In the deep heart of Sudan, the Nuba of Kordofan are one of these ethnic peoples. The atrocities inflicted on them by genocidal neighbours has been well documented. Attempt to wipe out the Nuba name and culture in which hundreds of thousands men, women and children were killed or removed forcibly from their historic lands. Thousands were driven into exile overseas so that there is now Nuba diaspora in many countries. These together with surviving Nuba within the Nuba Mountains, have got one commanding purpose, namely to restore and strengthen the Nuba nation. History reminds us that attempts to destroy cultures have in the end, an opposite effect. A benefit, if benefit can ever come out of tragedy, is the creation of a new widely experienced and travelled Nuba, who have shown to the world and indeed to themselves, a depth of talent in education and professional fields which, when added to their famous courage , makes them a people for the future. They arise out of a unique and ancient culture which has been the cement which bound them together in the face of slavery and of war.

Their culture is well worth pausing to consider. They have no hierarchy of tribal chiefs. They are people of equality in which an early form of democracy is apparent. In part, this accounts for them being victims to the ‘gun’ and the slaver throughout the years. Although historically brave (remember their contribution in the world wars 1 and 2) they are not war like. They are markedly different from the peoples who surround them. There is immense wealth of soil minerals and oil in Nuba Mountains: so they become people to remove and destroy.

There are other notable characteristics of the Nuba – they are an unusually tolerant and hospitable people. It may be that they are in addition, a forgiving people. In any case a form of peace is already proclaimed within the Nuba Mountain, which may be a precursor for peace in the whole Sudan. People are now slowly returning to the Nuba Mountains to encourage and support those who are left.

The peacemakers who are presently earnestly engaged in trying to end the war must also assure that the ultimate settlement provides for equality for all people in terms of rule of law and of justice.

These shall not be lasting peace until all of Sudanese peoples have representation in the nation’s councils. A certain ‘weather-vane’ with regard to this renewed Sudan will easily be seen in the role and the rights allotted to the Nuba of Kordofan. The peacemakers, indeed the entire world (certainly the nations where the Nuba spent their exile) must carefully watch this future role because that will point to the direction of Sudan’s future.

As already said, the Sudan is a country of untold wealth, enough and more for all its people. Just as the South African Republic is a power house for southern Africa, equally the Sudan has similar potential for the entire continent.

There remains only that most difficult of possible achievements: successful peacemaking in Sudan: then, the exciting process of renewal will follow. The Nuba of Kordofan are poised to be active in that renewal. There are however many Sudanese who, reading the above, will feel frustrated because of the enormity of the difficulties ahead. For example, will the present Khartoum regime ever accept equal rights covering not only Arab peoples, but the many others. It is remarkable that these several peoples appear to want to keep the Sudan as one united country. Most certainly that has to be the future for this one day great country: it is also what Africa needs.

There can be no another way if lasting peace is to come. The world must watch, wait and witness, because the outcome will affect everyone, and not just in Africa!

Ian Mackie