Answers by Ibrahim
Q: Is there a difference between Nubia/Nubians and Kush/Kushites?
A: There is a common tendency among scholars and media sources to use the term 'Ancient Nubia/Nubia' as an alternative to 'Kush'. Historically, the Kushites and the Nubians have probably represented two separate, yet related, ethnic populations. The term 'Nubia' is associated with the emergence of a 'Nubian/Nobatian' population in the Nile Valley area starting in the third century CE. The Nubian populations settled and dominated the northern and central areas of the ancient domain of the Kushite kingdom, as well as a small portion of southern Egypt.
Suggested articles: Ethnicity, The Post- Meroitic era (History), and The Nobatian X-Group (History), X-Group (Burials).
The questions of the readers below are answered assuming 'Nubian/s' to be synonymous with 'Kushite/s'.
Q: Are all Sudanese Nubians?
A: It appears that the question assumes an
conclusion about who is Nubian. It is important to note that modern
not only designate populations according to their ethnicities but also
according to their cultural backgrounds. Accordingly, the answer is
is not all Sudanese are Nubians. Nevertheless, the Nubian heritage and
is the dominant one in Sudan. Almost all the populations of Northern,
and Eastern Sudan share the Nubian heritage, including those who define
themselves as Arabs such as the 'Jaalyeen'(جعليين
)and Shiegiya (شايقيا). This does not deny that
there has been, throughout history, a strong Nubian influence in other
Sudan; Southern and Western.
Q: What populations in Sudan DO NOT share the
A: There are various populations in Sudan that
belong to ethnicities and cultures other than Nubian. These include
the Nilotic tribes in the south, and the West African originated
tribes in the far-West, in addition to other groups such as the
Arab-Bedouin of the Rashaida tribe, and other. Yet, even for those
there is much to be detected on the influence and impacts of the
Q: How can you
prove that the Nubians are the ancestors to the
Arabs of Northern Sudan?
A: Drawings inside burials and in various artefacts show
clearly the features of ancient Nubians. It is concrete fact that
they look very similar to the present Northern Sudanese features
including those who define themselves as Arabs. The skin colors,
the distinguished facial features, and the range of hair textures and colors; all testify to their Nubian origin
of present northern Sudanese. It is beyond doubt that the Ancient
Nubians had inhabited the long stretch of Nile valley in Sudan starting
from Halfa in the North to Kosti in the South. I don't think
that there is any legitimate argument or theory that would prove
otherwise. The Arabic language and Islamic identity were so dominant
and strong to the extent that the Nubian identity became questionable
and many assumed that it diminished and withered.
Q: Why should the Arab Sudanese people change
identity to Nubian?
A: It is in the interest of no one to call for a
change in the
identity of the Arab Sudanese to become
just a Nubian. The objective here, for me and for many concerned
raise a missing recognition and self-esteem feeling cherishing the
their Nubian origin.
Q: Why is it important that the Sudanese
their Nubian origins?
A: I believe it is the Nubian identity that makes the Sudanese
nation unique and distinguished. This uniqueness is reflected in
the, culture, interaction with numbering nations, and certainly
on their physical features. I think it is improper to live with
an incomplete knowledge of ones identity.
Q: Why do we have
to recognize our Nubian origins if we can
just define ourselves as Sudanese?
A: Here, the question is 'why do we have
to recognize our ancient history and ancestry?' I believe
studying our ancient history and becoming aware of our true ancestry
enhances our knowledge of ourselves and deepens our perception of
our very Sudanese identity. I guess
this is the objective of studying History and Archeology and building
upon the past at large. The values and traditions embodied deep
in the Sudanese culture are themselves a reflection of both our
Arab and Nubian origins. Probably what distinguishes the Sudanese
personality with all the good and noble qualities that are usually
linked to it may owe it distant origins to this Nubian heritage.
And apart from all that nothing good can come from keeping our Nubian
heritage as unknown, ambiguous, and hidden.
evidence for the ancient Nubian civilization
has only been uncovered in regions of Nile valley where the Sudanese
populations today define them selves as Nubians, not Arab. Doesn't that
that the Sudanese-Arabs do not share a common ancestry with the Nubians?
A: This is particularly not true. Archeological evidence for the ancient Nubian civilization has
not only been uncovered in the regions of Nile valley where Sudanese
populations today define themselves as exclusively Nubian. The old city
Meroe, for example, is situated in central Sudan where what we term as
tribes are dominant. Furthermore, and even more to the south are the
archeological sites of Mussawarat es Sufra and Naga, few kilometers
Khartoum, where Arab people live. As a matter of fact, archeological
for ancient Nubia have been uncovered as far south as Kosti on the
Q: How do you describe the influence of
Nubian heritage in
A: Western Sudan is the most diverse region within the borders
Sudan. In fact the term 'western Sudan' is too general to describe the
cultures and ethnicities in the region. In short, populations of
that live closer to the Nile are noticeably more influenced by the
heritage than those who live farther away. Speaking about the influence
impacts, many elements have to be considered and evaluated at the same
However, if we consider the element of culture alone, we may suggest
that all the
people of western Sudan are Nubians. This conclusion can be drawn from
that people of Northern, Eastern, Central, and Western Sudan, with few
differences, do practice similar customs and social traditions.