Some Impacts of the Civil War on El Kurru – Narrating Nubia: The Social Lives of Heritage

Some Impacts of the Civil War on El Kurru

Collaborator Ibrahim Sidahmed shares in his own words how the ongoing conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia has impacted daily life in the village of El-Kurru and countless other villages and small towns throughout Sudan.

Since the war broke out in April, 15th between SAF and RSF in Khartoum and Merowe simultaneously (and then all over Sudan after that), millions of people have been displaced internally and hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries. Like other villages in Sudan, El-Kurru has been affected too by the war, mainly by the arrival of many refugees coming to stay with family. Now the village has more people living in it than any time ever.

There are good sides and downsides of all the refugees arriving in El-Kurru. It’s good that some people have come to El-Kurru for the first time in their life and it’s really interesting how their kids are exploring around as if it is such a wild place for adventures. Furthermore, the community has also come together to support each other emotionally and financially by conducting a musical party where the singers were from El-Kurru (image above) and then a weekly breakfast every Tuesday in one of the “Khalwa/s” (1) in the northern part of El-Kurru – where the archaeological site is. Also, some local organizations are collecting money to assist families in need. In addition to that, people (including my family) have started growing vegetables to help with daily life expenses. Moreover, people have also started reconstructing their old houses that had been in ruins for years so they would be available for future visits.

A Tuesday morning in El-Kurru.


On the other hand, there are downsides of this crowdedness such as not enough privacy since lots of people have to share a small place — some houses have over 30 people. Another is that there is not enough of some goods and the providers can not cover the consumption such as bread and milk. People have to find alternatives like “gurrasa” (2) instead of bread and goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or powdered milk instead of cow’s milk. One last thing that is annoying to the local community is that the girls who are coming from Khartoum would go every day to sit by the pyramid searching for a good internet connection and this is totally new to people in El-Kurru since this place is mostly occupied by the young guys who would go for the same reason. This is normally not allowed in the local community (like in most of the rural areas in Sudan).

New okra crops growing along the bank of the Nile. Recently, El-Kurru has been dealing with near daily sandstorms.

Generally, this war has created chaos in many places in Sudan, especially Khartoum and the western parts, and it forced people to leave their
homes to stay with their families in other safe states, stay in refugees’ camps, or even leave the entire country. So far, El-Kurru is one of the
safest places in Sudan right now as it was always and insha’allah it will always be.

(1) Khalwa: is a place like any house in rural areas and can be found in every neighborhood where the people gather at to pray, have Ramadan breakfast, conduct community gatherings.
(2) Gurrasa: a large wheat pancake cooked on a metal griddle that is eaten with a variety of sauces like meat, okra, or dates. It’s the most common traditional meal in the northern part of Sudan.

Ibrahim Sidahmed is a team member of the International El Kurru Archaeological Project and one of the managers for the El-Kurru Heritage Center.

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