Jun 6, 2017
The Nuba Mountains are a remote region of northern Sudan, in South Kordofan. The Nuba are various Indigenous tribes who inhabit the region.
Abyei lies further to the south and was also part of South Kordofan. It is just north of the border with South Sudan. Abyei Area, rich in oil, is disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan. I remember being in Nimule in 2007, listening to troop carriers in the night driving north to Abyei, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was allegedly in place.
Five women, Muslim and Christian, who arrived in Australia as refugees from these two areas talk to Jodie Heterick and I about their homeland. Jodie and I learn about the 99 mountains of Nuba, about building your home, scarification, dance, and war.
These are beautiful, strong women. From hiding in the rocks from aeroplanes dropping bombs on schools, to adapting to modern life in Khartoum where you must pay for things and are looked down on for your traditional practices, to building a new life in western Sydney, this is a fascinating insight into the tumult of seeking refuge.
Apologies, however, for the quality of the sound. With the number of children and number of languages* that the seven of us had between us, it is amazing that we got such a coherent conversation.
The Sudanese politicians referred to when the women are describing the topics of songs are:
Omar Al-Bashir - the President of Sudan;
Yousif Kuwa – the leader of Nuba;
Salva Kirr – the President of South Sudan;
John Garang – who led the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the 2nd Sudanese Civil War, and then was the First Vice President of Sudan until his death in a helicopter crash in 2005. He is considered a hero in Sudan.
* I only had one of those languages. I am in awe of these women with their 3 or 4 languages.