Whenever I saw a new Indian face in Khartoum I used to greet him and include him in my mailing list of ‘Indians in Sudan’. This helped me to build a good networking with the Indian community, be it in Omdurman, Khartoum, Kassala, and Port Sudan. Now that I’m back in Bengaluru, India I have noticed a few Sudanese students in my neighbourhood. Met Fuad in the morning on a Sunday at the market. We both were buying vegetables. He was surprised to hear me speak Arabic with a Sudanese dialect and was amazed to know that I had spent 15 years in his motherland.
“William Shakespeare is UK’s greatest poet even after 400 years. Shakespeare is not commercial but is about culture, people and humanity” said Charles Nuttall OBE Director of British Council, Sudan. This was at the Horn of Africa Sonnets Festival organized by British Council and the Ministry of Culture. The event held at Corinthia Hotel on Saturday 30th April at 8 pm, presented Sonnets of Africa featuring Dan Tsu of Lyrix Organix; Dan Boyden of The Change Collective and Deanna Rodger actor and spoken word poet from London. The anchor Mustafa Khogali aptly named the visiting British team as ‘4Ds’ including David Fitzpatrick who has been documenting the workshop and the final event.
The evening opened with the recitation by Mr. Charles Nuttall “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” one of the most famous soliloquies in Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth. This was followed by Dan Tsu’s self-composed poem ‘I have a dream’ and others. Deanna Rodger’s ‘Being British’ was received with a loud round of applause from the selectively invited audience.
Dan Tsu, Deanna Rodgers and Dan Boyden had conducted a week long workshop with the young poets and singers from Sudan, Ethiopia and South Sudan. At the final event, the African voices came across in sonnets and songs with the background beat of Sudan Drums. Their performances were well appreciated and made us feel proud of the talents in the Horn of Africa. The theme in African voices challenged racial discrimination. Shakespeare in his sonnets referred to the fair youth and the dark lady .It is often argued that Othello, the moor of Venice, was someone from North Africa. If Shakespeare was reborn today, would it be in Africa? To be or not to be, that is the question.