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date: 19 June 2018

The History of Sudanese Nationalism

Summary and Keywords

Ever since its conquest by the armies of Muḥammad ‘Alī Pasha in 1820, Sudan (the Republic of Sudan today) has been subjugated to colonial rule by foreign powers—first by the Ottoman-Egyptian regime from 1821 to 1885, then by the British (nominally the Anglo-Egyptian “Condominium”) from 1899 to 1955. Consequently, modern Sudanese history came to be characterized by the emergence of a series of anticolonial popular struggles, such as the Mahdist movement (1881–1898), the 1924 Revolution, and other political movements in the 1940s and 1950s. In spite of apparent differences in style, method, and ideological background, these were essentially based on the energy of the masses aspiring for liberation from colonial rule.

The development of the national liberation movement in Sudan was a complicated process, since the modern Sudanese state itself was an artificial colonial state, and it was never self-evident what the “Sudanese nation” was. Building solidarity among peoples of different cultural and religious backgrounds within Sudan (such as the mainly Arab Muslim population in the north and peoples of different backgrounds in the south and the Nuba Mountains) turned out to be crucial to the anticolonial struggle. Because of the colonial situation which prevailed in the Nile Valley after the 1880s (Egypt itself was occupied by the British in 1882), the idea of a regional (if apparently contradictory) coordination of “Sudanese nationalism” and the cause of the “unity of the Nile Valley” coexisted. Finally, since colonialism inevitably had its socioeconomic dimensions, a conflict of interests between the privileged local elites (tribal and religious leaders) and the general masses emerged, leading to a struggle over who would represent the “Sudanese nation.” The independence of the country in 1956 did not put an end to the question of Sudanese nationalism, since the colonial nature of the modern Sudanese state remained unchanged, and the popular struggle against oppressive state apparatus and social injustice continued even after independence. Various elements of civil society, including trade unions, students, and women, called for a democratic transformation of the Sudanese state. Peoples of the politically and economically “marginalized” areas in Sudan (such as the South and the Nuba Mountains) rose up in protest against underdevelopment, leading eventually to the emergence of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SLPM) in the 1980s, which advocated the vision of “New Sudan”—a type of “Sudanese nationalism,” so to speak, based on the aspirations of marginalized areas. Although, with the independence of the South in 2011 (a development which was not originally anticipated by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] itself) the modern Sudanese state (as it used to be known) ceased to exist, this does not mean that the heritage of various anticolonial struggles in Sudan has been meaningless. Rather, it constitutes a common property, so to speak, for the peoples in the region (though now divided between different states), and serves as a source of historical lessons and political inspiration for future generations.

Keywords: Republic of Sudan, Mahdist movement, Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, 1924 revolution, SPLM

The Mahdist Movement: A Prototype of the Nationalist Movement

Before conquest by the armies of Muḥammad ‘Alī regime, the “Sudan” (which corresponds to the territories of the Republic of Sudan as it existed from 1956 to 2011) never constituted a single political entity. While there existed some Muslim sultanates in the north (such as the Funj Sultanate in the Nile basin and the Keira Sultanate in Dar Fur) and the peoples in the south (such as Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk) had their own political institutions, they had not been integrated into a state. It was in the course of colonial invasion and administration by the Ottoman-Egyptian regime that these different areas and peoples were violently integrated into a modern colonial state (known as the “Egyptian Sudan”) and came to share the experience of being oppressed and exploited by foreign rulers.1

The History of Sudanese NationalismClick to view larger

Figure 1. A Sketch-map of Sudan drawn by C. G. Gordon in the 1870s. Being a map drawn by the well-known colonial administrator who served as a governor-general of the “Egyptian Sudan”, it reminds us how the framework of the modern Sudanese state itself was created in the course of conquest and colonial rule.

Source: George Birkbeck Hill (ed.), Colonel Gordon in Central Africa 1874–1879 (London: T. De La Rue, 1885).

Despite the presence of resistance and uprisings on a smaller scale throughout the sixty years of the Ottoman-Egyptian rule (such as the initial resistance against conquest both in the north and south, consisting of local uprisings and mutinies),2 the Mahdist movement (1881–1898) was the first large-scale popular struggle, which eventually succeeded in toppling the colonial administration (Khartoum, the capital, was captured in 1885) and even in establishing its own state, the Mahdist state, temporary as it was.3

As for its ideological background, the Mahdist movement was a religious movement, based on the concept of mahdī, or the “one rightly guided by God,” a messianic belief widely accepted in the Muslim world. In the case of Sudan, this concept served as a symbol of popular resistance against the Ottoman-Egyptian regime, when Muḥammad Aḥmad, a charismatic leader and originally a member of a sufi tariqa (Islam mystic order) in the northern riverine area, claimed himself to be the mahdī. Upon closer examination, the concept of the mahdi in 19th-century Sudan shows itself to have been influenced by the theoretical and organizational developments taking place in Sufism in the Muslim world as a whole at that time (the so-called “Neo-Sufism”): notably the attempt to unite different orders and build a single large-scale order, a ṭarīqa Muḥammadiyya (i.e., “Prophet Muammad’s order”) and increased interest in the question of sharī ‘a (Islamic law).4 It might be argued that the growth of such “Neo-Sufist” ideas in Sudan, in turn, reflected the effects of Ottoman-Egyptian rule, such as the territorial unification of different areas, the development of means of communication, and the emergence of “Sudan” as a modern colonial state.

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Figure 2. The Mahdist uniform, jubba muraqqa’a (literally meaning a "patched jacket"), symbolizes and aims to revitalize some aspects of the sufi values such as asceticism (“poverty”) and the equality of human beings.

Courtesy British Museum, Af1909,0315.3.

Socially, the Mahdist movement was essentially a movement of masses of the poor, who rose up against oppressive colonial government, refusing to pay taxes. Among the ordinary people, Muḥammad Aḥmad was known simply as someone who “preached against the payment of taxes.” The imposition of so-called diqniyya (polltaxes) on the nomadic tribes in western provinces was especially resented by the people, and the Mahdist leadership took up this cause, condemning it as a sort of bid ‘a, a deviation from the original teaching of Islam.5

It is noteworthy that, although the movement was based on the Islamic concept of mahdi and its leadership consisted essentially of the “northerners” of Arab Muslim cultural background, the people from the “marginalized areas” in the emerging colonial state of Sudan, such as the Nuba Mountains (Kordofan Province) and the South, played important roles as well. While Sudan as a whole had been conquered and colonized by the Ottoman-Egyptian regime, the inhabitants of these non-Arab or non-Muslim areas constituted the lowest stratum of the hierarchical structure, exposed to excessive violence and exploitation. Colonial rule had been resented by these communities, which, even before the Mahdist movement, had been already rising in protest against oppression. Obviously, the Mahdist leadership of northern origin, especially those who were connected with the merchant (jallāba) class and hence had the opportunity to travel extensively and interact with different social and ethnic groups inside Sudan, were very aware of the situation in these marginalized areas, and were keen to mobilize its potentialities.6

Thus it was to the Nuba Mountains that Muḥammad Aḥmad made his hijra (emigration) immediately after his declaration of Mahdiship, escaping from suppression by the colonial authorities, and grew his strength under the protection of local population. It is reported that, when a chief of the Dinka people in the South contacted the Mahdi while he was still in the Nuba Mountains, the Mahdi told him to “drive away the Turks from their lands” and promised to grant them subsequent “self-rule.”7 Some of the Dinka people, in fact, participated quite actively in the Mahdist movement, especially in its early stage. In this context, it is known that there was an attempt, on the part of the Dinka, to integrate the Mahdi into their own value system, by calling him a “son of Deng” (Deng refers to a transcendental being in the Dinka cosmology).8

In the course of its military actions, the Mahdist movement relied heavily on forces composed of people from the marginalized areas. These forces consisted mainly of the people who had been enslaved in the course of the colonial expansion in the South and the Nuba Mountains, had been enlisted as jihādiyya (slave soldiers) in the regular army of the Ottoman-Egyptian regime, and were later incorporated into the Mahdist army. They were well versed in the use of firearms, and played important roles in the development of the Mahdist movement and Mahdist state.

Finally, it is important to place the anticolonial struggle in Sudan at this historical stage in a broader regional context, paying attention to the question of interaction between the popular movements in Sudan and Egypt. While Sudan had been conquered and colonized by the Egyptian Muḥammad ‘Alī regime, Egypt itself began to be exposed, especially from 1870s, to increasing European colonial pressure, such as the accumulation of foreign debt and the interference of European powers (mainly Britain and France) in internal affairs (and this included the administration of Sudan). The increase of Western officials employed in Sudan, such as C.G. Gordon, was a result of these developments.) Just prior to the Mahdist movement in Sudan, the ‘Urabist Revolution (1879–1882) broke out in Egypt, calling for democratic reform of the political system and liberation from colonial influence, but this movement was eventually suppressed by British military intervention in 1882, and Egypt was placed under occupation.9

Since both Egypt and Sudan (i.e., the whole Wādī al-Nīl (the “Nile Valley”)) were faced with increasing colonial pressure, it was natural that interactions and attempts at solidarity took place between the peoples of the two countries. Some of the ex-supporters of the ‘Urabist Revolution expressed their sympathy with the Mahdist movement.10The Mahdist leadership, on its part, was keenly interested in the liberation of Egypt from Western occupation, as is shown by the famous expedition to Tushuki, which was dispatched by the Khalīfa ‘Abdallāhi (the Mahdi’s successor) to Upper Egypt in 1889, although it was defeated by the British occupying forces.

The 1924 Revolution: Who Will Speak in the Name of the “Sudanese People”?

In 1898 Sudan was ‘reconquered’ by the Anglo-Egyptian forces and the Mahdist state was overthrown, and in 1899 the Anglo-Egyptian “Condominium” started.

The History of Sudanese NationalismClick to view larger

Figure 3. The Mahdi’s Tomb after it was bombarded by the British in 1898.

Image courtesy Durham Library, Elderton Collection, The Sudan Archive of Durham (SAD).1/22/67–68.

Since Egypt (the lesser partner of “Condominium”) itself had been under British occupation since 1882, this meant that henceforth, in effect, Sudan entered the era of British colonial rule. Under these circumstances, in 1924, another anticolonial movement started in Sudan which called for the “unity of the Nile Valley” (i.e., the joint struggle between the Egyptian people and the Sudanese people) and the cause of “Sudanese nationalism” at the same time, the 1924 Revolution.11

The History of Sudanese NationalismClick to view larger

Figure 4. The Founding Members of the White Flag League. From the right: Ḥasan Sharīf, ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf, Ṣāliḥ ‘Abd al-Qādir, and ‘Ubayd Ḥājj al-Amīn. At the back is a white flag, showing the map of the “Nile Valley.”

Courtesy National Archives of Sudan, Creative Commons License, CCO.

In a global context, this movement can be regarded as part of a series of post-World War I revolutions that erupted in different areas of the colonized world (Egypt, India, and Korea, among others) where peoples attempted to achieve independence by making use of changes in the international milieu. It constitutes, at the same time, a significant stage in the history of national liberation movement in Sudan.

One of the most conspicuous features of the 1924 Revolution is that it was a movement directly inspired by the Egyptian 1919 Revolution. As has been mentioned, the interaction between anticolonial struggles in the two countries had already existed in the 1880s. The Egyptian ‘Urabist Revolution and the Sudanese Mahdist movement shared a common situation and interacted with each other. In the case of the 1924 Revolution, however, there was a more conscious effort to build an alliance between Egypt (which had undergone the 1919 Revolution and consequently obtained “independence” from the British protectorate, insufficient as it was) and the Sudanese people, and to achieve the liberation of Sudan through this alliance. Thus, just as the Egyptian people had declared in 1919 that they would delegate their powers and national representation to the wafd (literally the “delegation”[i.e., the Egyptian delegation which aspired to attend the Peace Conference in Paris]) led by Sa ‘ad Zaghlūl Pasha, the participants of the Sudanese 1924 Revolution declared that, of the two condomini powers which ruled Sudan, they would delegated their powers to Egypt(not Britain) to speak in the name of the Sudanese people during the forthcoming negotiations over the future status of Sudan. Numerous telegrams were sent in support of Egypt under its newly-born Wafdist government led by Sa ‘ad Zaghlūl, and signatures for petitions were collected widely.12

Another important point concerning the 1924 Revolution is that, while it called for the “unity of the Nile Valley” (i.e., solidarity with Egypt), it also advocated the cause of “Sudanese nationalism” at the same time. Although seemingly contradictory on the surface, according to the strategy of the revolution, the Sudanese support for Egypt in its negotiations with the British did not mean that the Sudanese nation would merge into Egypt; on the contrary, the “delegation of powers” to Egypt on the part of the Sudanese people required, as a prerequisite, that there existed the “Sudanese nation” with full rights to self-determination. It was this “Sudanese nation” which was to choose Egypt (not Britain) as the one empowered to speak on their behalf. What necessitated the emergence of this very subtle strategy was, besides the rather particular nature of the administrative arrangement concerning the Sudan (i.e., the Anglo-Egyptian “Condominium”), the concept of a “nation’s right to self-determination,” which became prevalent in postwar international politics. Consequently, henceforward, for the first time in the modern history of the Sudan, people became conscious of the necessity to articulate their cause as that of “Sudanese nationalism.” The concept of the “Sudanese nation” emerged, and its nature and definition began to be contested.13

Thus, in the course of the 1924 Revolution, struggles unfolded, not only over the question of whether it was Britain or Egypt who was entitled to represent the Sudanese people in the international sphere, but also over the question of who, in the Sudan, was entitled to speak in the name of the Sudanese people. The 1924 Revolution was not only a revolution against external foes (the British), but also encompassed internal dimensions.

Socially, while the British administration tried to mobilize the support of social forces such as tribal chiefs and religious notables, it was the so-called effendiyya (i.e., junior Sudanese officials employed within such sectors as the Postal Service and the Railway Department and army officers) that mainly constituted the leadership of the 1924 Revolution. This was a newly born social force which had emerged as a result of British colonial rule and constituted the lower stratum of the colonial machinery itself, but which came to develop a high degree of political consciousness. Problems such as the gap between the standard of living of British officials and that of Sudanese officials, and the exploitive nature of the Gezira cotton scheme, among others, led to the growth of political consciousness and the criticism of colonialism. The effendiyya constituted a sort of “modern force” in Sudanese society at that time, and in the course of the 1924 Revolution, challenged the authority of tribal and religious leaders who claimed to be the “natural leaders” of the Sudanese nation.

The position of marginalized areas (or marginalized peoples) in the “Sudanese nation” was also an issue at stake. Although the principal locale of the 1924 revolution was in the North, the leadership of the revolution seems to have been quite conscious that, if the Sudan were to be liberated from colonialism, all its inhabitants should be united in order to resist the colonial “divide and rule” tactics. For this reason, there was a conscious effort to talk of the “Sudanese people (al-sha ‘b al-Sūdānī) and not the “Arab people (al-sha ‘b al-‘arabī),” in the attempt to strengthen solidarity between different areas in the country.14Moreover, there were numerous people from the Nuba Mountains and the South who had been uprooted from their original homes and forced to live in the north as a result of slave raids and slave trade. It is noteworthy that these “negroid but detribalized people” (the phrase used by the British administration) played a significant role in the 1924 Revolution. The urban masses who took part in demonstrations in the course of the revolution comprised these “de-tribalized” people who, being ex-slaves and their descendants, basically constituted the poorer strata of northern urban society. Besides, part of these people had found their way into military service, some becoming officers, and thus came to constitute a part of “modern social forces.”15 ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf (the leader of the White Flag League, an organization established in May 1924 that played a leading role in the course of the revolution) was of this particular social origin himself. He was an ex-army officer, a member of the effendiyya, and at the same time of “negroid but detribalized” origin. Both his parents were ex-slaves, his mother being a Dinka from the South, and his father said to have been from the Nuba Mountains. Here the two themes—the issue of social class and the issue of the “marginalized” peoples—overlapped and converged. The emergence of a person like ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf as a representative of the “Sudanese nation” testifies to the radical nature of the 1924 Revolution.16

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Figure 5. ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf, the leader of the White Flag League.

Photo taken by Yoshito Kurita in the house of ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf’s descendants in Sudan in 1994. Used with permission.

The 1924 revolution, however, was eventually suppressed by force. Although it consisted essentially of nonviolent activities such as peaceful demonstrations, sending telegrams, and collecting signatures, the British administration officially banned all demonstrations in June 1924, and many of the leading activists were arrested. Although the movement continued in various forms throughout the summer (such as demonstrations and popular uprisings in places like Port Sudan and the railway town, Atbara) when Sir Lee Stack, the Governor-General of Sudan, was assassinated in Cairo in November, the British government succeeded both in pressuring the Egyptian wafdist government led by Zaghlul into resigning, and in finally suppressing the resistance in Sudan.17

The Aftermath of the 1924 Revolution and Developments in the 1930s

Throughout the subsequent decade, the main concern of the British colonial administration was how to contain the energy of popular struggle, an outburst of which had been witnessed in 1924, and various devices were invented for this purpose. In fear of the growth of modern social forces (effendiyya and intellectuals) which had demonstrated progressive tendencies in 1924, the powers of tribal and religious leaders were artificially strengthened. Attempts to recreate “tribal order” were made, the “Native Administration” system being introduced for this aim.18 The influence of religious notables, such as the chiefs of the leading sufi orders and Sayyid ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Mahdī (the son of the Sudanese Mahdi, who inherited his father’s movement and virtually turned it into a sect, “Neo-Mahdism”) was strengthened as well, encouraging them to accumulate wealth through agricultural and commercial activities, and thus expanding the socioeconomic basis of their prestige.19 In order to eliminate the possibilities of nationwide resistance, “divide and rule” tactics were pursued, and the division between the “Arab” “Muslim” North and the “non-Arab,” “non-Muslim” South was consciously strengthened.20

It is against this backdrop that the development of Sudanese nationalism since the late 1930s and its subsequent predicament should be analyzed.

The establishment of the Graduates’ Congress in 1938 is generally regarded as a sign of the reawakening of Sudanese nationalism. Starting as an organization for the graduates of Gordon Memorial College (the Khartoum University today), its membership was open to social groups such junior officials and merchants, thus serving as a mode of expression for the young Sudanese intellectuals as a whole. In April 1942, the Congress published a political memorandum, in which it demanded “self-determination” for Sudan after the war.21

However, since the influence of tribal and religious leaders had been strengthened as a result of colonial policy, the Sudanese intellectuals were soon compelled to enter into an alliance with these forces. Thus, while some intellectuals chose to ally with Sayyid ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Mahdī, others eventually came under the aegis of the Khatmiyya, the largest sufi order in Sudan, led by the Mīrghanī family, and the polarization around the two religious families took place. This was the beginning of “sectarian politics” in contemporary Sudan.22

Interestingly, in the course of this polarization, the cause of “Sudanese nationalism” and that of the “unity of Nile Valley,” which used to co-exist without contradiction in 1924, were also divided between the two camps and usurped by sectarian leaders. While the family of the Mahdī, apparently helped by the image of the 19th-century Mahdist movement, posed as a champion of “Sudanese nationalism,” advocating the cause of “Sudan for Sudanese,” the Mīrghanī family—whose order, al-Khatmiyya, as a historical fact, had entered and flourished in Sudan in the 19th century in during the Ottoman-Egyptian rule—came to behave as if it were the guardian of the cause of the “unity of the Nile Valley.” Henceforth, the question of Sudanese nationalism began to be increasingly described within the framework of the dichotomy between the two camps sponsored by two religious families, In reality, however, there was little difference between the Mahdī family and the Mīrghanī family with regard to their socioeconomic basis, both functioning as a rallying point for social forces such as tribal leaders and big merchants, which constituted local pillars of British colonial rule.23

In the mid-40s, while some of the Sudanese intellectuals who had been active in the Graduates’ Congress proceeded to establish political parties of “unionist” tendencies (i.e., advocating the unity of the Nile Valley) such as al-Asiqqā’ (literally meaning “full brothers,” established 1944), others, who advocated the cause of the “Sudan for the Sudanese,” established the Umma Party (umma meaning “nation”), sponsored by Sayyid ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Mahdī in 1945.24

When postwar social and political upheavals in the Middle East and Africa (such as the resurgence of anticolonial aspirations and the development of leftist ideas and activities) began to destabilize the British Empire, and especially after the July Revolution in Egypt in 1952, Britain was compelled to terminate its rule in Sudan, reaching an agreement with its condomini partner, Egypt, in 1953, on granting Sudan “self-government and self-determination.” In December 1955, at the end of the transitional period which lasted for two years, the Sudanese parliament, consisting of both the “unionist” parties and the Umma Party, unanimously declared the independence of Sudan.25

National Liberation Movement in a Postcolonial State?

While Sudan achieved its independence in 1956, this did not automatically lead to decolonization of the Sudanese state. The essentially coercive and undemocratic nature of the state apparatus was inherited by postcolonial Sudan. The “Sudanese bourgeoisie,” who came to power after independence, consisted of the same social forces such as tribal and religious leaders, big merchants, and elite officials, which had been nurtured in the course of colonial rule, and saw no interest in bringing about any radical changes in the socioeconomic structure of the country.26

The regional and international milieu surrounding Sudan remained that of a colonial or rather “neocolonial” nature. Just as Sudan used to be strategically important in the context of the imperial policy of the British Empire, Sudan after independence became increasingly important in the context of the US Middle Eastern and African policy in the age of the “Cold War.” Sudan began to be expected to function as a “bulwark” against the upsurge of anticolonial aspirations in both the Middle East (such as the Egyptian July Revolution) and Africa (such as the Congo Revolution), and this naturally affected the nature of the Sudanese state.

Consequently it was natural that, even after its political independence, Sudan was to witness a series of popular struggles which pursued the cause of national liberation—namely the decolonization of the country in its full sense, in different forms.

Various types of popular movements which unfolded in Sudan in the 1950s and 1960s, carried out by forces such as workers (notably railway workers); peasants (the tenants of the Gezira cotton scheme, especially); and women can be located within this context. These forces, whose interests were not represented by the tribal and sectarian establishment, demanded both the achievement of social justice and the expansion of civil and political rights, and contributed to the democratization of the postcolonial Sudanese state. It was through the struggle of these social forces that military dictatorship of General ‘Abbūd, which had come to power in 1958 with the consent and blessing of the sectarian leaders, was toppled in 1964 (the “October Revolution”). The Sudanese Communist Party, which had been originally established in 1946 under the name of the Sudanese Movement for National Liberation (SMNL), played a significant role in the development of these movements carried out by the democratic forces.27

Another example is the movement of the peoples of the marginalized areas such as the South and the Nuba Mountains. Since the beginning of colonial rule in Sudan in the 19th century, these areas had been exploited and violently suppressed. Located at the bottom of the hierarchical structure of modern Sudan as a colonial state, they had been suffering from underdevelopment, both politically and economically. Moreover, as a result of the “divide and rule” policy pursued by British colonial administration since the 1920s, and of the increasingly “Arab-Muslimcentric” tendency of the northern Sudanese elite, which was a cultural expression of the alliance between the intellectuals and the tribal and sectarian forces, postcolonial Sudanese politics came to be characterized by the outburst of conflict between the “center” (Khartoum) and these “marginalized areas.” The postcolonial Sudanese state, especially under its military regimes, ruthlessly suppressed the peoples of these areas, who had protested against underdevelopment, and this eventually led to the emergence of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SLPM) in the South in 1983. Being engaged in armed resistance against the military regimes (the Numeiri regime first, and then the Bashir regime since 1989), the SPLM advocated the vision of a “New Sudan” as well, in which the essentially colonial nature of the existing Sudanese state (“Old Sudan”) would be overcome, and the ideals of democracy, balanced development, and the equality of all citizens regardless of religious or ethnic differences would be achieved. This vision of “New Sudan,” which was welcomed and shared by the democratic forces in the North as well in the course of the joint struggle against the Bashir regime (continuing from 1989 to 2005), was a form of “Sudanese nationalism,” based on the aspirations of the marginalized areas.28

The History of Sudanese NationalismClick to view larger

Figure 6. John Garang, chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, welcomes Secretary-General Kofi Annan upon his arrival in Rumbek, southern Sudan, 29 May 2005.

United Nations, Photo # 76988.

The conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Bashir regime and the SPLM in 2005; subsequent developments in domestic, regional and international milieus; and the eventual independence of the South in 2011—a development which was not originally anticipated by the SPLM itself, since it had been committed to the idea of a united Sudan29—put an end to the modern Sudanese state. Today, the Republic of Sudan as it used to be known no longer exists. This does not mean, however, that the heritage of various anticolonial struggles in Sudan has become meaningless. Rather, it will constitute a common property, so to speak, for the peoples in the region (though now divided between different states), and serve as a source of historical lessons and political inspiration for future generations.

Discussion of the Literature

While there had been continuous scholarly efforts to present a detailed historical narrative of the events such as the Mahdist movement and the 1924 Revolution (see P.M. Holt’s The Mahdist State in the Sudan and M.W. Daly’s British Administration and the Northern Sudan, 1917–1924), these studies were not necessarily meant to locate these movements within the context of the development of national liberation struggles in Sudan. Rather naturally, it was the Sudanese historians who were more deeply interested in the question of the Sudanese nationalism, and tried to examine its origins, course of development, and complicated nature from various perspectives.

Thus, works such as Muddathir ‘Abd al-Rahim’s Imperialism and Nationalism in the Sudan and Mohamed Omer Beshir’s Revolution and Nationalism in the Sudan attempted to trace the development of nationalist movements in Sudan, covering the period from the beginning of the Condominium until independence. More specifically, concerning the 1924 Revolution and its aftermath, in-depth works such as Ja ‘far Muḥammad ‘Alī Bakhīt’s al-Idāra al-Bariṭāniyya wa al-Ḥaraka al-Waṭaniyya fi al-Sūdān (the British Administration and the Nationalist Movement in Sudan), Aḥmad Ibrāhīm Diyāb’s Thawra 1924: Dirāsāt wa Waqā’i ‘ (The 1924 Revolution: Studies and Facts), and Hasan Abdin’s Early Sudanese Nationalism appeared in the 1970s and the 1980s. The 1970s also witnessed efforts by the Institute of African and Asian Studies, Khartoum University, to collect oral testimonies of those who took part in nationalist movements, the results of which were recorded in publications such as al-Riwāyāt al-Shafawiyya li Thuwwār 1924 (The Oral Testimonies of the Activists of the 1924 Revolution) and Muqabalat Ruwwad al-Haraka al-Wataniyya (Interviews with the Leaders of the Nationalist Movement).

Concerning the socioeconomic background of the national liberation movement in Sudan, a series of works published by Muḥammad Sa ‘īd al-Qaddāl in the 1980s and 1990s provided a new perspective. While most of the works by Sudanese scholars on nationalism tended to concentrate on the Condominium period, focusing on modern types of movements such as the 1924 Revolution and the Graduates’ Congress, al-Qaddāl began by studying the 19th century Mahdist movement as a national liberation struggle, in his al-Imam al-Mahdī Muḥammad Aḥmad bn ‘Abd Allāh: Lawḥa li Thā’ir Sūdānī (al-Imām al-Mahdī: a Portrait of a Sudanese Revolutionary), and then analyzed the socioeconomic structure of the Mahdist state in his al-Siyāsa al-Iqtiṣādiyya li-l-Dawla al-Mahdiyya (The Economic Policy of the Mahdist State). He proceeded to present, in his Ta’rīkh al-Sūdān al- Ḥadīth (The Modern History of Sudan), a comprehensive picture of the history of the modern Sudanese state, analyzing the class structure of society from a Marxist point of view, and paying special attention to the development of popular movements at each stage. By introducing socioeconomic perspectives, al-Qaddāl succeeded in presenting a dynamic narrative concerning the development of the political process in Sudan, shedding light on the potential contradiction between the interests of the elite who led the national liberation movement and those of the ordinary masses who actually participated in the struggle. Also, by paying attention to the situation of the masses and trying to write modern Sudanese history “from below,” he outlined how to overcome the hitherto prevailing dichotomy in the narrative of Sudanese nationalism, in accordance with which the significance of the conflict between the “two camps” (i.e., the polarization of the Sudanese elite between the “Mahdist” trend and the “unionist” trend) had been artificially overemphasized.

Similarly, Yoshiko Kurita’s works on the 1924 Revolution, such as the “Concept of ‘Nationalism’ in the White Flag League Movement” and ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf wa Thawra 1924 (‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf and the 1924 Revolution), might be regarded as another attempt to write the history of Sudanese nationalism “from below.” In these works, Kurita discusses how, in the course of the 1924 Revolution, the question of which of the condomini powers, namely Britain or Egypt, was entitled to represent the Sudanese people internationally was inextricably intertwined with the question of which kind of social forces were entitled to speak in the name of the Sudanese people internally, and points out that the social content of “Sudanese nationalism” was at stake as well. Through an analysis of the career and social background of ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf, a leading member of the revolution, Kurita suggests that, in the context of Sudanese political history, more attention should be paid to the relations between the question of class and that of “race” (which are expressed in the conditions of the people from marginalized areas, for example). In this context, Ahmad Alawad Sikainga’s Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan, a pioneering work on the hitherto ignored role of ex-slaves in the northern Sudan, is important, not only as a masterpiece in the field of social history, but also for examining the meaning of Sudanese nationalism from a different perspective. It might be rightly regarded as an attempt to introduce a “subaltern” point of view (i.e., a non-elitist perspective, the importance of which has been widely recognized in the recent development of postcolonial studies on nationalism) into the field of Sudanese studies.

Concerning the 1924 Revolution, Elena Vezzadini’s Lost Nationalism: Revolution, Memory & Anti-Colonial Resistance in Sudan, is the most recent achievement. Being the first full-fledged monograph on the subject ever published in English, and based on the extensive use of archival materials both from Britain and Sudan, it stresses and tries to rediscover the significance of this movement which has been largely underestimated. It examines the diverse backgrounds of those who participated in the movement, explores their mentality, and investigates the conflicting images about the revolution as well, providing a nuanced picture about the question of “memory” and the impact of “colonial gaze” on history writing.

As for the Arab-Muslim centrist aspect of “Sudanese nationalism” in the late 1920s and the 1930s, Heather Sharkey’s Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan provides an insightful analysis, paying an attention to the essentially colonial character of the Northern Sudanese elite who led this type of nationalism. Her argument is obviously inspired by the ideas presented by Benedict Anderson in his Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, thus introducing another postcolonial perspective into the study of nationalism in Sudan. The meaning of the sectarian tendency which began to characterize Sudanese nationalism has been examined by Afaf Abdel Majid’s Factional Conflict in the Sudanese Nationalist Movement.

The role of the “marginalized areas” in the national liberation struggle and their attitude towards the question of Sudanese nationalism have been discussed mainly by the intellectuals from these areas, in works such as Francis Mading Deng’s Dynamics of Identification: A Basis for National Integration in the Sudan and Philip Abbas’ “Growth of Black Political Consciousness in Northern Sudan.” The significance of anticolonial popular movements which took in the South, such as have been described by Douglas Johnson’s Nuer Prophets: A History of Prophecy from the Upper Nile in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, should be rightly examined in the context of the history of national liberation movement in Sudan.

Concerning the continuity between the anticolonial struggle and various types of democratic movements which unfolded in postcolonial Sudan, studies on the 1964 “October revolution” provide an interesting perspective. Thawra al-Sha ‘b (People’s Revolution), is an attempt at documentation of the event by the Sudanese Communist Party, emphasizing the role of such social groups as workers, peasants, students, and women. A critical analysis of Sudanese political history from the perspective of gender has been presented by Sondra Hale’s Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State.

As for the ideology of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which advocated a sort of Sudanese nationalism based on the aspirations of the marginalized areas, its Manifesto (1983) and John Garang Speaks (speeches of John Garang, the leader of the SPLM, edited by Mansour Khalid) are the essential literature. Douglas Johnson, in his The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars, examines the movements and aspirations of the marginalized areas which can not necessarily be reconciled with the idea of a united Sudan.

Primary Sources

The National Record Office (NRO) in Khartoum is in possession of the primary sources concerning the history of the Mahdist movement. Based on these documents, Muḥammad Ibrāhīm Abū Salīm, a prominent Sudanese historian, edited al-Āthār al-Kāmila li-l-Imām al-Mahdī (The Complete Works of al-Imam al-Mahdi) and al-Manshūrāt al-Mahdiyya (the Mahdist Proclamations). The primary sources concerning the 1924 Revolution are also in the possession of the NRO, where the records concerning the main events and persons in the 1924 Revolution are found in such files as “Civ.Sec.” (Civil Secretary), “Intel.” (Intelligence) and “Security.” The NRO possesses the memoirs of some politicians and activists who participated in the national liberation movement as well. As has been mentioned above, the Institute of African and Asian Studies, Khartoum University, carried out in the 1970s a series of interviews with those who took part in the 1924 Revolution and the subsequent political process, results of which have been published by the Institute.

Documents concerning the political situation in Egypt and Sudan are to be found in the National Archives (Kew, London) as well as, mainly in the “FO 371” files.

The Sudan Archive of Durham University (SAD) possesses private papers of some of the British officials who served in Sudan and were actively involved in colonial administration, such as Wingate Papers, Baily Papers, and Willis Papers.

Further Reading

Abbas, Philip. “Growth of Black Political Consciousness in Northern Sudan,” Africa Today 20.3 (1973).Find this resource:

Abdin, Hasan. Early Sudanese Nationalism 1919–1925. Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1985.Find this resource:

‘Abd al-Rahim, Muddathir. Imperialism and Nationalism in the Sudan: A Study in Constitutional and Political Development, 1899–1956. Oxford: Clarendon, 1969.Find this resource:

Abu Hasabu, Afaf Abdel Majid. Factional Conflict in the Sudanese Nationalist Movement, 1918–1948. Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1985.Find this resource:

Abū Salīm, Muḥammad Ibrāhīm. Manshūrat al-Mahdiyyā (Mahdist Proclamations). Beirut, Lebanon: 1969.Find this resource:

al-Qaddāl, Muḥammad Sa ‘īd. al-Imām al-Mahdī Muḥammad Aḥmad bn ‘Abd Allāh 1844–1885: Lawḥa li Thā’ir Sūdānī (Imām al-Mahdī Muḥamad Aḥmad, a Portrait of a Sudanese Revolutionary). Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1985.Find this resource:

al-Qaddāl, Muḥammad Sa ‘īd. al-Siyasa al- Iqtiṣādiyya li-l-Dawla al-Mahdiyya (The Economic Policy of the Mahdist State). Khartoum, Sudan: Dār Jāmiʻat al-Kharṭūm, 1986.Find this resource:

al-Qaddāl, Muḥammad Sa ‘īd. Ta’rīkh al-Sūdān al-Ḥadith 1820–1955 (Modern Sudanese History). Beirut, Lebanon: Sharika al-Amal li-l-Ṭibā ‘a wa al-Nashr, 1993.Find this resource:

Bakhīt, Ja’far Muḥamad ‘Alī. al-Idāra al-Bariṭāniyya wa al-Ḥaraka al-Waṭaniyya fī al-Sūdān 1919–1939 (British Administration and the Nationalist Movement in Sudan). Khartoum, Sudan: Makṭaba Khalīfa ‘Aṭiyya, 1972.Find this resource:

Beshir, Mohamed Omer. 1974. Revolution and Nationalism in the Sudan. London: R. Collings, 1974.Find this resource:

Daly, M. W. British Administration and the Northern Sudan, 1917–1924: The Governor-Generalship of Sir Lee Stack in the Sudan. Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, 1980.Find this resource:

Deng, Francis Mading. Dynamics of Identification: A Basis for National Integration in the Sudan. Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1973.Find this resource:

Diyāb, Aḥmad Ibrāhīm. Thawra 1924: Dirāsāt wa Waqā’i ‘ (1924 Revolution: Study and Facts). Khartoum, Sudan: Maktaba Ta’rīkh al-Sūdān al-Ḥadith wa al-Mu ‘āṣir, 1977.Find this resource:

Garang, John. John Garang Speaks. Edited by Mansour Khalid. London and New York: Kegan Paul International, 1987.Find this resource:

Hale, Sondra. Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1986.Find this resource:

Holt, P. M. The Mahdist State in the Sudan 1881–1898: A Study of Its Origins, Development, and Overthrow. 2d ed. Nairobi, Kenya: Oxford University Press, 1977.Find this resource:

Holt, P. M., and M. W. Daly. The History of Sudan from the Coming of Islam to the Present Day. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1979.Find this resource:

Kurita, Yoshiko. “The Concept of Nationalism in the White Flag Movement.” In The Nationalist Movement in the Sudan. Edited by Mahasin Abdelgadir Al-Safi, 14–62. Khartoum, Sudan: Institute of African and Asian Studies, University of Khartoum, 1989.Find this resource:

Kurita, Yoshiko. ‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf wa Thawra 1924: Baḥth fī Maṣādir al-Thawra al-Sūdāniyya(‘Alī ‘Abd al-Laṭīf and the 1924 Revolution: A Study in the Sources of the Sudanese Revolution). Cairo, Egypt: The Sudanese Studies Centre, 1997.Find this resource:

Kurita, Yoshiko. “The Role of ‘Negroid but Detribalized’ People in Modern Sudanese History.” Nilo-Ethiopian Studies 8–9 (2003), 1–11.Find this resource:

Johnson, Douglas H. Nuer Prophets: A History of Prophecy from the Upper Nile in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994.Find this resource:

Sharkey, Heather J. Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Sikainga, Ahmad Alawad. Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.Find this resource:

Vezzadini, Elena. Lost Nationalism: Revolution, Memory, and Anti-Colonial Resistance in Sudan. Woodbridge, U.K.: James Currey, 2015.Find this resource:

Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, Nationalism, and Communism in a Traditional Society: The Case of Sudan. London: Cass, 1978.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) Muḥammad ‘Alī, who assumed power in Egypt in 1805 and conquered Sudan in 1820–1821, was legally an Ottoman governor of Egypt, Egypt having remained a province of the Ottoman Empire throughout the 19th century. Muḥammad ‘Alī and his entourage themselves were an elite of foreign origin, their interests often contrasting with those of the Egyptian masses. Hence an “Ottoman-Egyptian” regime would be a suitable designation. As for the details of Ottoman-Egyptian rule in Sudan, see Richard Hill, Egypt in the Sudan 1820–1881 (London: Oxford University Press, 1959).

(2.) As for various rebellions and local uprisings, see Muḥammad Sa ‘īd al-Qaddāl, Ta’rīkh al-Sūdān al-Ḥadīth 1820–1955 (Beyrut, Lebanon: Sharika al-Amal li-l-Ṭibā ‘ wa al-Nashr, 1993).

(3.) As for the overall picture of this movement, see P.M. Holt, The Mahdist State in the Sudan 1881–1898: A Study of Its Origins, Development, and Overthrow, 2d ed. (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1977).

(4.) Concerning the concept of “Neo-Sufism” and its relevance in the case of Sudan, see the arguments by R.S O’Fahey, Enigmatic Saint: Ahmad Ibn Idris and the Idrisi Tradition (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1990); Ali Salih Karrar, The Sufi Brotherhoods in the Sudan (London: Hurst, 1992).

(5.) Muḥammad Ibrāhīm Abū Salīm (ed.), al-Āthār al-Kāmila li-Imām al-Mahdī(The Complete Works by Imām al-Mahdī), vol. 1, 3rd imp.(Khartum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1990), 180–181.

(6.) Concerning the experiences of the South under the Ottoman-Egyptian rule, see Richard Gray, A History of the Southern Sudan 1839–1889 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961). As for the situation in the Nuba Mountains, see Janet J. Evald, Soldiers, Traders, and Slaves: State Formation and Economic Transformation in the Greater Nile Valley, 1700–1885 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990) and Endre Stiansen and Michael Kevane, eds., Kordofan Invaded: Peripheral Incorporation and Social Transformation in Islamic Africa (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1998). As for Dar Fur, which retained its independence until as late as 1874, and its experiences under the Ottoman-Egyptian rule and the Mahdist state, see R.S. O’Fahey, State and Society in Dar Fur (London: C. Hurst, 1980) and Mūsā Mubārak al-Ḥasan, Ta’rīkh Dār Fūr al-Siyāsī (The Political History of Dar Fur), (Khartoum, Sudan: Dār al-Kharṭum li-l-Ṭiba ‘ a wa al-Nashr, 1995). Concerning the relations between the policy of the Mahdist leadership and the interests of the rising jallaba (merchant) class, who aspired for a united national market, see Muḥammad Sa ‘īd al-Qaddāl, al-Siyasā al- Iqtiṣādiyya li-l-Dawla al-Mahdiyya (Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1986).

(7.) Na ‘ūm Shuqayr, Ta’rikh al-Sudan (History of Sudan), ed. Muḥammad Ibrāhīm Abū Salīm (Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Jīl, 1981), 411.

(8.) Francis Mading Deng, Dynamics of Identification: A Basis for National Integration in the Sudan (Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1973), 28.

(9.) As for the nature of the ‘Urabist revolution in Egypt, see Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt, 2d ed. (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1907).

(10.) The case of Aḥmad al-Awwām, a former ‘Urabist, is well-known. See Mohammed Omer Bashir, ‘Nasihat al-Awam’, in Sudan Notes and Records 41 (1960), 59–65.

(11.) Mohamed Omer Beshir, Revolution and Nationalism in the Sudan (London: R. Collings, 1974), 62–101. Muddathir ‘Abd al-Rahim, Imperialism and Nationalism in the Sudan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 94–108.

(12.) As for detailed analyses of the events, see Ja’far Muḥamad ‘Alī Bakhīt, al-Idāra al-Bariṭāniyya wa al-Ḥaraka al-Waṭaniyya fi al-Sūdān 1919–1939, (Khartoum, Sudan: Maktaba Khalīfa ‘Aṭiyya, 1972); Aḥmad Ibrāhīm Diyāb, Thawra 1924 (Khartum, Sudan: Maktaba Ta’rīkh al-Sūdūn al-Ḥadīth wa al-Mu ‘aṣīr, 1977); and M.W. Daly, British Administration and the Northern Sudan, 1917–1924: The Governor-Generalship of Sir Lee Stack in the Sudan (Istanbul: Nederlands historisch-archaeologisch instituut, 1980), 100–133. Sending telegrams and collecting signatures for the petitions constituted an important part of the revolution. For detailed accounts and analyses of these activities, see Elena Vezzadini, Lost Nationalism: Revolution, Memory & Anti-Colonial Resistance in Sudan (Woodbridge, UK: James Curry, 2015).

(13.) Concerning the political and ideological context in which the concept of the “Sudanese nation” emerged, see Yoshiko Kurita, ‘The Concept of Nationalism in the White Flag Movement’ in The Nationalist Movement in the Sudan, ed. Mahasin Abdelgadir Al-Safi (Khartoum, Sudan: Institute of African and Asian Studies, Khartoum University, 1989), 14–62.

(14.) Ḥasan Najīla, Malāmiḥ min al-Mujtama‘ al-Sūdānī, 4th ed. (Khartum, Sudan: al-Dār al-Sūdāniyya li-l-Kutub, 1972), 122.

(15.) Concerning the condition of the “ex-slaves”, see Ahmad Alawad Sikainga, Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996). See also Yoshiko Kurita, “The Role of ‘Negroid but Detribalized’ People in Modern Sudanese History,” Nilo-Ethiopian Studies, 2003, no. 8–9 (2003): 1–11.

(16.) Yoshiko Kurita, ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Latif wa Thawra 1924 (Cairo, Egypt: The Sudanese Studies Centre 1997).

(17.) Daly, British Administration and the Northern Sudan, 1917–1924, 153–163.

(18.) Concerning the significance of Native Administration, see M. W. Daly, Empire on the Nile: The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1898–1934 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 360–379; Abd-al Ghaffar Muhammed Ahmad, Shaykhs and Followers: Political Struggle in the Rufa ‘a al-Hoi Nazirate in the Sudan (Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press, 1974); and Abbas Ahmed Mohamed, White Nile Arabs: Political Leadership and Economic Change (Totowa, NJ: Humanities Press, 1980).

(19.) Beshir, Revolution and Nationalism in the Sudan, 139–152. An analysis of the so-called “Neo-Mahdism” from a more favorable viewpoint is found in Hasan Ahmad Ibrahim, “The Role of Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi in the Sudanese National Movement 1908–1956,” in The Nationalist Movement in Sudan, ed. Mahasin Abdelgadir Al-Safi (Khartoum, Sudan: Institute of African and Asian Studies, Khartoum University, 1989), 171–201. See also al-Ṣādiq al-Mahdī, ed., Jihād fī Sabīl al-Istiqlāl (Jihad for the Sake of Independence) (Khartoum, Sudan: al-Maṭba’a al-Ḥukūma, n.d.).

(20.) See Mohamed Omer Beshir, The Southern Sudan: Background to Conflict (London: Hurst, 1968).

(21.) Aḥmad Ibrāhīm Diyāb, Taṭawwur al-Ḥaraka al-Waṭaniyya fī al-Sūdān 1938–1953(The Development of Nationalist Movement in Sudan) (Baghdad, Iraq: Ma ‘had al-Buḥūth wa al-Dirāsāt al-‘Arabiyya, 1984) is a detailed account of the Graduates’ Congress. Memoirs written by prominent members of the Congress, such as Aḥmad Khayr, Kifāḥ Jīl: Ta’rīkh Ḥaraka al-Khirrījīn wa Taṭawwuruhā fī al-Sūdān (The Struggle of a Generation: The History of the Gradutes’ Movement in Sudan) (Khartum, Sudan: al-Dār al-Sūdāniyya, 1970) and Khiḍr Ḥamad, Mudhakkirāt Khiḍr Ḥamad (Khartoum, Sudan: n.p., 1980), are informative.

(22.) Afaf Abdel Majid Abu Hasabu, Factional Conflict in the Sudanese Nationalist Movement, 1918–1948 (Khartoum, Sudan: University of Khartoum Press, 1985). Concerning the Arab-Muslim centrist nature of Sudanese nationalism advocated by the Northern Sudanese elite, see Heather J. Sharkey, Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

(23.) As for the development of Sudanese nationalism during this period, which became increasingly addressed within the framework of the dichotomy between the “two camps”, see Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Nationalism, and Communism in a Traditional Society: The Case of Sudan (London: Taylor and Francis, 1978); and Gabriel Warburg, Historical Discord in the Nile Valley (London: Hurst, 1992).

(24.) The “unionist” camp included such political parties as al-Ashiqqā’, Ḥizb al-Ittiḥādiyīn (Party of the Unionists), Ḥizb al-Aḥrar al-Ittiḥādiyīn (Party of the Free Unionists), and Ḥizb al-Waḥda al-Wādī al-Nīl (Party of the Unity of the Nile Valley). These parties were later unified in 1952 as the National Unionist Party (al-Ḥizb al-Waṭani al-Ittiḥādī). As for the details, see Diyāb, Taṭawwur al-Ḥaraka al-Waṭaniyya fī al-Sūdān. Concerning the establishment of the Umma Party and its role in Sudanese politics, see James Robertson, Transition in Africa: From Direct Rule to Independence, A Memoir by Sir James Robertson (London: C. Hurst, 1974).

(25.) Concerning the resurgence of anticolonial popular movements in the region (especially in Egypt after 1946), see Ṭarīq al-Bishrī, al-Ḥaraka al-Siyāsiyya fi Miṣr 1945–1952 (Political Movement in Egypt), 2d ed. (Beirut: Dār al-Shuruq, 1983). As for the details of political process which eventually led to the independence of Sudan, see Beshir, Revolution and Nationalism in the Sudan, 166–201.

(26.) Fatima Babiker Mahmoud, The Sudanese Bourgeoisie: Vanguard of Development? (London: Zed,1984). An overview of economic and political structure of the contemporary Sudanese state is to be found in Tim Niblock, Class and Power in Sudan: The Dynamics of Sudanese Politics, 1898–1985 (London: Macmillan, 1987).

(27.) Concerning the Sudanese October Revolution and the SCP, see Ḥizb al-Shūyū ‘ī al-Sūdānī, Thawra al-Sha ‘b (People’s Revolution) (Cairo, Egypt, 1965).

(28.) Concerning the experiences of the marginalized areas in the Sudanese state and their attitude towards the increasingly “Arab-Muslim centrist” of the northern Sudanese elite, see Joseph Oduho and William Deng, The Problem of the Southern Sudan (London: Oxford University Press, 1963); Atta El Hassan El Battahani, “National and Peasant Politics in the Nuba Mountains Region of Sudan, 1924–1966” (PhD diss., University of Sussex, 1986); Gerard Prunier, Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide (London: Hurst, 2005); and M.W. Daly, Darfur’s Sorrow: The Forgotten History of a Humanitarian Disaster (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007). As for the program of the SPLM, see Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, Manifesto (n.p., 1983); John Garang, John Garang Speaks, ed. Mansour Khalid (London: Kegan Paul, 1987). As an example of how the vision of the “New Sudan”, originally advocated by the SPLM, was welcomed and shared by the democratic forces in the North as well, see National Democratic Alliance, Conference on Fundamental Issues: Final Communique, Asmara, Jun., 1995,.

(29.) This was in spite of the differences in the degree of commitment, which naturally existed even within the leadership of the SPLM, to the idea of a united Sudan, which in turn led to the split between the “SPLM-mainstream” (headed by John Garang) and the “SLPM al-Nasir” (headed by Riek Machar) in 1991, though they were reunited in 2002. For detailed analyses of conflicting views and attitudes inside the SPLM, see Douglas H. Johnson, The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars (Oxford: James Currey, 2003).