Sudanese Women Are Modeling Peace
A woman in Yei, Southern Sudan, carries firewood home. Photo by Paul Jeffrey.
Peace and justice in Sudan will be only a dream until women take their rightful place as leaders. The good news is, though consistently sidelined, Sudanese women are already modeling peace building in their communities.
Women are Key to Peace
In addition to education, women are giving voice to their own unique experiences as Sudanese by reinventing traditional stories, songs and other oral masterpieces to reframe women as sources of strength. They are using al-Hakkama, the powerful right to criticize or compliment anyone—including the chief.
Haja Nasra Gets Her Donkey Back
In the story “Famine, Women Creative Acts and Gender Dynamics in Manawashai, Darfur, Western Sudan,” published in the African women’s studies journal Jenda, Baqie Badawi Muhammad tells the story of seventy-year-old Haja Nasra. When the government in her Darfur town confiscated her donkey to use in a security detail, she was “fearless, aggressive and a powerful fighter,” wrote Muhammad, who witnessed Haja Nasra’s confrontation of the town Sheikh, or judge.
Like the woman of Jesus’ parable who argued for justice until the judge gave in “so she may not wear me out,” Haja Nasra prevailed, in a beautiful example of al-Hakkama, the powerful right to criticize or compliment anyone, including the Sheikh. She presented herself as a woman whose donkey was the only means by which she could provide water to her large family. The Sheikh restored her donkey. (From Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, 2002.)
"Women in Southern Sudan: Claiming a Peace Dividend," by Paul Jeffrey for Response Magazine, April 2009. (PDF, 1M)
Photo by Paul Jeffrey
Article of Edina Tumalu's journey and struggle as a leader for women in Sudan, by Annette Spence for United Methodist News Service.