The production team for this episode are:

Research and Producer: Mai Abusalih

Presenter: Azza Mohamed

Script: Husam Hilali and Mai Abusalih

Music: Zain Records

Narration and audio mixing: Tariq Suliman

Project Manager: Zainab Gaafar

Equipment and technical assistance: elMastaba TV

Recording studio: Rift Digital Lab

Poster design: Azza Mohamed

Memorialization within the Deathscapes of Khartoum

Author: Mai Abusalih

Spaces of death are vital parts of the city, as every human culture has developed different funerary expressions that correspond with local beliefs and values, offering a deep insight into these cultures. These spaces’ importance, however, remains largely obscured from general discourse as they are often pushed to the periphery and are given little thought and reflection.

In this essay, we are interested in examining cemeteries in Khartoum, as well as other spaces of death in the city beyond them to understand the roles they play apart from burial. Therefore, in order to set the parameters of what can be considered as “space” of death and how it relates to the city, the term “Deathscape” will be used as a framework. The term itself is fairly recent and has been adopted by scholars “to invoke both the places associated with death and for the dead, and how these are imbued with meanings and associations: the site of a funeral, and the places of final disposition and of remembrance, and representations of all these.1 Adopting this lens while examining the relationships and overlaps between the living and the dead allows us to see the city in different ways, since “not only are those places often emotionally fraught, they are frequently the subjects of social contest and power.”2

To uncover these relationships, three types of deathscapes in Khartoum will be examined: the domed shrines of Sufi saints, cemeteries, and monuments and memorials in the city. Each type will allow us to view the influence of deathscapes across different scales: the building, the landscape, and the object. By viewing the history of these types and the nature of the realms they inhabit –whether spiritual and/or civic,– this essay argues that deathscapes have the ability to act as physical archives that preserve the history of the city by the accumulation of the stories attached to them. Through this process, spaces of the dead have intersected with spaces of the living and become contested sites where the socio-political relations in the city playout. The area of Central Khartoum, for example, sits on top of an old burial site that was closed down and built over in the early 20th century, with little traces of the old cemetery remaining. A few blocks away, the site also witnessed deaths from various battles of Sudanese resistance against the Turco-Egyptian and Anglo-Egyptian colonial rules. In addition, the area witnessed the violent deaths from the 1964 and 1985 national revolutions, and in more recent history, the massacre of the sit-in at army headquarters in June 2019. These various political events took place within the vicinity of Central Khartoum due to their relationship to the seat of power in the country, therefore, the deaths from these events distinguish the location from others in the capital.

By looking at the influence of deathscapes in Khartoum through the various types that we will examine, this essay tries to understand the relationship between death, remembrance, and memorialization in the city to reveal who and what is being memorialized and what history tells us about the state of memorialization in Khartoum.

Domed shrines and the power of architectural influence:

The discussion on deathscapes of Khartoum cannot begin without recognizing one of the most important and influential architectural and archeological deathscapes that have had a deep influence on Sudanese society; the Domed shrines or Qubbas which are burial places of Sufi holy men (awliya).

For the past five centuries, qubbas have defined the skyline along the banks of the Nile as prominent landmarks within the villages and towns in the central, northern, and eastern regions of Sudan. They seem to have emerged with the first Islamic dynasties in Sudan, the Abdullab and the Funj, between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.3 Throughout the following centuries, the practice of building and maintaining these qubbas has remained rooted within Sudanese society, as they are viewed as sacred “objects of visitation and places of personal supplication and collective remembrance, centers of religious life in its spiritual and social aspects.”4

The area of Khartoum witnessed a concentration of Sufi holy men since it’s early beginnings. Shaykh Arbab AlA’gayed –who was born in Tuti Island– founded the first inhabited village in the area of Khartoum in 1691 that became a destination for many followers and students of his.5 Also, the Funj and Abdullab’s policies ensured that Sufi shuyoukh were granted land and exempted from taxes in order to free them to continue their religious teachings.6 This was how Shaykh Hamad wad Um Maryum and Shaykh Khojali came to reside in current-day Bahri, and Shaykh Idris wad AlArbab in Al-Aylafoon, among many others.7 Therefore, the growth of the Khartoum area can certainly be tied to the settlement and religious activity of these holy men.

The powers of the shuyookh –referred to as karamat– are considered blessings from God which transcend even death, rendering the shuyoukh’s gravesites as powerful places that are vital for the community.8 Because of that, some qubbas and tombs are known for curing various illnesses, while others are famous for aiding women with fertility, in addition to other powers linked to the sheikh prior to his death.9 It is a belief so rooted in Sudanese society, with the names of Awliya immediately springing to followers’ lips in times of illness, distress, and danger; motivating pilgrimages to their “resting” places in request for blessings (barakat).10 Qubbas are most likely to remain active destinations for pilgrimage when associated with khalwas and masids; the religious centers of Sufi orders (turuq) that act as institutions of religious worship, teaching, and instruction.11

The strong relationship between awliyas and the community is the reason why qubbas can usually be found close to or within a cemetery, surrounded by the graves of their relatives and disciples. These cemeteries offer an interesting intersection between life and death, as they are places full of activity where religious celebrations are continuously being performed. The qubba of Shaykh Hamad El-Nil in Omdurman, for example, is one of the most important touristic destinations in the capital and it holds the “Noba” every Friday, a public ritual for Dhikr that begins with a procession across the cemetery which then transforms into a gathering where recitation, singing, and dancing take place.12 Numerous other celebrations are held there regularly as well, such as the Holiya; the anniversary of the death of the shaykh, and the Mulid; the birth date of the Prophet.

Weekly Celebration at Hamad ElNil Qubba in Omdurman

The Sudanese archeologist, Intisar Soghayroun, notes that the origins of the architecture of qubbas of Sufi holy men in Sudan differ from its counterparts in the Islamic world, as it was derived from local pre-Islamic architecture, such as Kushite pyramids as well as the rounded structures of conical huts of Shilluk and Nuer tribes of South Sudan.13 Also, she adds that the red bricks used to build many of the Funj-era qubbas were taken from the ruins of the Christian churches and domestic architecture of Alodia, concluding that “pagan, Christain and Islamic elements blended to the benefit of Islam.”14 The architecture of Funj-era qubbas, however, was greatly impacted by the invasion of the Turks in 1821, as the Turko-Egyptian administration introduced the new style of a square base under the qubbas.15

Beehive tombs from Funj-era found in Muslim cemetery at Old Dongola.16

In downtown Khartoum east of the intersection of Baladiya and Al-Qasr Avenues stand two of the last remnants of the Turco-Egyptian rule in Khartoum, known as the Turkish Qubbas. These funerary structures were erected within the Old Khartoum Cemetery, the main burial ground of the city at the time.17 Similar to the domed shrines of holy men in Sudan, the Turkish qubbas were surrounded by a cemetery, but instead of devotees and believers, it contained a number of subsidiary graves among which are native Sudanese soldiers who were recruited into the Turko-Egyptian army.18

The eastern qubba was the first to be established for the burial of Ahmed Pasha Abu Adhan, Governor-General of the Sudan from 1839 to 1843.19 Ahmed Pasha died in 1843 under mysterious circumstances after his mission to raid Darfur was called-off at the last minute due to the rising suspicion of the ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali that Ahmed Pasha engaged in treasonous activities.20 The western qubba contains the remains of Musa Pasha Hamdi, who also became Governor-General of the Sudan from 1862 to 1865.21 However, Musa Hamdi was known for his cunning and ruthlessness which he employed to rise through the ranks and he had a reputation that “Murder and torture were no more to him than pastimes.”22 Musa Hamdi’s rule ended when he passed away in Khartoum in 1865 from smallpox.

Turkish qubbas and cemetery in Khartoum.23

In the following decades, the Turco-Egyptian rule was overthrown by the Mahdists in 1885 and Khartoum –the old capital of the Turks– was dismantled and destroyed to allow for Omdurman –the capital of Mahdist state– to rise.24 How then have these two qubbas managed to survive the wrath of Mahdists and the erasure of Khartoum while containing the remains of the hated Turko-Egyptian administration? The qubbas evasion to destruction is even more noteworthy when considering that Mahdists had no qualms about destroying qubbas of Sufi holy men, as the qubba of Al-Hassan Al-Mirghani in Kassala, for example, was destroyed by Osman Digna because of the Khatmiyya order’s opposition to Mahdism.25

The reason could surprisingly have to do with the most prominent symbol of the Mahdist state, the qubba of the Mahdi himself. There’s a structural similarity between the Turkish qubbas and the Mahdi qubba in Omdurman evident in the square base below the qubba, and it is suggested that the Turkish qubbas were used as architectural models for the tomb of Al-Mahdi who died shortly after the liberation of Khartoum from the Turks.26 The Turko-Egyptian influence in the construction of the Mahdi’s qubba exceeded that, since the Abdullah Khalifa of the Mahdi assigned the Egyptian architect, Ismail Hassan, to build the qubba and also utilized the doors and windows seized from the buildings of Turkish Khartoum to erect the qubba.27 Ironically, the greatest symbol of Mahdism would come to be heavily influenced by the architecture of the regime which it fought against.

For the duration of the Mahdist state, the qubba of the Mahdi soared over 100 feet high and was the most prominent icon of the city.28 Through building this magnificent qubba unlike any other in Sudan at the time, the power of the figure of the Mahdi continued and expanded beyond his death, as his tomb became a symbol and a site of pilgrimage that followers of the Mahdi from all around the country travelled to in request for blessings.29

The British were quite aware of the power of this symbol when they marched towards Omdurman in 1898 for the reconquest of Sudan. Slatin, the former Governor-General of Darfur during the Turco-Egyptian administration, accompanied the Sudan campaigns (1896-1898) and insisted that the first target in Omdurman should be the qubba of the Mahdi.30 Having been a captive of the Mahdists for thirteen years, Slatin personally witnessed the importance and sanctity of the site as the heart of the city. His motives might have also been influenced by the events that took place during the liberation of Khartoum in 1885, as he depicted in his book, “Fire and Sword in the Sudan,” the moment when the Mahdists brought him the decapitated head of Charles Gordon, the last Governor-General of the Turco-Egyptian administration.31

Bringing Gordon’s Head to Slatin illustration.32

The death of General Gordon in Sudan was a shock to the British and served as a great motivator to garner public support against Sudan as there was a “perceived need to recover personal, institutional, and national honour.”33 In parallel, Britain was wary of the intentions of other European powers such as France, Italy, and Belgium and their growing influence over Africa, which solidified the need for Sudan’s reconquest.34 Also, it’s important to note that the Sudan campaigns were led by the Sirdar Herbert Kitchener who took part in the failed Gordon Relief Expedition in 1884-5.35

Henry Seppings-Wright, Gordon’s Avenger, Illustrated London News, 1898.36

To demolish the Mahdi’s qubba and other major parts of the city, the British brought the 5.5-inch Howitzers, which were supplied with high explosive lyddite shells that were fired in the battle of Omdurman for the first time in history.37 Omdurman fell quickly as the Khalifa’s army was no match to British firepower that slaughtered over 12,000 Mahdists.38 Kitchener’s troops under his orders not only shelled the qubba but totally destroyed it and they even went as far as desecrating the Mahdi’s tomb most savagely in a symbolic mirroring of the killing of Gordon,39 concluding with casting the Mahdi’s remains into the Nile River.40 This act of desecration, however, was greatly criticized by British media and even launched an investigation by the British Parliament.41 Nevertheless, the Mahdi’s influence was declared vanquished with the destruction of his qubba where it remained in ruin for the majority of the Condominium rule over Sudan (1898-1956) to serve as a constant reminder of British imperial power.

(Left) The Mahdi’s tomb at the bombardment of Omdurman. 1898.42 (Right) Mahdi’s tomb during condominium rule after it was bombarded. 1906.43

Al-Sayid Abdul-Rahman Al-Mahdi repeatedly appealed to the British government to allow him to rebuild his father’s tomb yet his requests were continuously turned down throughout the colonial period out of fear of a Mahdist revival.44 However, after 49 years the British finally permitted Al-Sayid Abdul-Rahman to rebuild the qubba in 1947.45 The newly rebuilt qubba of the Mahdi was once again constructed in an Egyptian-influenced architectural style. Besides the square base of the qubba, Intisar Soghayroun notes that the small domes at the four corners of the Mahdi’s qubba are similar to those found in Upper Egyptian tombs.46

The 20th century was marked by a surge of Sufi activity in Sudan, evident from the construction of new qubbas as well as the restoration of old ones, and the qubba of Al-Mahdi would come to be very influential in this process. These newly built qubbas were much larger and colorful than Funj-era qubbas; their designs featuring elaborate windows, doorways, and spacious interiors.47 This “religious revival” of Sufi brotherhoods was particularly promoted by Ja’afar Nimery, President of Sudan (1969-1985) who is credited for replacing old qubbas and building new ones, a trend that continued beyond his presidency until today.48 Nimery’s interest had political motives, as he turned to populism to garner the support of small Sufi brotherhoods.49 The construction of these new qubbas was in most cases directly influenced by the style of the Mahdi’s tomb. This trend in the construction of qubbas, however, has had a direct impact on old Funj-era qubbas, as deteriorating qubbas were demolished and replaced with new ones.

Rebuilt qubba of Al-Mahdi. Charles Beery/Shostal Associates.50

About 32 kilometers south-east of Khartoum, one of the most prominent examples of the erasure of Funj-era style qubbas lies in the tomb of Shaykh Idris Wad Al-Arbab in Al-Aylafoon. Shaykh Idris lived between 1507 and 1650 and was a scholar and advisor to Funj rulers,51 and is one of the most recognized Sufi holy men of Sudan with his qubba remaining a site of pilgrimage to this day. The original qubba was constructed in a terraced style –which is an old Funj-style for qubbas– but after it collapsed, it was rebuilt in the style of Turkish qubbas in 1928 according to the archeologist Salah Omer Al-Sadig.52 However, Soghayroun argues instead that this style was popularized through the construction of Al-Mahdi’s qubba.53 Either way, the influence that came with colonialism has had a direct impact on the architecture of qubbas in Sudan and as Soghayroun succinctly puts it, “the cost for society has been the loss of a part of a unique cultural and aesthetic legacy through the dismantling of old domes.”

Qubba of Shaykh Idris wad Al-Arbab in Al-Aylafoon after it was rebuilt. Soghayroun notes that the locals said the old qubba was similar to the one adjoining it (i.e. terraced).54

Much like a palimpsest, qubbas can accumulate layers of histories and cultures that go back for centuries and they act as physical archives that have the ability to create a bridge between the city we live in and the past. Qubbas have been at the center of many political shifts that have happened in Sudan, as they extend beyond being mere sites of burial to becoming places full of life, prayer, hopes, celebrations, and culture. Although the style of the Funj qubbas is experiencing erasure and replacement, the type of archiving and preservation of history granted to Sufi holy men through these qubbas is so powerful that their names are remembered to this day significantly more than the names of the rulers of the Funj Sultanate.

The question then here is, has the same type of memorialization and archiving moved beyond the powerful figures of holy men and defined the culture of remembrance for Sudan as a whole? To try and answer this question, we’ll try to look at other types of deathscapes that exist in Khartoum to explore their current state when it comes to memorialization.

Cemeteries: the changing landscape of burial and the burial crisis

The site where the Turkish qubbas were erected, as previously mentioned, was located within the Old Khartoum Cemetery, a burial place that occupied a large part of the current day downtown Khartoum, although the exact parameters of the cemetery are not clear. During the construction of the Grand Mosque of Khartoum in the early 1900s, numerous human remains found on the site were linked to the Old Khartoum Cemetery.55 To continue constructing the mosque, a fatwa on inactive cemeteries (Al-Magabir Al-Mondarsa / المقابر المندرسة) was issued by Mufti Al-Sudan Mohamed Abu Al-Gasim Hashim,56 thus enabling the city to reuse the land in which Old Khartoum Cemetery was previously located.57 According to Abu-Salim, the cemetery extended east of the Grand Mosque from Abu-Jinzeer square to the Turkish qubbas and Coliseum Cinema.58 The square of Abu-Jinzeer –which is primarily used as a parking lot today– holds the remains of the sufi Shaykh Imam Bin Mohamed, who was originally interred in the middle of Al-Qasr Avenue but was removed to this square when the avenue was laid out.59 A grave shrine was built for the shaykh within the square and was surrounded with chains (jinzeer), thus it was named “Abu-Jinzeer.”

The boundaries of the Old Khartoum Cemetery might have been even larger than that. Inside the modern-day boundaries of the Khartoum Civil Hospital, the mother of Al-Mahdi, Zainab Al-Shagalawie, was buried in the Old Khartoum Cemetery during the Turco-Egyptian rule and the Mahdi seems to have visited her grave following the liberation of Khartoum in 1885.60 When archeological excavations in Khartoum Civil Hospital began in the winter of 1944-45, the British archeologist A. J. Arkell removed the grave of the Mahdi’s mother, after being granted permission from Al-Sayid Abdul-Rahman Al-Mahdi, to proceed with excavations.61

Slatin’s Map of Khartoum and Omdurman from 1895, annotated to show the location of the Old Khartoum Cemetery as depicted in the map.62

The excavations revealed that the site has been occupied throughout different time periods, beginning from the Mesolithic period.63 It was also reported that “graves of Meroitic date have […] been found, and a few full length burials with no grave goods. The latter are non-Moslem, and possibly date from the period when Soba was the capital of a Christian Kingdom.”64 Meaning the use of this area as a cemetery could very well have begun during the Meroitic period.

Khartoum was quite literally built over burial grounds. Other cemeteries around the capital were also built over and erased by referencing the fatwa of inactive cemeteries, such as the Martyrs graveyard which became the Martyrs’ (AlShuhadda) bus station, in addition to an old cemetery in the current location of the Palace of Youth and Children, both of which are located in Omdurman.65

Martyrs Graves as depicted in 1949 map of Omdurman (left)66 and AlShuhadda bus station in the same location as shown in Google maps (right).
Old Cemetery recorded in 1946 map of Omdurman (left)67 and the Palace of Youth and Children in the same location as shown in Google maps (right).

The relationship of death to the urban fabric of Khartoum is even more intriguing when examining the numerous shrines of Sufi Awliya that have been maintained and absorbed into the public institutions and facilities of the city. Salah Omer Al-Sadig describes this fascinating relationship between the spaces of the living and the dead in his book “Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat Al-Khartoum” (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). For example, the shrine of Shaykh Ibrahim Sayem Al-Dahren is located today inside the post office near the Arabic Market (Al-Soug Al-Arabi) in Khartoum.68 Al-Sadig explains that the post office was built around the shrine in the early 20th century but has taken to maintaining and restoring it as one of its duties since followers of the shaykh visit the post office regularly in pilgrimage to the shrine.69 Two Sufi shaykhs were mistakenly killed during the 1885 liberation of Khartoum; AbdulRahman Al-Khorasany who was buried within what used to be the Central Station in Khartoum, as well as Sheikh Mohamed Fayet, who was buried within what would later become the Supreme Council for Environment and Urban Upgrading.70 These Sufi shrines among others nestled within governmental offices and buildings around the city have stood the test of time and are considered a part of the religious heritage of Khartoum as they are frequented by Sufi followers, giving the city a spiritual dimension. Yet, the continued existence of these shrines is also testament that cemeteries are not always memorialized and allowed to remain for generations in the same manner of the shrines Sufi holy men, which puts them at risk of erasure.

Another aspect to consider is the position of the cemetery in relation to the city. While the Old Khartoum Cemetery was at the periphery of the city while it was active, Abu-Salim reports that cemeteries during the Mahdist state were in the middle of the city.71 However, due to rising health concerns from proximity to cemeteries, large areas north of Omdurman were dedicated by Al-Khalifa Abdullah to new cemeteries,72 what we’ve come to know as Al-Bakry, Ahmed Sharfy, and Al-Jamryia Cemeteries.73 This is similar to the majority of cemeteries in Khartoum that were established on the periphery; Hamad, Khojali, Hamad El-Nil, AlSahafa, Burri, Commonwealth, etc. As the capital grew from continuous waves of migrations in the decades that followed, cemeteries were surrounded once more by the city as a natural side-effect of the process of urbanization. The problem that is created from this process, however, is that cemeteries would be unable to expand and accommodate these new pressures that come with the population growth in the city. That is why the last decade has seen a flood of news articles discussing a burial crisis happening in Khartoum.

Because of cultural and religious norms, burials in Sudan have historically been carried out either by the family of the deceased or by individuals who volunteer their help as there have been no official governmental or private entity that has undertaken this responsibility. Without an entity to organize burials and plan the space of cemeteries, the burying process was done haphazardly with little consideration of space consumption. Because of these circumstances and many more, the non-profit Husn Al-Khatima Organization came to be established in 2000.

Husn Al-Khatima has been organizing burials, maintaining cemeteries, planting trees, fencing, lighting, and generally trying to improve the environment of cemeteries. Yet, despite the organization’s work, it seems that the problems facing cemeteries have persisted. Most people burying their loved ones today in Khartoum experience the very difficult task of digging a grave and finding one already there and having to repeat the process until an empty burial space is found.74

Sensing a real issue with burials in the city at the time, Husn Al-Khatima organized a conference in 2009 posing the question “Where do we bury our dead while our cemeteries are full?75 During this conference, different examples from around the Islamic world were presented as possible alternative solutions for dealing with the burial crisis and the solution that was agreed upon by the community was to establish new cemeteries.76 Husn Al-Khatima has been advocating for this solution to the extent that even the Ministry of Physical Planning and Public Utilities of Khartoum State has recognized the need for new cemeteries and accordingly planned for 52 new cemeteries in the Structural Plan of Khartoum for the year 2030.77 However, while a few new cemeteries were indeed established,78 the majority of these plans have yet to be realized since the Ministry found many of the proposed sites to be inadequate and contained multiple issues.79

While in essence, the solution to establish new cemeteries stems from a city planning perspective, the relationship of Khartoum’s cemeteries to planning ends at their boundaries. In contrast to the veneration given to planning and maintaining qubbas of Sufi awliya and their intersection with living spaces, cemeteries are entirely segregated from the city and are not afforded the same level of care and treatment. Cemeteries in Khartoum, in fact, are completely disregarded from the planning and design process and most burials continue to take place haphazardly.

While the burial crisis persists, Dr. Ali Khidir Bakheet, a founding member of Husn Al-Khatima explained that Islamic burial rites essentially allow cemeteries to be sustainable since the body decomposes almost entirely, hence the grave can be “reused” after decades.80 He elaborated by pointing out that burials in Muslim cemeteries have been on-going for centuries, citing Al-Baqi’ cemetery in Medina, Saudi Arabia, and Hilat Hamad’s cemetery in Bahri (400 years).

Considering Dr. Bakheet’s insight in dialogue with the current trend of burials as well as the fatwa on inactive cemeteries that was referenced when building Khartoum in the early 20th century, a few discrepancies are evident. The emotional ties of Sudanese people with their family burial plots and their desire to continue burying there put great pressure on cemeteries, so much so that in 2018, the Khartoum State Legislative Council declared that the cemeteries in Khartoum have become too full and cannot receive more burials since 200 people die every day in the state.81 If indeed the public agrees to switch burials to new cemeteries that will be established, what will happen to the cemeteries that are at capacity today? Will they be built over, same as the Old Cemetery of Khartoum? Or will the same cemeteries be reused as Dr. Bakheet suggests?

Within this dilemma, planners and architects continue to ignore cemeteries, forcing them to remain unplanned spaces that are excluded from the built environment, despite the fact that cemeteries take up large spaces within the city. Precisely because of the large areas they occupy, there’s a real threat to these overfull cemeteries from the encroachment of the city in the case that they stop accepting burials and become inactive, similar to historical precedents such as the Old Khartoum Cemetery.

The vulnerability of cemeteries could perhaps have a lot to do with their fraught relationship to the city. While cemeteries remain isolated and their lack of design renders them unable to engage the needs of visitors beyond burials, the emotional ties to the space decrease over time. This frayed relationship in the face of imminent urbanization could perhaps undermine memorializing cemeteries and preserving their histories. If indeed we were to preserve our cemeteries and avoid their erasure, a radical redesign and spatial intervention is needed to convince the public that there is a need for maintaining cemeteries within the city in the future.

The contested space of monuments and memorials:

Beyond the spaces of burial –whether cemeteries or domed shrines (qubbas)– monuments and memorials can also be considered deathscapes because of their symbolic relationship to death and memorialization, as they are sometimes used to commemorate individuals that have passed, and other times they mark sites of histories and memories of death, violence and trauma. Within the latter, erecting memorials allow deathscapes to become arenas that bridge between the private and the public realms as they “provide spaces for a combination of purposes, including personal mourning, spiritual solace, and private reflection on the one hand, as well as civic engagement and democratic dialogue on the other.82 This dialogue is able to take place in memorials because they inhabit the public sphere and act as public acknowledgement to victims of violence and atrocity.

One of the most recent events that have reshaped the spatial memory of Khartoum in relation to death was the massacre of June 3rd, 2019 during the violent dispersal of the two-month-long sit-in at the army headquarters. To topple the 30-year long military regime of Al-Bashir, protestors took to the streets beginning from December 2018, with the revolution reaching a crescendo when the area of the army headquarters was occupied by protestors on April 6, 2019. The boundaries of the sit-in site extended from the surroundings of the army, navy, air force, and artillery headquarters to the central campus of the University of Khartoum. In those two months, the sit-in became a miniature city that represented the ideals of the Sudanese revolution –Freedom, Peace, and Justice– and became a place where everyone from around the country could come together and co-exist. The space/event of the sit-in saw a production of public space unlike any in the history of Sudan, leading it to become the center for all kinds of activities in the city.83

Security forces on the morning of June 3rd violently dispersed the sit-in, razing tents, opening fire and killing protestors,84 and even going to the extent of dumping their bodies in the Nile River.85 It’s reported that 127 people died from the violent crackdown of the army headquarters sit-in, with some estimating that the number of deaths could be much higher as over 100 people were reported missing.86

On June 3rd, the ways in which people see and relate to this space radically changed, as all evidence of the occupation of the site was erased and murals were painted over, in an attempt to erase the collective memory of the sit-in. The relationship of the sit-in site to state power is the main reason why protestors occupied it in the first place, yet this same power is now exerted to ensure that the site is devoid of any sort of memorialization and remembrance to the sit-in and the victims of the massacre. Under the watchful eye of the military, passersby drive through what was once considered a Sudanese utopia, now transformed to a deathscape following the violent events of June 3rd.

Livestream image from the violent dispersal of the army headquarters sit-in in Khartoum.87

Calls to memorialize the revolution and its martyrs became the center of discussions about public space in Khartoum. Streets and public spaces were renamed after martyrs88 and new murals commemorating them were created.89 However, when considering the types of memorialization that have taken place as a result of the Sudanese revolution, it quickly appears that memorials were strictly within the bounds of renaming buildings and streets or painting over existing walls. Although proposals for creating a new memorial for the martyrs of the December Revolution circulated in social media90 but no further steps were taken to enable such projects to come to life. In that regard, memorialization of the revolution has been very limited and involved no spatial consideration to create a new physical memorial. In fact, there has been a huge debate regarding memorials and monuments, particularly in the form of statues.

On the 24th of January 2019, Abdul-Azeem Abubakr took part in a protest in AlArba’en Street in Omdurman and was photographed confronting the security forces moments before they opened fire on him and he was martyred.91 The image of his last stand went viral and his heroic act motivated the artist Hosam Osman along with Asim Zurgan and Rami Rizig to create a statue for Abdul-Azeem.92 The statue was supposed to be installed in the same street where he martyred, however, there were outright rejections to erecting a statue in the neighborhood as it was seen to be against Islamic tradition. After failing to erect the statue, the artist Hosam reported that a few months after, an unknown entity broke into his home and destroyed the statue.93

Viral image that spread on social media of the Statue of the martyr Abdul-Azeem the day it was supposed to be installed in AlAbaseya, Omdurman.94

The destruction of the statue of the martyr Abdul-Azeem is only the most recent addition to a long history of rejecting statues in Sudan going back for decades. Today, most of the monuments found around the capital are abstract pieces and it’s a rare sight to find any that relate to Sudanese history, and of course there are no statues to be found in public spaces. To understand the root causes for this phenomenon, it’s important to look back at the history of the erasure of statues in the city.

The first statue to be erected in modern Sudanese history was that of Charles Gordon, as the resurrection of Khartoum under the Anglo-Egyptian administration was tied with the remembrance of the death of Gordon. Kitchener’s first act after defeating the Mahdists in the Battle of Omdurman was to cross over to Khartoum and hold a “second funeral of Gordon” at the exact spot where he died in his Government House in a public performance of grief.95 Immediately after, Kitchener commenced planning Khartoum and originated the ideas for Gordon Memorial College (now University of Khartoum) and a Gordon Monument.

Location of Gordon and Kitchener’s Statues as shown in a map of Khartoum from 1952, issued by the Sudan Survey Department. Annotated by author.96

At one of the most prominent avenues in the city, a bronze statue of Gordon on a riding camel was inaugurated in 1903, facing southwards as if overlooking the fortifications that he defended against the Mahdists.97 The location of the statue in front of the Presidential Palace as well as naming the avenue where it was placed after Gordon (now University Avenue) –an avenue that linked it to the Gordon Memorial College– revealed the intentional placement of this monument at the colonial seat of power in Sudan. Another colonial statue depicting Kitchener was also installed in 1921 to commemorate his role in the Sudan conquest following his sudden death a few years earlier.98 This statue was “made from empty cartridge cases collected from battlefields”99 and was installed in front of the War Office (now Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning), facing Kitchener Avenue (now Nile Street) and the Blue Nile.

Left: Bronze monument of General Gordon on camel-back on a main cross-way.100 Right: Government offices and equestrian statue of Kitchener. Khartoum, Sudan.101

Erecting the statues of Gordon and Kitchener, as well as naming important avenues and squares in the city after them were physical representations of the British Imperial power over Sudan.102 As Savage explains about monuments in general:

Public monuments are the most conservative of commemorative forms precisely because they are meant to last, unchanged, forever. While other things come and go, are lost and forgotten, the monument is supposed to remain a fixed point, stabilizing both the physical and the cognitive landscape. Monuments attempt to mold a landscape of collective memory, to conserve what is worth remembering and discard the rest.”103

These monuments, however, did not remain a fixed point for Sudanese people, as they were rejected and a reckoning of colonial heritage ensued shortly after independence. Abu-Salim stresses how these monuments became sites of resistance for the National Movement, and as early as 1949 news articles were published criticizing the existence of the statues, and in extension, colonialism in Sudan as a whole.104 The statues became contested sites that were heavily debated for a decade but their removal only came after independence following the military coup led by General Abboud in 1958.105 Abboud’s newly-found military government wanted to perform a noticeable act of nationalism to give itself legitimacy and therefore shipped the statues back to the British in London.106 An erasure of the names attached to colonialism soon followed and Gordon and Kitchener Avenues became University Avenue and Nile Street. While the removal of Gordon and Kitchener’s statues was motivated by national decolonial sentiments, they would mark the beginning of the eradication of statues to come in Khartoum.

Al-Ahram Newspaper, “Removal of Gordon and Kitchener’s Statues from Khartoum.” 1958.

In the following decades, statues began to be erected in different cities in Sudan. In Port Sudan, a statue of the Mahdist military commander, Osman Digna107 was erected, and in Rufa’a, to commemorate Babikir AlBedri –the pioneer of women’s education in Sudan– a statue depicting him was installed in the first school he established.108 Also, following the 1964 revolution against the military regime of Abboud, statues of Ahmed AlQurashi and Babikir AbdulHafeez –who were martyred in the student protests– were erected in the University of Khartoum.109 The Indian community in Omdurman also erected a statue for Gandhi.110 However, the existence of statues in Sudanese public spaces has always been contested and with the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in the country, beginning from the 1980s, statues were denounced as idols and most of them were destroyed.111 Even sculptures created by students of the College of Fine Arts faced this denunciation. The Bashir regime that came into power in 1989 further strengthened this view on monuments and memorials, to the extent that the former Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and Wildlife, Mohamed Abdul-Karim Al-Had, stated in court that he has never stepped foot in the National Museum because it contained idols, in reference to monuments of Kushite Kingdoms.112

The religious debate around depicting human figures in sculptures does not in fact go against the idea of memorialization itself, as it is only a rejection of their form. The ideas, events and people being commemorated are the core of memorials and monuments rather than the form chosen to depict them. Therefore, memorialization should respond to society’s values and needs, adopting the most appropriate and acceptable form of memorialization that enables the preservation of history. Within this debate, we must recognize that there’s a radical difference between removing statues of colonial heritage and removing statues that relate to Sudanese national history post-independence. Colonial statues were rejected not only because of their form, but because of the imperial iconography that was imposed on Sudanese people, to the point where they became arenas for resistance against colonialism as a whole. These arenas, however, disappeared following the removal of the colonial statues, as they were not replaced with monuments that maintained the historical value and the public’s relationship with the space. Beyond the tensions surrounding their form, monuments and memorials still have the capacity to exist, yet they’ve continuously been removed without any replacement, despite the fact that they have the capacity to reflect ideals and values that are important to Sudanese peoples’ collective memory.

The vacuum of physical representations for memorialization in Khartoum negatively impacts projects that aim to memorialize victims of violence and atrocity, leaving their history to remain largely unacknowledged and vulnerable to erasure. In this regard, the massacre of the army headquarters sit-in can be read as a continuation of acts of violence perpetrated by the state against its people, most of which remain without sites of remembrance. We have yet to see memorials for the two civil wars in Sudan (1955-1972) and (1983-2005), the latter of which is considered one of the longest civil wars in history that resulted in two and half million casualties.113 The Darfur genocide as well remains without memorialization, during which 300,000 people were killed according to UN estimates.114 Many other atrocities and massacres have taken place in Sudan, with very little acknowledgement and justice.

While there have been some commemorative events, particularly in relation to the martyrs of the December Revolution, we have to recognize that erecting memorials –for both recent and historic events– plays an important part in the process of transitional justice, reconciliation and democracy. Memorialization allows society to come together to negotiate what should be remembered as a part of the process of constructing our national identity. It solidifies the truth and educates people about the terrible history of suffering that Sudanese people have gone through in order to come to grips with the past and avoid repeating it. The silencing of narratives of history by not allowing monuments and memorials to exist undermines this process and squanders their potential for reconciliation and healing.

Within each of the different forms of deathscapes explored in this essay, there has been some level of erasure taking place. The domed shrines (qubbas) of sufi holy men that were erected during the Funj Sultanate are being erased and replaced with modern and contemporary styles, threatening some of the most significant architectural and archeological heritage in Sudan. The landscape of cemeteries in Khartoum on the other hand has been radically changing in the past century, with some cemeteries being erased and built over to make way for the development of the city. In the past few decades, the urbanization of Khartoum has been pressuring existing urban cemeteries, leading them to overfill and face an unknown future. In the midst of these pressures, the possibility of the erasure of urban cemeteries could very well be repeated. Lastly, since independence, monuments and memorials have been continuously destroyed and erased from the city due to the political and religious tensions surrounding them.

These different dynamics of erasure at play are influenced by various drivers and governed by politics of memory and remembrance, yet they all imply that there are real problems facing memorialization of deathscapes in the city and even the country. Despite all of that, we must recognize that there’s value to maintaining spaces of death and their material culture as they serve as archives to legacies of the past and have the power to radically transform our understanding of history and the city. The example of qubbas of sufi holy men illustrates the potential of memorialization to preserve history that goes back for centuries, allowing these spaces to remain relevant in people’s lives and even becoming at times part of the socio-political landscape, all the while gaining new layers of meaning and associations. By studying the qubbas’ relationship with the city that allows them to transcend their role as places of burial and become vital destinations for the community, an opportunity can be found for extracting and implementing ideas on other types of deathscapes facing erasure. Perhaps “borrowing” some of the elements that enable the success of qubbas can be used as a gateway to allow the culture of memorialization in Sudan to expand from the religious and spiritual realms onto the civic one as a way of reflecting the collective memory of the city and country as a whole in relation to death.

1 Sidaway, James D. Deathscapes: Spaces for death, dying, mourning and remembrance. Routledge, 2016. p. 4.

2 Ibid. pp. 5-6.

3 McHugh, Neil. “Historical perspectives on the domed shrine in the Nilotic Sudan.” Practicing Sufism. Routledge, 2016. p. 105.

4 Ibid.

5 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. pp. 14.

6 Note: Sufi holy men became pillars that supported the economical, social, and political framework of the society in the Funj Sultanate (1504-1821) as pointed out in the Tabaqat, a book that contains the biographies of the sufi holy men who lived during the Funj Sultanate, describing their role in society and the state.

Daif Allah, Mohamed. “Kitab Al-Tabaqat fi Khosos Al-Awliya wa Al-Saliheen wa Al-Ulama wa Al-Sho’ara fi Al-Sudan.”

7 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. pp. 11-12.

8 Trimingham, J S. Islam in the Sudan. London: Cass, 1983. Print. p. 135.

9 Ibid. pp. 145-146.

10 Ibid. p. 129.

11 McHugh, Neil. “Historical perspectives on the domed shrine in the Nilotic Sudan.” Practicing Sufism. Routledge, 2016. p. 113.

12 “نوبة” الصوفية في السودان.. أهازيج وطقوس وتاريخ عريقنوبةالصوفيةفيالسودانأهازيجوطقوسوتاريخعريق-22749

13 Soghayroun, Intisar. “lslamic Qubbas as Archeological Artifacts: Origins, Features and their Cultural Significance”, in: Proceedings of the Ninth Conference of the International Society of Nubian Studies, ed. by T. Kendal. Boston, 1998, p. 410.

14 Ibid.

15 Al Sadig. Salah O. Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat AlKhartoum (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). Khartoum. 2009. Print. p. 58.


17 Ibid. p. 59.

18 Ibid. p. 35.

19 McGregor, Andrew. “The Circassian Qubba-s of Abbas Avenue, Khartoum: Governors and Soldiers in 19th Century Sudan.” Nordic Journal of African Studies 10.1 (2001): p. 33.

20 Hill, Richard. “DEATH OF A GOVERNOR-GENERAL.” Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 39, 1958, pp. 83–87. JSTOR, Accessed 29 Sept. 2020.

21 McGregor, Andrew. “The Circassian Qubba-s of Abbas Avenue, Khartoum: Governors and Soldiers in 19th Century Sudan.” Nordic Journal of African Studies 10.1 (2001): p. 34.

22 Ibid. p. 34-35.

23 MJ Photography. Turkish Graves, Khartoum, Northern Sudan, Africa. 2011. Alamy Stock Photo. Photograph.

24 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. p. 82.

25 McHugh, Neil. “Historical perspectives on the domed shrine in the Nilotic Sudan.” Practicing Sufism. Routledge, 2016. p. 112.

26 McGregor, Andrew. “The Circassian Qubba-s of Abbas Avenue, Khartoum: Governors and Soldiers in 19th Century Sudan.” Nordic Journal of African Studies 10.1 (2001): p. 37.

27 Shuqayr, Na’um, and Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Sudan (History of Sudan). 1981. Print. pp. 798-799.

28 Zulfo, Ismat H. Karari: The Sudanese Account of the Battle of Omdurman. Khartoum: University of Khartoum. 1972. Print. p. 399.

29 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. pp. 95-96.

30 Zulfo, Ismat H. Karari: The Sudanese Account of the Battle of Omdurman. Khartoum: University of Khartoum. 1972. Print. p. 396.

31 Slatin, Rudolf C, and F R. Wingate. Fire and Sword in the Sudan: A Personal Narrative of Fighting and Serving the Dervishes. 1879-1895. London: E. Arnold, 1896. p. 340. Available Online:

32 Ibid.

33 Fox, Paul. “Severed Heads: The Spoils of War in the Egyptian Sudan.” Available online:

34 Wilkinson-Latham, Robert, ed. The Sudan Campaigns, 1881-1898. Vol. 59. Osprey Publishing, 1976. p. 30

35 Magnus, Philip. Kitchener: portrait of an imperialist. Plunkett Lake Press, 2019. Available online:

36 Fox, Paul. “Kodaking a Just War: Photography, Architecture and the Language of Damage in the Egyptian Sudan, 1884–1898.” Militarized Cultural Encounters in the Long Nineteenth Century. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. p. 121.

37 Zulfo, Ismat H. Karari: The Sudanese Account of the Battle of Omdurman. Khartoum: University of Khartoum. 1972. Print. p. 308.

38 Ibid. p. 519.

39 Gordon, Michelle. “Viewing Violence in the British Empire: Images of Atrocity from the Battle of Omdurman, 1898.” Journal of Perpetrator Research 2.2 (2019): p. 81.

4021 February 1899: Treatment of the Mahdi’s body condemned.” The Guardian, 18 May 2011.

41 House of Commons and Lords Historic Hansard Archive, the Official Report of debates in UK Parliament. HC Deb 05 June 1899 vol. 72 cc327-408.

42 Morhig, G. N. The Mahdi’s tomb at the bombardment of Omdurman. The English Pharmacy, Khartoum. Postcard. 1898.

43 Morhig, G. N. The Mahdi’s Tomb Omdurman. The English Pharmacy, Khartoum. British Empire & Commonwealth Collection, Bristol Museum. Postcard. 1906.

44 Ibrahim, Hassan Ahmed. “THE DEVELOPMENT OF ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL NEO-MAHDISM IN THE SUDAN 1926-1935.” Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 58, 1977, p. 56. JSTOR, Accessed 29 Sept. 2020.

45 Al Sadig. Salah O. Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat AlKhartoum (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). Khartoum. 2009. Print. p. 65.

46 Soghayroun, Intisar. “lslamic Qubbas as Archeological Artifacts: Origins, Features and their Cultural Significance”, in: Proceedings of the Ninth Conference of the International Society of Nubian Studies, ed. by T. Kendal. Boston, 1998, p. 408.

47 McHugh, Neil. “Historical perspectives on the domed shrine in the Nilotic Sudan.” Practicing Sufism. Routledge, 2016. p. 112.

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid.

50 Charles Beery/Shostal Associates. Omdurman, Sudan: tomb of al-Mahdī. Encyclopædia Britannica.

51 Daif Allah, Mohamed. “Kitab Al-Tabaqat fi Khosos Al-Awliya wa Al-Saliheen wa Al-Ulama wa Al-Sho’ara fi Al-Sudan.” p. 13.

52 Al Sadig. Salah O. Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat AlKhartoum (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). Khartoum. 2009. Print. p. 46.

53 Soghayroun, Intisar. “lslamic Qubbas as Archeological Artifacts: Origins, Features and their Cultural Significance”, in: Proceedings of the Ninth Conference of the International Society of Nubian Studies, ed. by T. Kendal. Boston, 1998, pp. 401-402.

54 Ibid.

55 Al Sadig. Salah O. Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat AlKhartoum (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). Khartoum. 2009. Print. pp. 23-24.

56 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. p. 183.

57 Bakheet, Ali K. Tajrubat Monazamat Husn Al-Khatima (The experience of Husn Al-Khatima Organisation). Khartoum: Sharikat Matabie Al-Sudan Lil’omla Al-mahdooda. 2016. Print. p. 88.

58 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. pp. 184-185.

59 Ibid.

60 Al Sadig. Salah O. Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat AlKhartoum (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). Khartoum. 2009. Print. p. 75.

61 Arkell, Anthony John. “Early Khartoum: an account of the excavation of an early occupation site carried out by the Sudan Government Antiquities Service in 1944-5.” 1949. p. 7.

62 Note: Arkell notes in his book Early Khartoum (p.1) that there were two main cemeteries at the city during the siege of Khartoum in 1885 as depicted in Slatin’s map of Khartoum and Omdurman.

Slatin, Rudolf C, and F R. Wingate. Fire and Sword in the Sudan: A Personal Narrative of Fighting and Serving the Dervishes. 1879-1895. London: E. Arnold, 1896. p. 630. Available Online:

63 Ibid. p. 111.

64 “THE EXCAVATION OF AN ANCIENT SITE AT KHARTOUM.” Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 26, no. 1, 1945, p. 182. JSTOR, Accessed 4 Oct. 2020.

65 Bakheet, Ali K. Tajrubat Monazamat Husn Al-Khatima (The experience of Husn Al-Khatima Organisation). Khartoum: Sharikat Matabie Al-Sudan Lil’omla Al-mahdooda. 2016. Print. p. 88.

66 Sudan. Maṣlaḥat al-Misāḥah. Plan of Omdurman. 1949. Retrieved from Durham University.

67 Sudan. Maṣlaḥat al-Misāḥah. Plan of Khartoum and district / Town Survey Office. Khartoum, Sudan. 1946. Map. Retrieved from the American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

68 Al Sadig. Salah O. Al-Athar Al-Islamia Fi Mantiqat AlKhartoum (Islamic Antiquities in the Khartoum Region). Khartoum. 2009. Print. p. 74.

69 Ibid.

70 Ibid. pp. 69-70.

71 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. p. 132.

72 Ibid.

73 Bakheet, Ali K. Phone interview. 5 July 2020.

74 أين ندفن موتانا؟…أزمة قبور

75 Ibid.

76 Ibid.

77 “أحوال القبور” تقر وزارة التخطيط العمراني بولاية الخرطوم الحاجة إلى مدافن جديدة ولكن المقابر الحالية تعاني من تعدي البعض على مساحاتها

78 Note: Between 2001 and 2008, the Ministry of Physical Planning established 5 new cemeteries in Khartoum State under Husn Al-Khatima’s supervision: AlKalakla Sharig (الكلاكلة شرق), AlJereef Gharib (الجريف غرب), AlAmeer (الامير), Adam Yaqoub (آدم يعقوب), and Hamad AlNateefa (حمد النتيفة) cemeteries. It also expanded on the following existing cemeteries: Ahmed Sharfi, AlBakry, and Farouq cemeteries.

Bakheet, Ali K. Tajrubat Monazamat Husn Al-Khatima (The experience of Husn Al-Khatima Organisation). Khartoum: Sharikat Matabie Al-Sudan Lil’omla Al-mahdooda. 2016. Print. pp. 33-34.

79 “أحوال القبور” تقر وزارة التخطيط العمراني بولاية الخرطوم الحاجة إلى مدافن جديدة ولكن المقابر الحالية تعاني من تعدي البعض على مساحاتها

80 Bakheet, Ali K. Phone interview. 5 July 2020.

81الخرطوم تكشف عن وفاة (200) مواطن يومياً

82 Brett, Sebastian, et al. “Memorialization and democracy: State policy and civic action.” FLASCO, International Center for Transitional Justice (2007). p. 6.

83 Bahreldin, Ibrahim Z. “Beyond the Sit-In: Public Space Production and Appropriation in Sudan’s December Revolution, 2018.” Sustainability 12.12 (2020): 5194.

84 “They Were Shouting ‘Kill Them’” Sudan’s Violent Crackdown on Protesters in Khartoum.

85 Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD). June 5th, 2019.

86 More than 100 Sudanese still missing after ‘June 3 Massacre’


88 بتسمية الشوارع بأسماء المحتجين.. السودانيون يوثقون ثورتهمصحافة-أجنبية/1516612-بتسمية-الشوارع-بأسماء-المحتجين–السودانيون-يوثقون-ثورتهم-%C2%A0

89Sudan murals commemorate protest ‘martyrs’

90 Martyrs of the December Revolution Memorial Proposal, Nasma Abdulhafeez.

91 الشهيد عبد العظيم ..وصموده الأسطوري!

92 Osman, Hosam ‘Spaidr’. Phone Interview. 20 July 2020.

Note: The artist explained that he was in the same protest in AlAbaseya neighborhood where AbdulAzeem was martyred and he felt the need to commemorate AbdulAzeem’s last moment and engrave it in people’s memories in a physical form.

93 Ibid.


95 Ward, John. Our Sudan, Its Pyramids And Progress. London: J. Murray, 1905. pp. 119-120.

96 Sudan survey department (Khartoum). Layton, M. Alkhartoum = Khartoum. Khartoum: The Sudan Survey Department. 1952. Map. Retrieved from the David Rumsey Collections.

97 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. pp. 179-180.

98 Sandes, Lieut, and E. W. C. Colonel. The Royal Engineers in Egypt and the Sudan. The Institution of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1937. p. 303.

99 Ibid.

100 Matson Photo Service. Bronze monument of General Gordon on camel-back on a main cross-way. Khartoum, Sudan. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

101 Matson Photo Service. Government offices and equestrian statue of Kitchener. Khartoum, Sudan. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

102 Ward, John. Our Sudan, Its Pyramids And Progress. London: J. Murray, 1905. p. 124.

103 Savage, Kirk. Standing soldiers, kneeling slaves: Race, war, and monument in nineteenth-century America. Princeton University Press, 2018. p. 4

104 Abu-Salim, M. Ibrahim. Tarikh Al-Khartoum (History of Khartoum). Khartoum: Dar El Irshad, 1971. Print. p. 181.

105 Ibid.

106 Ibid.

107 جدل التماثيل و”الأصنام” في السودانجدل-التماثيل-والأصنام-في-السودان-من-حطم-نصب-شهيد-الثورة؟/عزمي-عبد-الرازق/مجتمع




111 Ahmad, Adil Mustafa. “Khartoum blues: the deplanning and decline of a capital city.” Habitat International 24.3 (2000): p. 322.


113 Sudan: 1983-2005

114 U.N. says Darfur dead may be 300,000 as Sudan denies