By John Ryle, Justin Willis, Suliman Baldo, Jok Madut Jok
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Extra info for The Sudan Handbook
But among the people of the riverain north the story is different. Here slaves are invisible; the main story is one of struggle for independence from external powers – external, that is, to the country that was not yet then Sudan. Thus, in Khartoum, primary school children are trained to re-enact the story of Mek Nimr, a traditional leader who, in 1822, killed the tyrannical son of Muhammad Ali of Egypt. These schoolchildren, growing up in a divided country, are rehearsing what is seen in the north – or parts of the north – as the seminal, unifying moment in the history of Sudanese nationalism.
The fifth century Greek historian Herodotus recorded tales of the lands to the south of Egypt. The Romans invaded the region and sent a fact-finding mission which may have reached as far south as the Sudd. Byzantine missionaries proselytized upstream of the Nile confluence as far as Soba East, the capital of the medieval kingdom of Alwa; Muslim travellers traversed the northern part of the country; and a Catalan speaker, perhaps a pilgrim, visited the southern Dongola Reach in the thirteenth century.
The Sudd is hard to navigate by boat, and its seasonal expansion across the clayish soils is a menace to land travel, but it is a redoubt for wildlife, creating a remarkable resource for its inhabitants – in the dry season there is a bonanza of fish and opportunities to plant in the moist and fertile soil The Sudan Handbook, edited by John Ryle, Justin Willis, Suliman Baldo and Jok Madut Jok. net). land & water 51 as the water recedes. For people who live by combining cattle-herding, fishing and seasonal agriculture, as many do in southern Sudan, the particular flow of the White Nile shapes their livelihoods.