The Dinka Peace Dance:Painting by Dr Taha H Malasi

Dink Peace Dance

A painting about the Dinka tribal Dance. Painted first time 1975 in Princess Marina House, Maudsley Hospital, London


The Dinka Peace Dance:Painting by Dr Taha H Malasi

The Dinka is one of the biggest tribes in Africa, about 3 Million. I worked in Rumbeik, Bahar Al Gahzal Province in the South of The Sudan between 1970-1972 . At the time a peace agreement was signed between ‘The Anyania rebel’  movement and the north. This didn’t last and the war continue even when I was working there although it was not so intense.

This painting reflect my impression and my joy working in Rumbeik, for the Dink people as a medical officer’ , running the big ‘supposedly’  300 bedded hospital i.e. ( Virtual Beds)except  one or two broken one. There was no electricity, running water etc, although we had one generators, ‘some times’ can be connected to the surgical theatre, to light one bar of neon lamb to operate the surgical theatre by night for emergencies.

I visit Sudan on 21.12.2010. my heart was heavy and sad as the braking up of Sudan was imminent. My mind goes back in  History remembering how and when the real break-up was engineered. A refrendum 0n the 9th of January 2011 finally end the unity of Sudan. This make me very sad as I lived and worked in the South and loved its people. However I support what ever the Southerners chose.

Divide and Rule:A Brief History of the Conflict between the South and the North:

Divide and Rule: A Brief History of the Conflict between the South and the North: 

The British ruled Sudan from 1895-1956 when they first invaded and occupied the country. In 1927 they introduced the Closed Areas Law, effectively separating the South from the North. They introduced measures to create psychological, economic, religious  and ethnic boundaries. The objective was to sever the south and join it to East African countries, Kenya and Uganda.

European as well as British Empires start to disintegrate after they 2end world war. However relinquishing their precious colonies was hard and done grudgingly under the struggle for freedom everywhere. Playing the race & religious & discrimination card to divide and rule used in every country with terrible effects. However history tells us how imperialism works in the interest of imperialist countries, it doesn’t matter as long as others pay the price.

Effectively the South of Sudan was ruled separately until the independence 1956. However The South was left  totally underdeveloped with no infrastructure, no education, no roads, no electricity or running water etc. The economy of the southern people totally depends on cows, it is the wealth and pride of the people. Social status, marriage and all relationship revolved around cows.

Missionaries mainly the church of England and Catholics dominated the South to convert its people to Christianity. Islamic religions as well as northern cultural values, customs even cloth was forbidden. People remains naked till the day of independence. Off course few of those converted to Christianity were well educated and groomed to be the leader of the rebellion and eventually the leaders of the new South Sudan.

Sudan became independent 1956, the (rebellion) in the south that started the war was in 1955 one year before Sudans independence!? However, the rational for separation and the war became the raison d’être.  The poverty and economic disparity and Isolation that deliberately created between the North and South and the into religious, economic & ethnic separation. The war continued for over 55 years with blood spilt from both sides.

The North was comparatively developed, partly by the Ottomans , the Egyptians and the British.  Also partly because North Sudan was one of the largest and best place in the world to produce high quality cotton for the Yorkshire textile industry. Worse still the big disparities that created by Colonialism then used justify the war war and the split of The Sudan.

All what we hope for is peace for both South and North

My Experience working in the South of Sudan 1970-1972:

The Accident?

I took a small Airplane from Khartoum to Malkal the Capital of (Upper Nile) inhabited mainly by the Shuluk tribe. On landing the airplane wheels of the plane hit the ground slightly side way, but landed safely and no one thought something about it. We spend few hours in Malakal and met many doctor friend  and visit the hospital. After the plane left the Air Port we s realised that the airplane  was going in circles for no apparent reason. On questioning. it appear that, because of the rough landing the wheels was slightly twisted and would not retract into its socket!? . Any way after few scary trials this was managed and we continue our Journey to Waw the Capital of Bahr El Gazzel.

On arrival I met my cousin Osman Hussein Malasi and his wifeZubaand stayed with them for few days. I was told that the the convoy to Rumbeik has to be accompanied by the police or the Army because of the rebellion. On the day of travelling I met a Short plumb jovial old man who introduced himself as (Al Hag Abu Jabr hag Ajbar)The Inspector of lake district (RumbeikGoverner) . He was very pleasant and invited to me to stay with im in his house. He told it is traditional that most all doctors work in Rumbek stays with him as he has a big house, he is bachelor, and feel lonely on his own! I immediately accepted reflecting on my experience in Rigle Alfula.

The Convoy accompanied by the Army is about 50 cars . Merchant from Rumbeik  loaded with Goods , officials , sultans etc. It was the rainy season and needless to say we got stuck many times. We arrived in Tong and tong is a small city lies between Waw and Rumbeik. We stayed with inspector of Tong and I visited Dr George Habib, who was working there , I was surprised to discovered that he has two cute baby leopard in his house. Dr George was a friend and a colleague from the secondary school. He was a mathematical genus, at least compared to me!?


The next day we travelled to Rumbeikand  arrived in the evening . With breaking few times and getting stuck in the mud for few hours eventually arrived to Rumbeik. One funny incidenthat make us laugh. A Shop keeper named Albirair, who was advised to stay within the convoy for safety reason insist and decided to leave the convoy and drive to Rumbeik as fast as he can.Unfortunately for himhe hit with his car an African bee hive that was lurking in one of the trees and upset them. The Angry bees  savagely attacked him and his friend in the lorry .

I was awaken for breakfast and told that hospital driver brought my (Car-a lorry ) to take me to the hospital.When I finished breakfast the driver invite me to sit to take me to hospital but I told him I am going to drive! The problem is that I did not have a licence and never drove a car in my life, but I thought it is OK to drive in that remote place. He did not have any option, as I was the boss. From that day the people of Rumbeik learn to hide away and leave the road empty when the doctor is driving as my driving was atrocious and dangerous!?

The Naked Truth: 

My first trip has more than one reason for The atrocious and dangerous driving than just my experience or ability. Just as I was approaching the hospital suddenly noticed a naked young women standing in the middle of the road and waving to me,  I was shocked! I was told that most young women dress modestly like that but to see it it need some using!? In time I got used to it.

Handing The Hospital:

I met the doctor that I replaced briefly , and he left rumbek the next day by the returning Convoy (Toaf). Soon I was  immersedin the politics of the hospital and the city. All the so called nurse were from the Dinka tribe , non of them was qualified nurse. I had 2 (Medical Assistant) one Dinka named Mika Paul and the other is Jour tribe and his name is peter.

Benjamin was the accountant from the Jour tribe, he is a sutble and a bit crafty man ready to sirr trouble if can . Elise , the surgical theater assistant a plumb short, and extremely and really jovial chap from the Zandi tribe. He was the extremely efficent in his work. His job is to prepare the Surgical theater properly for any operation sterelise instruments and keep the theatre clean and ready for any emegency.


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