverb with a similar meaning could be: the pot called the kettle black)

ابن الوز عوام.
ibn al wizz ‘awwaam.
A gosling is a good swimmer. Like father, like son. Children take after their parents, not only in looks but also in their character.

Another proverb with a similar meaning would be:
ود الفار حفار.
waddal faar Hafaar.
The son of a mouse is a digger. Sons inherit their fathers’ traits and characters.

Lions in the Sudan

I knew straight away that I wasn’t going to see the lions eat. They lay drowsily within their cage at the zoo in Khartoum North as the zookeeper carefully placed his hand inside the cage and rubbed the neck of the lioness. A sure way to lose your fingers or hand I thought. But no it wasn’t dangerous he explained because this lioness had been tamed through her years of human contact.

Rather you than me I thought…

Keeping lions in the Sudan goes back a long way. ‘Abd al-Rahman al Rashid (Sultan of Darfur, 1787-1803) kept a pair of lions that were apparently so tame that they could be led into the market at El Fasher to feed on the offal from the butchers’ stalls.

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