Sudan Sounds

“You belong anywhere you can flee to and return from in one piece” ― K. Eltinaé

Today we travel to Sudan with poetry and music from artists, k.eltinaé and Basma Osman.

As well as being a human rights activist, lawyer and poet, Basma Osman is the host of Khartoum Arrivals on NTS Radio and the co-host of radio show and record label Hear, Sense and Feel. She plays music inspired by the long road, drawing from the wedding anthems and eclectic folk of Sudan, the Sahel, the Horn and beyond.

Tune into her show from her last trip visiting family in Sudan “with bops from the bus,” before delving into the poetry we have for you this week.

k.eltinaé is a diaspora poet of Sudanese-Nubian and Mediterranean descent, whose work is centred around otherness, cultural/geographic displacement, generational trauma, and exile. His debut collection the moral judgement of butterflies won the Beverly Prize for international literature 2019 (BSPG Press). He is a world literature lecturer and a soul /funk/ afrobeat disc jockey residing in Granada, Spain. 


We are still dreaming of a vacation

from being chased out of cities.

For the empathy every child dangles

in their mother’s eyes as hope.

For a future where the ‘other’ challenges every fear

we unlearn and accept to grow from.

One day you too will face that same floor

you pressed a man’s face against before you handcuffed him.

You too, will cry futile tears to keep living.

The difference is your dignity

will never know cages

and days without showering

will never know the shame

of running from a place

you are forced to return to

because you weren’t born disposable.

If you feel threatened about living in a country

full of sleek, dark and beautiful bodies

arriving on boats smiling and glowing

though nobody has welcomed them,

stop watching the news.

This poem is for you,

for your parents

and their parents too.

For children

who should learn from the different

looking, speaking, believing ‘other’

whose kindness exists despite

being quarantined on planes before arriving to your lands,

despite being interrogated and segregated in queues at the airport

for your precious safety.

Stay safe, with truths that bloom from kindness.


Illustration by Miriam Sugranyes

More from the artists

- To find out more about k.eltinaé’s work and to follow him on your respective platforms, visit: Read more here:

- Watch our poetry evening, in collaboration with Sawti, featuring k.eltinaé and others,  including Ngollo Mlengeya, Suhayl Omar and Manal Younus, during the Rights Studio festival:

- You can read Basma’s poem ‘Fuck borders, or things I wish I’d said to immigration before they deported me,’ which was published in the CRIN/Rights Studio Magazine What Lies Beneath: Power, here

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