Ahfad, Sports and Self-discovery

Doha Hashim Khalifa

My friend once asked me a very important question why do I study in Ahfad? That was back when I was still in my first year, I didn’t have an answer which made me question my own decision, but as I grew older and wiser I’ve come to realize that Ahfad is more than a university it’s a journey through which I myself got to experience pretty much everything I wished and hoped for.

I’m currently a fourth year student which means I’ve been in Ahfad for five years, long as they might seem they have truly flown by. One of the things I love about my university which I would not have found anywhere else in Sudan is the fact that I can still play sports. Playing basketball and football have been a joy to me ever since I was maybe 13 and when you reach a certain age in Sudan people expect you as a female to start behaving like a “girl” and become feminine overnight, being the stubborn person I am, I stood against all those beliefs and decided to keep enjoying life as it is, this is where Ahfad like a light in the dark saved me. I’ve been playing all kinds of sports ever since I become a student both on personal and competitive levels; I’ve even started practicing new ones, all because I simply can.

Being a student in Ahfad means you have the freedom to practice any kind of talent you previously had, and have the chance to acquire new ones, from music, drama and even art. Discovering your talent will not only boost your self confidence and help you find your way through college but also allows you to discover new aspects of yourself and perfect them.

There it is, one of the many reasons I have chosen Ahfad as my home for the next two years of my life, and if I had to I would do it all over again, because it has and will still continue on proving to be a truly rewarding experience.

To Connecting Girls

Khadiga Babiker Badri

Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures is the theme for this year’s Women’s Week—an event organised annually by the staff and students of Ahfad University for Women.  A theme is chosen every year, usually in accordance with the global theme of International Women’s Day, and the competitions begin. The different schools of the university work to make the theme into a work of art, painting, theatrical drama, poetry or song, and compete amongst themselves, also through sports and debate, for the ultimate prize, the Women’s Week Cup.  I can honestly say that I have seen, heard and breathed the personification of this very statement on the week leading up to and culminating in the women of Sudan dancing in front of Al-Hafeed library to powerful words, enticing a billion women around the world to break the chain.

One Billion Rising is a global movement that was replicated all over the world on February 14, 2013.  It was organized in Khartoum through a collaboration between Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre, Makaan, UNFPA, Salmmah’s friends, Open Mic Nights Khartoum, Sudanese Women Empowerment for Peace (SuWEP), VDAY, the British Embassy, Babiker Badri’s Scientific Association for Women Studies, SEEMA Centre, Sudanese Organization for Research & Development (SORD), Blue Nile Lotus, Seema Center and Motawinat Group.

The impassioned women of Ahfad, young and old, practiced diligently, at their homes, at the university club, in the corridors, in between lectures, and at the student centre. For days, within the walls of Ahfad, the chants could be heard at every corner, while its women danced for themselves and for each other, in pairs, in threes, and in hundreds. Teasing each other, correcting each other, and teaching each other, devoutly preparing for the fourteenth day of February, when they would dance and rise to break the chain of violence committed against the women of their country, Africa, and the world.

It was a truly glorious experience. Whilst we stood in lines, the other inconsequential lines, were blown away.  Girls of different ages, academic levels, from different countries, and social backgrounds struck up conversations and bonded on how best to time the box steps, or whether to break the chain circle beginning from the left or the right. Even in this time, when Women’s Week is knocking on our doors and interschool competitions reach an all-time high, the competitive digs and remarks were set aside and delayed for another day.

On the most unconventional of Valentine’s Days, hundreds of women stood in lines, mostly dressed in black but different in every other way. They came together in front of the library and danced to break the chain. We weren’t a billion in number, but in spirit. There were synchronised and occasionally spontaneous turns and pivots, box steps and cha-cha-chas. After days of practice, our efforts were finally rewarded. It was, to me personally, one of the most exhilarating, goose-bump raising and moving moments I experienced in my life.

On that day, I not only understood but profoundly felt the meaning of connecting girls, inspiring futures.