“A self-made man is one who believes in luck and sends his son to Oxford.”
Christina Stead: “House of All Nations: Credo”
“he was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.”
Joseph Heller: “Catch-22.ch3”
“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”
Werner Heisenberg: “Physics and Beyond”
I am from a working-class neighborhood in south Omdurman, Khartoum Sudan. My father was a butcher at Khartoum central meat & vegetable market.
Like all working-class neighborhood in the world life was tough, with incessant quarrels among peers, who play football together and swim in the white Nile west of Khartoum when it swells in alttumn.
I attends elementary school [B] when I became seven years old. I’m the youngest of seven brothers & sisters with a deep interest in literature & music. My father used to pay me a whole Piaster for singing to him some of the songs of his favorite singer Salah Ibn Albadya, and send him roaring with laughter doing some Khidir Bashir songs.
I was so calm as a boy with some strange turns of phrases that makes my mates calling me ‘crazy’. However, at the same time, I was the leader of the gang when we decided to attack children of the next block with red pepper as our weapon.
In the second year at the school I cajoled my elder sister in secondary school and my elder brother in Junior school to give me lessons in English language; and, man, how quickly I made progress in it; when we got into argument about the right spelling of the word “Bicycle” I wrote it on the dust from one end of the street to the other, with my playmate checking the letters like survey inspectors; and I won.
In our village, there was a local committee for transport with old ford buses, and each boy chose a bus as his favorite with its driver as the hero among the drivers.
One day I decided to go to Omdurman city to explore the world. In my boyhood it was self-evident that the Bed Ford buses and Hillman taxi cabs were made in Sudan; not even Egypt, our neighbored to the north was in my map of the world, let alone England or America or Germany.
In the Dhura market in a little bookshop called Akacha bookshop, I found Tarzan stories and Arsen Lupin adventures. I forthwith become in addicted to them. Then the horizon of my life started to widen with my discovery of three cinema houses: Alwatania-Omdurman-AL-arda. I became a constant victor of them each evening to watch “Roman Films” as we called them with heroes like “Steve Reeves” in films with the names “Macista” “Zenobia” and American west films with men like, Gray Cooper, Randolph Scott, Audie Murphy, Marlene Monroe, Rita Hayworth ………….
And also Indian and Egyptian black & white films.
Now, came the time for our final exams to go to junior high school in Omdurman I passed the exams, but my father came up with a strange division of our fates; he decided that I accompany him to Khartoum meat market to learn the trade of a butcher’s!
Coming up with a very cynic and utilitarian explanation, saying that I’m of a “Strong Eye” meaning not shy with a ready ability to socialize with other people, while he decided my brother and sister should go on with their education!
Not knowing what I was going to lose and with the promise of money in my pocket I quickly agreed to his plan, and that was it.
With the butcher community in Khartoum, I lived a life of comfort and money opened a new vista in my life; I discovered the world of music in vinyl and cassettes formats.
I Was captivated with Blues, R&B, Soul Rock, Reggae, and the classic music western tradition.
In the recess time in the marked, the older and richer wholesale butchers came to rest under a large tree to discuss politics and partake of jocks. I was attracted to their discussions and they used to send me to their newspapers kiosks and stands to get them daily newspapers and the Egyptian colored magazines
in my spare time after delicious breakfast and coffee, I stroll near Khartoum grand mosque where they sold books, what become known as pavement bookshops and I felt attraction toward books of law in English.
At that time an older man told me of the British Council Libraries(B.C.L) and with no effort, I become a member. The books were well-bound and flabbergasting in their subjects and diversity. And there began my long and pleasing journey with books & music.
At the summit of my book world, I began to attend the cultural events in foreign embassies like lectures and music spectacles. With the enlargement of my social and intellectual horizon I entreated my father to let me go back to school! He said with a cold wisdom:-
“بعد ما شاب دخَّلو الكتاب!”
“after the white hair one should never go back to elementary school!”
A few months later, after a heart complaint, my father died. But before he died my mother died first, then my father remarried; and I think he paid dearly for the move, become the traditional wisdom goes:-
“العجز و العسل لا يتفقان ”
“Love honey and old age
Are never good friends!”
I contacted the principal of a high secondary school and he accepted me as a third-class student. I sat for the matriculation exam and the central Acceptance Bureau (C.A.B) offered me a fellowship to study law at Cairo University.
However, for certain reasons, I studied the law at Cairo university Khartoum branch (C.U.K.B)
I would like to do my master’s and Ph.D. at one of the European or American universities.
This is my dream; and I hope it comes true. I’m, I know, perhaps keenly, destined to be a writer. And sometimes I wonder what is the common like between:-
E. Hemingway and Tayib Salih
M. Proust and James Baldwin?
how can you help me?
if you would like to help me to achieve my dream you can support me on Patreon or you can send me an email at:
or you can contact me throw the contact me page.
thanks a lot for your support
please accept my warm greetings.