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Wise Sayings and Proverbs among Andaandi- and Mattokki-speaking Nubians

Researcher: Marcus Jaeger
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Anne Storch, PD Dr. Angelika Mietzner

This work grasps some aspects of ethnic consciousness and the construction of identity among the Andaandi/Dongolawi and Mattokki/Kenzi Nile-Nubian groups/speakers in the Sudan and Egypt by looking at their proverbs.

Proverbs and their metaphors provide a platform for gaining an insight into the diversity of Nubian lives, their languages and their rich culture. With modern means of knowledge distribution, proverbial research has to be framed in a global context. Human beings all over the globe may access the wisdom formerly passed on locally and benefit from it. Besides the interested scholar this includes the Nubian diaspora, mainly in the Arab Gulf States, Europe and North America. Aspects of colonialism and postcolonialism are considered, as a considerable amount of the literature about Nubia stems from colonial times. Methods are chosen accordingly, such as Postcolonial Linguistics and Southern Theory. A long-term approach based on voluntary participation, mutual responsibility, working in group settings, avoiding creating hierarchies, and empowering the insider provide a shared space shaped by inside researchers, other research participants, and outside researchers. Nubians wanting to transfer their linguistic and cultural insight to other Nubians or even to the West are supported.

Parallel to the collection and analysis of the proverbs a Nubian computer font has been developed based on the specifications set by Nubians themselves. Nubian teachers teach the Nubian script in literacy classes. By writing the proverbs in Nubian characters literate Nubians are able to read them.

The point of departure for gathering Andaandi and Mattokki proverbs were two proverb collections, one by ḤĀMID KHABĪR AL-SHAIKH, an Andaandi-speaking farmer, twice published, and another one by two unnamed Egyptian Mattokki students, still unpublished and preserved by MAHER HABBOB, a Fadija Nubian grassroots scholar and proverbs collector.


Selected bibliography

  • Ḥāmid Khabīr al-Shaikh. 2016. Nubian Wisdom and Proverbs from Dongola. حكم و امثال نوبية من دنقلا: جمعية دنقلا للثقافة و التراث النوبي. Khartoum: without publisher.
  • Maher Habbob. 2022. Nubian proverbs (Fadijja/Mahas). Dotawo Monograph 4. Punctum books.
  • Mokhtar Khalil [Kabbara]. 1999. ⲛⲟⲃⲓ̄ⳟⳟⲁ ⲕⲟⲩⲗ - ⲛⲟⲃⲓ̄ⲅ ⲕⲟ̅ⲩ̅ⲣ: تعلم اللغة النوبية. Cairo: Nubian Studies and Documentation Centre.