By Yomna El-Saeed
Nubians have their own language, cuisine, and whole culture that is totally different from the rest of Egypt. But unfortunately most people are not aware of it.
That is why a group of 14 Nubian youth living in Cairo who call themselves Nubian Knights, created a page on Facebook in July 2012 with the same name. The page aims to revive and spread the Nubian language, culture, art, and heritage. They share links and pictures of Nubian food, musical instruments, their famous figures, and they also share news of Nubia. In addition, they have accounts on YouTube and Sound Cloud to serve the same goal.
By the end of last month Nubian Knights took a unique step forward to spread the endangered culture by launching a radio station; the first online Nubian radio station in Egypt.
“Our colleague Loay Maher came up with this idea. We thought launching an online radio station would pay off because most of the youth now use the internet” Dina Shaaban, one of the Nubian knights and an admin of the page, told Daily News. She then continued, “We are still at the beginning, so the station now broadcasts Nubian songs only until we attract more audience and be able to start programmes on it”
Shaaban sorrowfully explained that “Egyptians don’t know anything about Nubia’s [rich] culture, only the henna drawings and the way brides look like”. This was the main reason behind launching the station. “We want to make our programmes informative about our culture and history. We also want to focus on the language. It would be easier for our audience to learn the language through listening on the radio, rather than writing,” Shaaban said.
Political unrest and the current curfew were not helpful: “We have so many things to do, but we are now stopping our activities due to the current events.” Shaaban said.
They also face difficult obstacles that prevent them from organising events. “We generally have a problem in finding places. It is very hard to book a place, especially if it’s a historical place because we are not working officially; we are just a group of young fresh grads. We also can’t found an NGO because we don’t have headquarters. If things become easier we will be able to organise events more frequently,” Shaaban explained.
Nubian Knights organise events like workshops to teach Nubian handicrafts, Nubian concerts, honour Nubia’s big singers, spread Nubian traditions in Ramadan, and many others. They are also involved in the community; last March, the knights organised an event to visit the pyramids to encourage internal tourism.
Nubian Knights radio station is available online.