KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The capricious hand of death this year had its heavy toll on several of Sudan’s dramatists and musicians.
The long list includes Actor, Professor of Drama Abdelhakeem Altahir and playwright, actor, Izzeddin Hilali.
In Music the country had lost musician, singer and professor of music Osman Mustafa and Jazz singer and musician Kamal Kaila.
Just in the first days of 2021, the theatre circles and the public were bereaved by the death of dramatist Abdehakeem Altahir, widely known by the nickname Captain Cabo, a title he earned for role of a bombastic football player he played in the famous play “The Suiciders Trade Union.”
Tahir reportedly died of Covid 19 infection.
Cinema Director Abbadi Mahjoub, in a speech to Sudanow, said Tahir’s was a loss to Sudan and to the College of Music and Drama (Sudan University of Science and Technology). "He was a rare master of drama, in terms of his creativity a professionalism as an actor. He had nurtured a sizable number of young drama stars, who are prepared to carry the drama banner after him, God willing”, said Majoub.
“Altahir is one of the pillars of theatre in our country, both as actor and a director with wide contributions in the progress of Sudanese drama. He had presented outstanding theatre TV and radio works.
In addition Altahir is a professor, a doctor of drama who respects his work thoroughly well. In this he stands like a young pupil before the director of a scene he is assigned to play, listening carefully to what he should do.
Altahir is an artist and actor from category of big actors, respects his art and lives the role he plays in a legendary manner that the spectator would forget his real name and keep him in memory with his name on theatre.
The late Altahir had also acted in the famous work “A Very Special Mission,”. He also co-acted with me in the two-part serial “A Paper Tiger”, among a big number of stars. In that serial Altahir played the pivotal role of the Alumda (The mayor), remembers director Mahjoub also.
The late Altahir was born in 1949 in the Northern Sudanese village of Alaffad.
He was orphaned as a very young kid. This had obliged him to serve at this very early age as simple laborer in a factory in Khartoum North. Fingers from his hand were chopped off during his factory work in 1962.
In the meantime he insisted to continue with his education, joining a night school for adults.
Later on he opted for the study of drama, graduating in 1981 from the then Institute of Music and Drama (later on renamed the Music and Drama College.)
He then obtained an MA degree in Drama from the University of Cairo (Egypt) in 2000 and then a PhD degree in drama from the Sudan University of Science and Technology in 2008.
Dr. Altahir is also seen as the pioneer of the Theatre For the Deaf in Sudan. In this respect he won the prize for ‘outstanding show’ in Spain in 2003.
The theatre of the deaf productions combine sign language with spoken language to fulfill the theare’s mission statement of linking the deaf and hearing communities, providing more exposure to sign language and educating the public about the art of the deaf.
In this area Altahir had often participated with deaf persons in shows and shows of children folk art outside the country.
Earlier in the year, the Sudanese drama community was saddened by the death of a number of dramatists.
The list includes artist, Dr. Alhadi Alsiddiq (72 years) who died in a car accident in May 30. He had joined the Drama Institute since its launch in 1969.
He started drama activity with the Sudan radio and TV, both writing plays, directing and acting.
He also presented touching shows on the theatre.
He served as professor of Drama at the Gezira University for 20 years. For several times Siddiq had obtained the title of the best actor in Sudan.
He had participated in the launch of some theatres in Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.
In June 2020, Sudan also mourned dramatist, Dr. Izzeddin Hilali, one of a number of Sudanese figures obsessed with theatrical matters.
As an outstanding dramatist, Dr. Hilali had had a lot of intellectual contributions that benefited drama students and drama lovers a good deal.
He was thoroughly known in Arab drama circles and with his good presence on the Arab cultural scene.
In November 2020 Sudan lost actor and theatre director Yasir Rida who died of Covid 19 infection.
Rida had presented a lot of theatrical and TV works, all as an actor, producer and director.
In early December Sudan also lost comedian Osman Ahmed Hamad, one of the pioneers of Radio, theatre and TV comedies.
Hamad was known for his stereotype role representing the aging naughty man “Abudalaiba”. After sometime on the theatre, Hamad migrated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he served as a school teacher for over two decades. Back in Sudan he preferred to rest at his home, according to an interview conducted with him by a local publication.
“With the departure of these giants, the Sudanese theatrical art had lost some of its great pillars whom we wanted to restore Sudan’s position as a culturally and artistically productive country,” said Director Abbadi.
“But we cherish consolation in the legacy they left behind which is sure to help generations to come,” he concluded.
Music-wise, the nation this year lost outstanding singer, Professor of Music Osman Mustafa who died in early November.
Artist Mustafa had shone as a singer with an excellent voice in the mid 1960s. He coupled his talent with academic studies that earned him the PhD degree of music. He had a lot of registered songs and musical works in Sudan. He had big contributions in Sudan’s cultural work and was one time secretary general of the Sudanese Singers Union.
Famous Sudanese singer Hamad Al Rayah has died in December 1st 2020 at the age of 80, succumbing to the coronavirus infection (COVID-19).
Al Rayah is one of the most prominent Sudanese singers who has contributed to the development of Sudanese music since the late 1950s. He has produced more than sixty songs.
It was only last week that Sudan mourned Jazz musician, singer Kamal Kaila (73 years).
Artist Kaila goes down in Sudan’s art history as one of the pioneers of Jazz melody in the country.
His African style and dresses had endeared him very much to the lovers of African music.
His knowledge of English had also earned him popularity among foreigners visiting or resident in Sudan.
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