Monday, January 17, 2022

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Is women’s strive on the right trail in Sudan?

A person without a girl is like a person without an Island – Dinka Proverb

By Mading Ngor Akec Kuai*

Mar 16, 2006 — The incessant civil wars in Sudan have touched virtually every creature
and has made life uneasy not only for humans, however; the species have
paid respectively in that improvised country. With the advent of wars our
women in particular, have suffered a great deal and the magnitude of their
agonies can only be termed as indescribable. Based on a personal
experience, women have contributed immensely to our struggle whether it
was with the accommodation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)
soldiers during the war, preparing food (Kesera) and drying it for the
Front Lines for our men in uniform as soldiers had no sufficient ration,
giving up their husbands and dear sons to fight in the liberation wars or
boosting morale for our troops to carry on when victory was far in sight.
Obviously, we wouldn’t have been where we are today without the efforts of
the women in the home front.

The untold misery inflicted on our mothers by nature and abusive husbands
amongst others is enormous. It is to be understood that both genders are
equal and the same (with respect to biology) and that the women’s
struggles are intertwined and inseparable from our total liberation. Can
a woman be worst off or well off alone without her family?

“I want to bring that motherly sensitivity to politics”- Ellen Johnson
Sirleaf, Liberia’s African first female Head of State

It is now a common believe that women in Africa are subdued, oppressed and
chained. This is a view that Sudanese feminists tends to uphold and carry
as a banner. While I partially agree, it is misleading to curve that women
are not free in Africa and in Sudan for accuracy because they are. The
societies do not condone any wrongdoing on the side of a man as an abusive
husband is not in the eyes of the societies a hero. However, the bottom
line is that our women are not empowered and educated enough to shoulder
their woes. The task of integrating and enlightening the woman in Sudan
should be met through capacity building and not through affirmative action
where they are awarded posts because of their under representation.

A new Feminism must be forged entirely different from the Western Feminism
to reflect our values and cultures and a decolonization in the Sudanese
woman’s worldview is essential to realising the dreams and aspirations for
our women and society completely. Why should a woman embrace a system
that overshadow and bury her face in a man’s identity: a system that calls
a woman by her husband’s name instead of hers even though our naming
system goes along the paternal line?

If it is possible to defy nature and nurture from confining women to
domestic sphere as critics of feminism pointed them out as the reasons why
women’s participation in the public sphere is minimal, a direction away
from old Western feminists theories with little touch with African reality
is required to devise a unique culture of resistance for African, Sudanese
women. In the same vein, there are certain phrases and concepts that
women have incorporated in Sudan that undermines their sovereignty. For
instance, in the Dinka society if you find women in a house and ask them
who is home (yenga toh baai), they’ll say nobody (acin raan). Admittedly,
however, a man shouldn’t ask that in the first place knowing that women
are ‘people’ (koc). Therefore, a Sudanese man must be taught to use
gender neutral terms to speed the women’s cause away from submission.

Moreover, we should ask how did we arrive in this boat? Women should be
asking themselves these questions and act expeditiously to change and
question any African beliefs/worldview that does not see them as free,
separate and independent entity.

“Unitl the lions have their own historians, the stories of hunting will
always glorify the hunters” – African Proverb

Lastly, it’s squarely up to the Sudanese women to strive hard to restore
their rightful spots under the sun for the African saying above says that
until women have their own historians (experts), the stories of hunting
(men?s achievements) will always glorify the hunters (the men).

Nevertheless, it is our collective responsibility to work hand in hand
with the Sudanese women because if a woman is sick, the conditions for
her child/children are not favourable so she must be kept healthy to
maintain a healthy and forward looking country of ultimate emancipation
and liberty for everyone.

*Mading Ngor Akec Kuai is editor of
Email: [email protected]