Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Dancing to the last beats of a united Sudan

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Half way through the evening you felt this is what a united Sudan could have been like.

It was an engagement party thrown by a beaming, white-robed Khartoum patriarch with pulsing music provided by Orupaap, a group of mostly southern musicians and dancers.

The band was barely into its third song when the northern, southern and foreign guests swarmed on to the stage raising their arms and clicking their fingers in one of the few African dances easily mastered by awkward middle class Englishmen.

“Where is the band from,” I shouted at the host above the amplified music. “I think the musicians are Shilluk,” he replied, referring to a group with its heartlands around the southern city of Malakal. “They’re from here in Khartoum.”

Ugandan president is hip-hop hit

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The track starts with a soulful “well, well” as a hip-hop beat rises in intensity. “Do you want another rap?” the same deep voice then says in perfect time. “You want another rap?”

But this is no ordinary rapper. This is, believe it or not, 66-year-old Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, previously better known for rebellion than for rhyming.

War child sings songs of peace

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“When you see a Sudanese walking on the street there is a story,” child soldier turned hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal says.

That’s certainly true for Jal. He was sent to fight for Sudan People’s Liberation Army when he was just six years old.

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