“Mendi Girls” in Vienna… Ishraqa Mustafa inspired by Sudanese princess's biography to spread peace

The little girl, Ishraqa Mustafa, sits in the 1970s in the Sudanese city of Kosti, which lies at the crossroads between northern, eastern and southern Sudan. He begged his next door neighbor Al-Zubair Khamis to reiterate his point. The story of Princess Mendi, daughter of Sultan Ajabna, for the millionth time.

Ishraqa says: “Uncle Khamis used to tell me about the mountains, about his first homeland, Umm Hitan, and of course about the horseman woman Mandy, whose wildness created in my imagination and mental image the image of a courageous Sudanese woman. Which was ignored by our history. Precontemplation and forethought.”

A small wall separates Uncle Khamis's house from the Ishraqa family's house, which did not prevent the seven-year-old girl's thin body from crossing it and jumping to the other side.

Mustafa was fascinated by Princess Mandy and her courage from a young age and he encouraged her and Mandy became his dream, which came true after 30 years of living in Vienna, the capital of music and art.

She earned a doctorate in political economy and immediately founded the “Banat Mendi” organization or “Mandi Organization for a Culture of Peace” to support and encourage Arab feminist cultural activity in the diaspora and inside Sudan, managing diversity. Started realizing her dream of doing.

an inspiring princess story

The doctor says he has held the presidency of the “Mendi for the Culture of Peace and Diversity Management” organization – based in the Austrian capital Vienna – since its founding in 2021, and launched it as a global organization in January. Was approved. 2022.

The organization has membership in Austria and Sudan and was selected out of 5 active voluntary organizations in Austria.

Dr. Mustafa adds: “Mandi's story inspired me to establish the organization. Mandi, daughter of Sultan Ajabna bin Aruga bin Sabah of the Nuba tribe “Nimang” of the Deling region (a city located in the Sudanese state (South Kordofan), in the south-west of Sudan.

“The legend of Princess Mandy's heroism, courage and determination was created by her confrontation with British colonialism in the first quarter of the 20th century, and history immortalized her heroism in a famous military march for the Sudan Defense Music Band , and was inspired by Mendy's valor to boost the morale of soldiers and fighters in the armed forces, says the head of the organization “Mendy for Peace Culture and Diversity Management”.

She continues: “In the year 1908, the English colonialists attacked the army of Sultan Ajabna in the Battle of Alfos, and in the face of firearms, the Nemang army's chances of victory diminished, signs of defeat appeared, and the news reached the Khabar tribe. Reached, where the Sultan's daughter, Princess Mendi, was about to defeat her father's army. She was determined that Mandy decided to send reinforcements under her command to support her clan's army, so she tied her newborn child behind her back like women do. The Nimang tribes crawled forward until they reached the land of the Alfas and fought with unparalleled courage.

The doctor speaks enthusiastically about Mandy, saying: “In addition to her participation in the fighting, which caused her to lose her infant, she treated the wounded, boosted the morale of the rebels, and cooked for the Nemang army. The fighting ended After Sultan Ajabna was captured and later executed in the year 1917, Mandy returned to her tribe as a leader, succeeding her father.” “Prisoner.”

Inspiring Immigrant Women in Vienna

Sudanese human rights activists describe the achievements of the Mendi organization as follows: larger than its short lifespan; For example, the workshop “No one but us writes our biographies” turned into the book “Naun al-Manafi, Biographies of Women There”, which was co-written by Syrian writers, Zainab Khoja, Maria Abbas and Farha Khalil . , and from Sudan, Dr. Mariam Waqi Allah and Shadia Abdel Moneim.

The workshop also produced the book “Our Biography: Wings Beyond Borders” by Syrian author Etienne Bacler and the book “The Alienation of the Soul” by Syrian author Bushra Majoub, which was published by Safsafa Publishing House in Cairo. Also sponsored the publication of two books written by Dr. Mustafa: “Our Grandmothers, The Richness of Memory” and “You.” Beautiful”, a book that discusses beauty issues and standards.

The activities of the “Mendi” organization also published the book “Coffee Sodomites in the Memory of Exiles” written by Eritrean writers Khadija Nour, Fatima Ahmed and Asmahan al-Numan and Sudanese writers Amal al-Sadiq, Fatima al-Gaghhi and Al-Sadiq. Bit al-Muna.

“Mandy” also organized two conferences during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic – with the participation of Arab immigrant women in Europe, the first: “Sudanese Women; Diversity and Issues of Peace and Development,” which was attended by 40 women from around the world. Many countries participated and expertise and experiences were exchanged with Canadian women activists, British women, and women from several African and Arab countries; Such as Beman and Faiza Harbi from Egypt, Sawan Amin and Nada Al-Khwam from Iraq, and Hurriya Ali Jama from Eritrea.

As far as the second conference is concerned, it was about creativity and reproduction of knowledge. It was dedicated to the spirit of the late Sudanese storyteller Issa al-Helou, and dealt with a number of issues such as intellectual property rights, publishing problems, and reproduction. of knowledge.

According to its president, the organization also took the initiative to provide a grant called the “Malika Al Dar Bread and Roses Scholarship” in honor of the first Sudanese novelist, Professor Malika Al Dar Muhammad Abdullah.

Since its establishment in 2021, the organization has also organized three workshops in collaboration with local organizations in Kosti, Al-Damazin and Port Sudan, which were attended by 65 young men and women under the slogan: “Writing for Social Change “

Achievements of “Banat Mendi” art

Dr Mustafa says the “Mandi” projects have achieved successes that have received praise in the media, with their goal being to “highlight the role of male and female migrants in supporting their countries”.

They conclude: “After the outbreak of the current war in Sudan between the National Army and the Rapid Support Forces, the institution focused on a project called “From Vienna, peace to Sudan”, where two programs funded by Austrian organizations were organised. , in which he focused on the role of art in strengthening the culture of peace.

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