Sudanow Mourns Outstanding Journalist, Translator Mohamed Ali Saeed

Sudanow Mourns Outstanding Journalist, Translator Mohamed Ali Saeed

By: Mohamed Osman Adam

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - It is with grief and feeling of bitter sadness that Sudanow and its staff mourn Mohamed Ali Saeed, an outstanding journalist, editor and translator. Mohamed Ali Saeed who passed away on Monday the 3rd of August 2020, was a dear friend and a colleague who contributed articles and press pickups for Sudanow since it has come on line.

The magazine was honored to publish his outstanding, and up to par, translations and press columns picks.

The magazine's Consultant Mohamed Osman Adam wrote the following on the sad event, reflecting on the feeling of our staffers.

Editor in chief


This was the man I knew.

Few are those who could reconcile pragmatism with principles. Mohamed Ali Saeed was one of them. For thirty five years that I came to know him, never have I seen him deviate from the principles of integrity, and believing that one should always respect the choice of fellow men, that God created people, not men, equal, therefore no one should ever question that creation and their right to make choice and bear the consequences. He acted as he believed and he believed in what he did. I could bear witness to that. He discussed ideas and how men are positioned vis-a-vis those ideas. 

Few people could rein the temptation of gossiping behind other people’s back. I could swear that I have never heard him gossiping behind people’s back. One could simulate such an attitude for one year, two year or even a decade but for three decades that would be an innate nature. This was Mohamed Ali Saeed.

I remember when he was ungraciously dismissed back in 2009, under the infamous “public interest” law that was blindly used by the defunct regime to settle accounts with opponents, and how the reception people at SUNA handed me the dismissal paper to break the news for him. It was I who was in shamble and weakness. He was the consoling me. A few years later, they tried to get him back, offering him a raiser and a promotion. He refused and turned down the offer. So long as “they” are in power, he said, he would not work for “them”. He did not until his sad departure last Monday the 3rd of 

August, three days before a scheduled meeting at his home. We used to meet at least once every three months after he stayed home. He was never inactive, never was he a man who dwelt a lot on the past. He was a man who always looked hopeful for the future. He raised a successful family. His children were his friends, up until he left them. Professionally am not in position to assess the work of a man who taught me how to pick a new angle in any event and to make of any event a news story worthy of reading. He always used to get the core, go to the point, pinpoint what is worthy of being read.  He used to empower people around him. He was never selfish. I would challenge any one who worked with him to pick one case, only on singe case, in which he found Mohamed Ali Mohamed Saeed Al Mihaina, who passed on Monday at the age of 81, was yelling or fighting, or raising his voice. He was aggressed even by junior employees. He was physically strong to handle any but he did not. He would gracefully overcome and they came back to apologize to him. 

This was how he wrote his CV when we were about to establish a translation firm. He insisted it should be my own and he would only assist “I have my time. It is your call” he said. He remained my mentor. One thing though, I would wait to see how his soul mate Mohamed El Fatih Sidahamed, former deputy general manager of the Sudan News Agency, would write about him. In them I saw the personification of pure friendship.


Just look how he wrote it:

- Surname: Saeed, First name: Mohamed, Middle name: Ali

- Date of Birth: 1 January 1939

- Place of Birth: Khartoum, Sudan

- Faculty of Arts, University of Khartoum, Sudan,

Years attended: From 1959 to 1963

Degree obtained: Bachelor of Arts (BA), English Language


- Hantoub High School, Wad Medani, Sudan

Years attended: From 1955 to 1959

General education

Certificate obtained: Sudan School Certificate


- Ameeriya Intermediate School, Wad Medani, Sudan

Years attended: From 1951 to 1955

General education

Certificate obtained: Intermediate School Certificate


- Wad Medani Primary School, Wad Medani, Sudan

Years attended: From 1946 to 1951

General education

Certificate obtained: Primary School Certificate


Employment Record:


- Agence France-Presse (AFP), correspondent, Sudan-based

Duration of service: From 1983 to 2008

Reason for leaving: Optional retirement

- Sudan News Agency (SUNA), journalist

Head of Section, English News Service, overseeing publication of English daily bulletin and Weekly Review

Duration of Service: From 1971 to 1993

Reason for leaving: Forced retirement

- Ministry of Defense, Saudi Arabia


Duration of Service: From 1963 to 1970

Reason for leaving: Home sickness



May Allah rest his soul in peace


  1. Awatif Jibreel

    بداية اترحم على فقيد سونا النادر القامة المهنية ذو الخلق الرفيع استاذنا محمد على محمد سعيد تغمده الله بواسع رحمته ورضوانه تعجز الكلمات عن نعى ووصف استاذنا العزيز الذى له من الصفات ماجعلته محل احترام الكل فهو يتعامل بتقدير واحترام مع صغار المحررين قبل كبارهم ولم يكن يبخل بعلمه ومعرفته الثرة على كل المبتدئين والمتدربين وناشئة المحررين بالوكالة .له اخلاق عالية .عرف طوال فترة عمله بالوكالة بحسن التعامل مع الكل ولم يعرف عنه يوما ان احتد مع احد او رفع صوته على احد كان هادئا ومسالما لكنه كان مصادما فى قول الحق وانتزاع حقوق منسوبى ادارته من ادارة الوكالة فقد كان اداريا ناجحا كسب ود جميع العاملين بادارته لحرصه على تلبية جميع مطالبهم وتوفير بيئة عمل ملائمة لهم ... ... كان محبا لعمله نشيطا نابها وكان يفيد كل من قصده فى عمل مهني يتعلق بالترجمة .. كان مالكا لناصية اللغة الانجليزية وبارعا فيها وفى ترجمة نصوصها الى العربية ومن العربية للانجليزية استاذ محمد من جيل نتعشم ان يتكرر حتى تستفيد بلادنا وتصل لما نصبو اليه من رقى وتقدم واعتقد جازمة ان معرفة اللغات الاجنبية احد وسائل الوصول لهذه الاهداف حار التعازى لاسرة الفقيد الصغيرة والكبيرة بل لكل اهل المسعودية وعزاء خاص لاهل سونا الموجوعين ولكل معارفه وتلاميذه على امتداد بلادنا الحبيبة . دمت هانئا فى كنف الرحمن فى جناته العلى والف رحمة عليك ومغفرة

  2. Adil Babikir

    To young graduates in the late 1970s, joining the Sudan news Agency (SUNA) was more than a dream. The state- owned news agency offered not only attractive financial packages, substantially higher than what was then available in the local market, but also unparalleled chances for building successful careers in journalism, editing, and translation. Beside its mainstream Arabic service, SUNA had a fully-fledged English service that produced a daily news bulletin and a weekly journal of feature articles. Furthermore, the English Editing Department served as a “booth” for local correspondents of international news agencies, such as Reuters, the Associated Press, AFP, and others. It was there that everybody found help and good company from Saeed, whether he was a foreign visitor or a Sudanese. It was still the telex age in Sudan and to new recruits, the sight of hot news feeds flowing out of the tickers as events unfolded around the world was a marvelous experience. No less marvelous was the opportunity to work under such great translators and editors as Mr. Ahmed el-Nagar and Mr. Mohammed Ali Mohammed Saeed. “Uncle Nagar’, as we used to call him, was a true master who could tackle the most stubborn Arabic texts and render them, with amazing ease, into impeccable English. Our exposure to Uncle Nagar’s talent was shorter than we had hoped; less than a year after we had joined the English Department; he accepted an employment offer in Saudi Arabia. But he left us in the capable hands of the late Mohammed Ali Mohammed Saeed. As the head of both the Home News and the Weekly Review, Saeed patiently tried to nudge us out of the nest by sharing his superb skills in editing news and in writing feature articles. We still remember our carbon copies of the English bulletin littered with his extensive comments and us gathering in that tiny room trying to decipher his handwriting, and to learn more! Saeed’s splendid writing very soon caught the eyes of the French Agence France Press which was looking for a caliber journalist with mastery of English to report the events of Sudan for them: They picked Saeed on part time basis, which was later on up-scaled to the status of Khartoum correspondent, with full salary and excellent service benefits. Saeed’s long association with the AFP, from 1983 to 2008, helped position the French media organization as one of the most reliable sources of news on Sudan, thanks to Saeed’s balanced and informative reporting. Saeed was a striking example of a self-made man. His insatiable passion for knowledge had not only sharpened his language skills but also endowed him with an enviable combination of personal human qualities, insightfulness, broadmindedness, and openheartedness, to name a few. Those, along with his natural modesty and kindness, won him the admiration of all those who worked with him. I think I speak for all my ex-colleagues who had worked under him in the English Editing Department or have known him elsewhere when I express my deep grief at the loss of such a compassionate person and a man who had had an in-erasable imprint on our individual careers. *Adil Babikir is a translator, copy writer, based in the Untied Arab Emirates.

  3. Al Zaki Abdul Hamid Ahmed

    "A great man who was always willing to be little" This famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the renowned American poet, leader of the Transcendentalist Movement of the 19th century reminds me of a man I owe a great deal to. A man I held in high esteem the moment I first saw him. By offering a fantastic work culture and workplace environment that attracts and retains superior employees the Sudan News agency (SUNA) in the mid-seventies was the employer of choice for many graduates like myself. The on-job training opportunities for translation and editing young professionals SUNA offered then attracted me most to join them in August 1975. "Honest, open and respectful two-way dialogue between management and employees is the norm here as we strive to promote a co-operative and collaborative workplace to unlock the full potential of our people" my mentor Mohammed Ali Mohammed Saeed told me on the first day I joined SUNA. This was followed by a lengthy interview which I thought was meant to enable the new comers to explore their options, reflect their strengths and set their career path. "You will spend a short period in the Home News Desk where you will get a feel of the translation art SUNA offers to its readers. Then you will be moved to another area where you can develop your writing potentials further" he suggested. I started my initial work with high caliber translators. They were gifted professionals who spared no effort in extending a helping hand to me. Prior to joining SUNA I considered myself a capable translator. But this soon turned out to be a false self-motivated assumption. The real translation work started here under the supervision of the ablest translators the country had witnessed then. My mentor was my team leader. Then he moved me to another section where feature writing, interviewing and news analysis were the core business. Mohammed Ali Mohammed Saeed remained my mentor and supervisor. Under his close supervision I learned how to write investigative reports, news stories, reviews, and feature writing. We were a group of five or six graduates who worked in the Weekly Review Section of the English News Desk. We all now have lost a great team leader. We have lost a man whose leadership kept the team's espirit de corps intact during difficult times-and these were many-is missed. This great man's demise early August this year was a great loss not only to me but to many of our team players, his employer and to the Sudan. The death of a great translator, editor and coach is unbearable by anyone who knew him in one way or other. I am so sorry for the loss of this great translator, editor and coach who was always willing to be little. A man who had taught me that "the deterioration of the ego begins with the acceptance of being imperfect and being humble to others". A man who was so self-efficacious that he wouldn't feel the impetus to boast about himself but instead would let his actions speak for his ideals. And surely they do! May Allah rest his soul in peace. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.

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Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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