Throughout the ages, handicrafts in Sudan have remained an important feature of the African country’s cultural diversity that reflects the multiplicity of its tribes and heritage.
In the Nile Tourism and Shopping Festival, kicked off on Sunday in Nahral Neel State’s capital of Shendi, some 166 km north of the Sudanese capital Khartoum, handicrafts constituted a remarkable element of tourism attraction.
The displayed handicrafts in the festival were varied, namely with regard to the materials used in making them including palm leaves, wood, leather, iron and others not to mention the fact that the products have reflected creativity of the craftsmen in terms of using the colors and decorations.
“Since the ancient times, the handicrafts in Sudan have been a landmark of the Sudanese culture and a feature of the Sudanese identity,” Ali Al-Tayeb Al-Baqir, director of programs and cultural activities at the festival said.
“Each area in Sudan has its handicrafts that are greatly associated with the local environment. At the same time, these crafts have constituted a means of human communication among the different population groups,” he added.
The handicrafts made of the palm leaves have particularly attracted the attention of the festival’s visitors whereas Nahral-Neel State in northern Sudan is famous for Palm trees.
Palm leaves constitute a major source for many handicrafts including mats which are sometimes used as prayer rugs, and baskets which are used for carrying fruits and vegetables.
Al-Haj Ratab Hanna Saeed, a craftsman in Shendi town, told Xinhua that “this is an ancient profession that we inherited from our ancestors.”
“We utilize the local materials such as palm leaves and animal wool to make local products such as mats and food baskets. We also make decorative products,” he said.
He added that hand weaving depends on individual skills that the craftsman acquires by practicing, noting that “the craftsman should be skillful in using the primary materials available in the local natural environment and at the same time works to develop his skills.”
In the meantime, in the simple village communities, handicrafts help provide people with their needs of clothing, furniture, shelter and other daily life tools.
To this end, Al-Haja Saroura Al-Hassan, a women from Shendi in north Sudan, told Xinhua that she has been working in the field of handicrafts for years, particularly palm leaves products including baskets and different types of mats.”
Despite the current advancement in industries, handicrafts in Sudan are still enduring and keeping their place as a cultural feature that reflects Sudan’s identity.