Although Nubia has always been an important part of Egypt, a lot of people do not have enough information about its history, roots, and traditions. Aiming to bridge the gap between Cairo and Nubia and spread Nubia’s distinctive culture and the origins of its language, a group of young Nubian men and women held the fifth round of the annual festival “I Ikadolly” on 10 February at El Sawy Culture Wheel.
“Each year, we organise a big festival that coincides with Valentine’s Day to celebrate our love and gratitude to our beloved land, Nubia,” said Dina Shabaan, main coordinator of the festival.
“The festival hosts a big number of Nubian bands, cultural dances, costumes, Henna drawings, in addition to the different Nubian cuisines, which attract people from different Egyptian governorates,” she added.
This year, the festival welcomed about 1,000 people, who came to enjoy the Nubian culture and experience its heritage.
“Unfortunately, Nubia is always neglected in movies, songs, and TV programmes. People need to understand how Nubia is a valuable part of Egypt, and that is exactly the main goal of our initiative, which raises people’s awareness about this neglected land with its important customs and traditions,” she noted.
To cover the costs and guarantee sustainability, the festival’s organisers offered cheap tickets that anyone could afford. The festival is one of the activities held by the “Nubian Knights” initiative, which four young people started in 2011. Today, the initiative has 15 organisers.
“The whole thing started when I realised with my friends that people don’t know the difference between Egyptian and Sudanese Nubians,” Shaaban said. “We decided to launch the “Nubian Knights” initiative as a Facebook page that provides information about the topic. People started to contact us, asking for more events,” she added.
However, Nubians are currently suffering from many problems most people are not aware of. “One of these include the latest clashes between the government and “Qafelet Al-Awda Al-Nubia,” which demanded their right to return to their lands that had been flooded after building the Aswan High Dam. Although the government promised to provide solutions, nothing has changed until now,” she explained.
Although the initiative succeeded in achieving a number of goals, it is still struggling to reach more people.
“Our dream is to convey our message to people everywhere. We also dream of establishing a Nubian cultural centre and launching the first Nubian TV channel to spread our culture,” she concluded.
Photos handout to DNE