Muted celebrations for Sudan's first post-Bashir Eid

The currency has plunged by 70% against the US dollar on the black market since October.

15 August 2019 | Economics

The situation is getting worse, there is no work, no income and no investment. - Mohamed Abdullah, Farmer

Jean Marc Mojon - As Muslims in Khartoum marked their first Eid al-Adha feast without Omar al-Bashir as a ruler in three decades, the mood was upbeat Sunday but the menu stayed frugal.

Months of bloody anti-regime protests created a historic opportunity for civilian rule in Sudan but also saw prices soar, putting a damper on celebrations.

In Khartoum markets, the price of a sheep - a must in the Feast of the Sacrifice which is considered the holiest day in the Muslim calendar - has doubled since last year.

"You used to be able to find a sheep for 3 500" Sudanese pounds (US$60), said Mohamed Abdullah, a farmer who lives on Tuti, a rural island wedged between the twin cities of Khartoum and Omdurman, where the Blue and White Nile meet.

This year he paid 8 000 pounds, an amount he couldn't really afford even after raising the selling price of the milk from the few cows he rears on a small plot by the riverbank.

"I have three children, I had to bring them something for the feast," the greying 43-year-old said.

Lack of cash

In Khartoum's Bori neighbourhood, considered one of the cradles of the protest movement that brought down Bashir earlier this year, an Eid market known for its low prices is witnessing record turnover.

"There's a lack of cash in Sudan at the moment. Here we are using electronic payment cards a lot, to make it easier for the people," said one of the traders, Maki Amir.

"Many people feel happy because of the revolution and the peace that was signed last week, that's why they want a real Eid celebration," he said.

Sudan's economy was sent into a tailspin when the oil-rich south seceded in 2011 and the past eight months of turmoil - which initially erupted with protests over a tripling of bread prices - have taken a further toll.

As buyers swarmed the huddled sheep on the dusty open market ground and inspected the animals' teeth, the haggling was sometimes acrimonious.

Some men looking to buy a sheep to slaughter blamed traders for taking advantage of the power vacuum to raise their prices.

The traders retorted they were being taxed by the government more than ever before.

Revolution

Since the last devaluation of the pound in October by the then Sudanese authorities, the currency has plunged by a further 70% against the US dollar on the black market.

A deal was reached this month between the country's generals and protest leaders to transition to civilian rule in just over three years.

The landmark constitutional agreement is to be signed at a ceremony on August 17 but, even if its provisions are implemented, the country remains on the brink of economic collapse.

On the capital's walls, some of the protest murals have already been painted over and its streets were largely empty, many residents having left town to celebrate Eid al-Adha in their villages.

At the market in Bori, Amir Abdullah came to buy a goat for an expatriate friend who wants it donated to charity but he will not be able to afford one for himself this year.

He also said celebrating did not feel like a priority after so many protesters, an estimated 250, were killed in their efforts to take down the military regime.

"Eid is not the same for everybody. Now I'm still in mourning for those who lost their lives," said Abdullah, sweat pearling on his forehead from the afternoon heat.

"Definitely, the situation is getting worse, there is no work, no income and no investment ... but we have to stay focused on achieving the goals of the revolution: freedom, peace and justice." – Nampa/AFP

Similar News

 

Xi’s bad year clouds China's celebrations

3 days ago - 22 August 2019 | Economics

Helen Roxburgh - It was meant to be an unabashed celebration of the triumph of Communism in China, and of president Xi Jinping's authority as...

Solar-irrigated farms face hungry elephants

3 days ago - 22 August 2019 | Economics

Lungelo Ndhlovu - When one of Zimbabwe's first solar mini-grid systems was installed in this drought-prone village near the Botswana border in 2016, residents thought...

SA inflation dips as growth slows

3 days ago - 22 August 2019 | Economics

South Africa's inflation last month dipped to 4.0%, its lowest level since January, the statistics agency said yesterday. In June, inflation was 4.5%.The decline was...

Water pollution an 'invisible threat' to global goals

3 days ago - 22 August 2019 | Economics

Kim Harrisberg – Water pollution threatens nearly all the globally agreed development goals to end environmental destruction, poverty and suffering by 2030, economists warned in...

'Insolvent' NBC wants bigger bailout

4 days ago - 21 August 2019 | Economics

The NBC needs N$313.2 million and N$4 million respectively from government to pay its outstanding liability in the form of post-medical aid benefits and severance...

Ghana cashes in on slave heritage tourism

4 days ago - 21 August 2019 | Economics

Alessandra Prentice and Siphiwe Sibeko - In a clearing at the turnoff to Assin Manso, a billboard depicts two African slaves in loincloths, their arms...

Recognising traditional authorities ‘costly’

4 days ago - 21 August 2019 | Economics

GOBABIS - President Hage Geingob said the constant applications for the recognition of traditional authorities is financially unsustainable for government and causes tribal division.Speaking at...

Africa Briefs

4 days ago - 21 August 2019 | Economics

SA: No 'big bang' approach to nuclearSouth Africa will not adopt a "big bang" approach to building new nuclear power capacity but instead add capacity...

US economists expect recession in 2020 or 2021

4 days ago - 21 August 2019 | Economics

Washington - A majority of economists expect a US recession in the next two years, but have pushed back the onset amid Federal Reserve actions.A...

White House mulling tax cut

4 days ago - 21 August 2019 | Economics

Washington - The White House is considering cutting taxes or reversing tariffs to head off a recession, US media reported yesterday, despite president Donald Trump's...

Latest News

Soldier charged with shebeen burglaries

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Crime

A member of the Namibia Defence Force has been arrested in connection with burglaries at six shebeens at Okakango location in Ondangwa.Operation Kalahari members have...

Letting the big fish swim

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Columns

Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa has opened a Pandora's Box, following her revelations this week that any hopes of Namibia recovering the over N$600 million lost in...

Swapo threatened with court action

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Politics

Five Swapo members have threatened to take the party to court if their demand for the re-run of the Otjiwarongo district renewal of mandate process...

Dumpsite scramble

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Environment

Several municipalities are moving fast to comply with the ministry of environment's new regulations, which require towns to obtain environmental clearance certificates for their dumpsites.So...

Khomas elects Swapo 'pot' contenders

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Politics

The Swapo leadership in the Khomas Region have elected businesswoman Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun and 30-year-old City of Windhoek councillor Ian Subasubani to stand as National Assembly...

Land acquisition fund deemed unnecessary

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Agriculture

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts Committee questioned the existence of the Land Acquisition and Development Fund because government already has a finance system...

Certified royalty

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Art and Entertainment

King Tee Dee, formerly known as The Dogg, is an artist who has come full circle. After many years spent dominating the music scene by...

Battling creative exhaustion

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Columns

We have all heard this advice before - we can't continue to be productive and creative if we exhaust ourselves, or if we fail to...

The Fashion Soireè returns

2 days ago - 23 August 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Hosted by three of Namibia's fashion darlings; Reinhard Mahalie, Jay Aeron and Rumano Fabrishh, The Fashion Soireè is the first of its kind in Namibia.More...

Load More