New Internationalist

The new Kandakas: Sudanese women at the frontline of the revolution

Some 2,000 years ago, during the Nubian period, North Sudan was ruled by women, including Queen Kandaka, famous for her strength. Today, a new generation of Kandakas is taking back the streets and fighting at the frontline of the revolution.   

We Sudanese women living in Sudan and abroad will no longer tolerate the regime’s actions. Here in Britain, a new body consisting of many women’s rights organizations and human rights groups was formed earlier this month under the name of Women’s UK Pressure Group. The group organized its first action on 14 July in support of Kandaka Friday and the ongoing protests in Sudan. It is looking to consolidate the effort of these different organizations to release the prisoners and register complaints about the situation of female detainees in Sudan.

A memorandum was submitted to British Prime Minister David Cameron during the 14 July demonstration. It appeals to the government to put pressure on the Sudanese government to release all political detainees and allow them fair trials and to fulfil its obligations to protect human rights – including the rights of all women.

Photo (top) of Sudanese woman by Al Jazeera English under a CC Licence

Photo (bottom) of London protests on 14 July by Nahla Mahmoud

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  1. #1 Marta Sampaio 24 Jul 12

    Again, great piece on Sudan's current situation Nahla. Thanks for keeping us posted, doing a better job than the media.

  2. #2 jane 27 Jul 12

    Well done to the Sudanese women for standing up for their needs and rights as well as getting the men to see the need for women to be treated without violence, as shown in the picture. I look forward to a future where politicians as well as men in general see that women have equal rights as human beings. Just think, without women men could not exist anyway. Where did the men come from, from whom were they born?

  3. #3 Nadir Ali 27 Feb 13

    As a Sudanese citizen, I find it necessary to respond to the outrageous lies that Nahla Mahmoud told in this article. There are so many lies however, that I hope by exposing a few I would prove that Nahla is nothing more than a self-serving liar (a conclusion that the British Home Office seems to share with me as it rejected Nahla's application for political asylum).
    First, the Sharia laws are the choice of the majority of the Sudanese people who look forward to them to save the nation from the ills of the failing and bankrupt secular way of living. The choice of Sharia by the Sudanese people, as well as many nations in the Muslim world, is evident from the decisive election victories Islamists make whereever elections are held freely.
    Second, the current Sudanese government did not start the war against the South. It was the other way around; the Southerners started it; back in 1955 incidentally, when mr. Al Bashir was only 10 years old! Contrary to Nahla's lies, the current government made the greatest and bravest sacrifice to achieve comprehensive peace; it granted the Southerners self determination, and allowed them to become an independent country.
    Contrary to Nahla's lies again, this government has many grand achievement economically, politically and socially. It built the largest hydroelectric power dam in Africa, the most comprehensive road and bridge network, produced oil from a war zone, the revenues of which propelled Sudan to be the sixth largest African economy in 2007; with the fourth highest economic growth rate worldwide. The number of universities rose from 3 to 30. Women were the greatest beneficiary of this as they make up about 60% of university students; making Sudan one of very few countries where female doctors outnumber their male counterparts! Freedoms of expression and organising political parties are granted and practiced openly. Problem is they get abused by few fanatical activists who preach violence and support armed rebellions and undermine the country's national security. Still, the number of detainees is far less the arbitrary figures that Nahla made up out of thin air. The number of people who died after clashes with police or security forces does not exceed 20 over 23 years, not hundreds as Nahla lied.
    Why did Nahla lie so blatantly? Two words: asylum seeking! She is a failed asylum seeker as the British Home Office did not believe her original story and rejected her application. Nahla left Sudan on a scholarship from the Sudanese government to study environmental science after graduating from the University of Khartoum, Sudan. Therefore, like many others in her desperate situation, she myst file claims after claims (at tax payer expense) by changing her story and adding to it. This time her plan is to make such volatile and inflammatory statements about the great Islamic faith hoping to convince the Home Office bureaucrats that her life is in danger, which it isn't. The same old political asylum lie, only much more desperate this time!

  4. #4 Nadir Ali 27 Feb 13

    Nahla is lying blatantly. Everything she said is mere fabrication and intentional misrepresentation of the truth; for personal gain only: to gain political asylum status by convincing the Home Office that her life would be in danger if she return to Sudan after the Home Office did not believe her original story and rejected her application.
    She left Sudan on a scholarship from the Sudanese government to study for a master's degree in environmental science; she did NOT flee because she was being persecuted for her atheist views that only God knows when they developed, before or after her refugee applucation.
    She lied in her application like tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers.
    She should be ashamed of herself for insulting the great Islamic faith by her biased, foolish and inflammatory statements about this wonderful faith. Freedom of expression does not mean inciting hatred, encouraging violence and telling lies. She should also be ashamed of abusing the British asylum system, waisting taxpayer money, and depriving genuine asylum seekers of needed resources.

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About the author

Nahla Mahmoud is an environmental campaigner and human right activist originally from Sudan. She is particularly interested in issues of secularism, equality and modern concepts of conserving natural resources.

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