North Sudanese Culture

Other Considerations

  • Sudanese Arabic is different from the dialect of Arabic spoken in other countries. It is also different from the dialect spoken in South Sudan (Juba Arabic). Therefore, North Sudanese and South Sudanese migrants may not understand one another. 
  • Friday is a holy day of rest in Islam. Therefore, the Sudanese weekend falls on Friday and Saturday whilst the working week is from Sunday to Thursday.
  • There is a strong belief in the evil eye in Sudan whereby one’s misfortune is caused by another’s envy, sometimes taking the form of a curse (see Offering and Complimenting Items in Etiquette). 
  • One is unlikely to encounter open hostility between North Sudanese and South Sudanese individuals living in Australia or other Western nations. Generally, Sudanese refugees of different ethnic backgrounds show sympathy for one another's experiences.
  • It is important to consider that some Sudanese refugees may have conflict-related trauma. Victims of conflict that are resettled in Western nations sometimes report distress at not being able to help those still suffering in Sudan or surrounding countries.
  • Consider that some Sudanese migrants may have had previous negative experiences with authorities. In Sudan, people in government positions (i.e. police force or military) are treated with deference for their status, but are often distrusted.
  • Consider that some LGBTQI+ Sudanese individuals may be reluctant to reveal their sexuality, as homosexuality and homosexual acts are criminalised in Sudan (with the maximum penalty being death). 
  • Honour killings, although very rare, can occur in some rural communities in Sudan. However, there has never been a reported case of honour killing among the Sudanese communities in Australia.
  • Corporal punishment is not a customary practice in Sudan. It is rare for Sudanese Arab parents to discipline their children with violence.
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a customary practice in some regions of Sudan. While Sudanese migrant women and girls are less likely to undergo the surgery in Australia (where it is illegal), they may be flown back to Sudan by their families to have it performed. 
  • A traditional form of women's dress in Sudan is called the ‘tob’. This is a long length of material that covers the hair and wraps around the body as a loose robe. Some Sudanese men may also wear the traditional ‘jellabiya’, which is a long white robe.
  • Ongoing instability in Sudan means that some people do not have birth certificates and may not know their exact age. Upon migration, such individuals may obtain an age assessment to find an estimation of their age and are often given a default birth date of the 1st of January.
  • It is extremely offensive to refer to a Sudanese person with predominant African ancestry as an ‘abid’ (slave).
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