Sudan: Ancient and Contemporary

Table of Content

Editorial:  Dr. Hala Oleish (Guest Editor)

Dr. Shadia Taha: Nubia, A Land that Continues to be Cherished by Its People

Lena Idris: Navigating a Fading Language and Identity:
The Relationship Between Language Proficiency and Ethnic Identity Amongst Sudanese, Nubian Youth

Dr. Angelika Lohwasser: Nubian Women of Power

Interview  of Hameem Almahy and Yousif Elamin



The theme of the fall issue of Africa Update is Ancient and Contemporary Sudan. The Chief  Editor of Africa Update, Professor Gloria Emeagwali, decided to extend the theme to the winter issue as well. This issue begins with the Sudanese heritage expert Dr. Shadia Taha, who shares with you her insight on contemporary Nubia and the recent displacement of its Indigenous community due to the construction of a series of dams along the Nile River. Dr. Shadia Taha obtained a B.A. (Hons) in Archaeology from the University of Khartoum (Sudan), and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge. Taha’s doctoral dissertation investigates attachments to abandoned heritage, using ethnographic research methods. Her Ph.D. was published by Archaeopress, Oxford in 2013. In 2011, she co-edited the ‘Historic Cities’, Proceedings of the 10th Heritage Seminar with Chatzoglou, Polyzoudi, and Sørensen. In 2004, she co-edited. Fifty Years in the Archaeology of Africa: Themes in Archaeological Theory and Practice, in: Papers in honor of John Alexander, with Wahida, Smith, and Rose. Her research interests include ethnography, oral traditions, intangible cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, local communities and sustainable development. Currently, she is a consultant for the ‘Rising from the Depths’ East Pemba Maritime Heritage Project, Tanzania; a Tutor and Member of the Board of Governing Fellows at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge; an Affiliated Research Scholar at McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, a Researcher with the Civilisation in Contact Project; and a Research Associate with the Indian Ocean World Centre, Research Fellow, School of Global Studies, Department of Anthropology and International Development, University of Sussex 2022-2025. Shadia describes life before and after the construction of the dams. She discusses the impact of the dams on the social, environmental, and cultural aspects, as well as their subsequent influence on the Indigenous people. Her research highlights the various methods by which the Nubian communities remain connected to their homelands, cherishing their heritage and preserving it along the way.

Next, is another paper on Nubia. Follow Lena Idris as she investigates the possible correlation between mother tongue proficiency and the ethnic identity amongst the Sudanese Nubian community.  Through this qualitative research, Lena presents to you a deeper understanding of what it means to carry an ethnic identity. Does indigenous expression go beyond the traditions and customs?

Then, Egyptologist and Sudan archeologist Dr. Angelika Lohwasser covers an especially intriguing topic through her article. Angelika Lohwasser studied Egyptology, Sudan archaeology and Arabic language at the University of Vienna, Austria. Her thesis discussed the queens of Kush and her habilitation focused on the cemetery of Sanam, a Napatan non-royal burial ground.  In 2009, Angelika became a full professor for Egyptology at the University of Muenster and a director of archaeological fieldwork in the Bayuda desert in Sudan. Her publications deal with various culture-historical, historical and archaeological aspects of the cultures of Ancient Sudan and Late Period Egypt. Angelika delivers to you her insight on the secrets behind the prominent status of the mighty women of the ancient Nubian civilizations. Who are the Kandakes? What does it mean to be a royal woman of Kush?

Finally, I have included a short interview of two widely famed Sudanese young artists who have been presenting Sudanese cultural heritage and history through their art. Hameem Almahy and Yousif Elamin have inspired many over the recent years. I leave you now, hoping that their spirit may reach you as well.

Guest Editor

Dr. Hala Oleish

Hala Oleish is a Sudanese novelist. Her novel ‘Faience’ is a historical fiction set in prehistoric Sudan. Hala carries a profound interest in the Sudanese heritage and history. She believes that learning about our past is a prerequisite to moving ahead. Her growing passion for history, storytelling, languages and education continues to fuel her journey (https://linktr.ee/halaoleish). Hala Oleish is also a medical professional.


Gloria Emeagwali 
Chief Editor

Walton Brown-Foster
Copy Editor

Haines Brown




ISSN  1526-7822


Olayemi Akinwumi 

Ayele Bekerie

Osakue Omoera

Alfred Zack-Williams 
(Sierra Leone)

Gumbo Mishack

(South Africa)




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Jennifer Nicoletti
Academic Technology, CCSU

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