Is colonialism really over? A question asked many times by the Southern Sudanese and other marginzalied ethnic groups. Officially, Sudan is no longer Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, but it is still a colony. A colony of the Arabized Northerners.
The colour of the colonial masters is different, but their actions are not.
Our new masters speak Arabic, practice Islam and read Naguib Mahfouz. They wear the toub and look down on "tribal" languages and custom.
My father learned the Arabic language at the age of 7. Before that, he lived with his grandmother in a village in Nubian-sudan and spoke Nubian.
Then came the move to Port Sudan. His father was working there at the time, so he left his village to join them. School was difficult, it was in another language. You couldn't speak a language other than the Arabic language there. If you break the rule, teachers beat you.
You are abused into learning a language.
He never taught me Nubian though. We always spoke Arabic at home.
I grew up believing it was for my own good. I lived in the Middle East most of my life and speaking Arabic made me less of an outsider there.
The official language of the Sudan is Arabic or so they tell us. There are currently 142 langauges spoken in the Sudan. Eight are extinct.
In the future, the Nubian language is going to be extinct too. I don't speak it , I can't pass it on to the next generation. Most Nubians my age don't speak it.
Language represents a big part of culture. If you speak a certain language, you start reading books in it, listening to music in this language and so on. Your cultural entity becomes unidenitifed.
I don't speak Nubian. I don't like listening to music in the Nubian language, it sounds weird. When I visit the ancient pyramids and monuments built by my ancestors, I wouldn't be able to understand what's written on them.