Dancing to the sunset
It is not easy to find it if you don’t know the location – the Hamaad Al Neel Cemetery in Omdurman in Khartoum. It took us two attempts to see the Sufi dances, one of the attractions of Khartoum taking place every Friday afternoon.
The first time we came too late and just witnessed spectators leaving the rather dusty cemetery.
This Friday we made sure we came early. Possibly too early, and by the time the event starts we already feel the heat and exhaustion of the day while the kids are getting increasingly impatient.
The event builds up slowly. A quick online research has told us that the Sufi dances are part of a cultural manifestation that has survived the centuries and played a key role in preserving the identity of a community throughout the centuries and times of occupation.
Indeed, apart from the numerous mobile phones of spectators capturing the event, one gets the feeling that you could be hundred years back in time. The dances seem to be a manifestation of a custom at the crossroads of cultures that is still as valid today as it was centuries ago.