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Sudan mourns musical icon Wardi

By Ian Timberlake (AFP) KHARTOUM — Sudan mourned on Sunday the death of musical icon Mohammed Wardi, a former prisoner who spent years in self-imposed exile but who died on home soil after seeing his beloved

By Ian Timberlake (AFP)

KHARTOUM — Sudan mourned on Sunday the death of musical icon Mohammed Wardi, a former prisoner who spent years in self-imposed exile but who died on home soil after seeing his beloved nation divided.

“Mohammed Osman Wardi, Sudan’s lead singer, passed away… in Khartoum,” the official SUNA news agency said in a brief dispatch.

Wardi was born in 1932 on the island of Sawarda in far-northern Sudan. He began singing at the age of five, had his first hit in 1960, and still filled a Khartoum concert hall on New Year’s Eve 2010, when he was carried on stage for a rare show in his twilight years.

“Everybody in Sudan loves Mohammed Wardi,” a man from the western Darfur region said.

The Sudanese political activist group Girifna wrote in an online post that it “is saddened by the death of one of Sudan’s revolutionary icons.”

President Omar al-Bashir, cabinet ministers and musicians were among thousands who gathered to pay their respects to Wardi early Sunday when he was buried at a central Khartoum cemetery.

Wardi had gone into self-imposed exile shortly after Bashir, an army officer, seized power in a 1989 coup backed by Islamists.

The singer moved to Egypt and then Los Angeles to receive medical treatment for kidney trouble.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese greeted him at the airport when he first returned in 2002, vowing no retreat from the leftist views often heard in his moving songs.

“I am a human being, and every human being is against dictatorship and I will continue to denounce it,” he told AFP in June 2002.

“The atmosphere does not encourage creation. Freedom is essential to the blossoming of art.”

He said he did not regret the time he spent in detention under former president Gaafar al-Nimeiry, who took power in 1971 after a three-day communist coup which Wardi applauded. The singer was jailed for 18 months.

Wardi sang patriotic as well as romantic songs about the Nile River and everyday Sudanese life in Arabic and his native Nubian dialect Halfawi.

Just over a year ago, he told AFP that the 2005 peace deal which ended 22 years of civil war with southern Sudan had encouraged his return with hope for “the unity of all Sudan.”

But, speaking with sadness just before South Sudan voted overwhelming for independence, he said he had been singing about a united nation for more than five decades and he hoped “that even if south Sudan chooses secession, one day it will reunite with the north”.

The South became independent last July.

Political analyst Magdi El Gizouli wrote in a tribute that Wardi “will be missed”, not only in Sudan but around the region.

“His legacy… extends beyond music,” Gizouli said.

He recalled hearing Wardi’s songs over loudspeakers as a school student and said the lyrics “were probably a primer in political education.”

Review overview
  • Mr. T February 19, 2012

    Heroes are mortals like you and me. What makes them stand out from the rest is their selflessness to make life better for others. The month of February which is the oddest and shortest month of all has already taken away three heroes of of our time. These heroes are Naizgi Kflu, Witney Houston and Mohamed Wardi. Heroes live and die but they also leave a legacy for the rest of us to emulate and work for the common good.

    • Haqqi Nezareb February 19, 2012

      M. Tsehaye,

      As you said Witney and Wardi have really left a legacy of life long. But with Naizgi, he was a someone who was instrumental in the demise of the lives of many innocent heroes of Eritrea. Do not put Singers with a lackey of a dictator(DIA) in the same category. Please for God’s sake stop being a Zombie for the evil regime we have in Eritrea.

  • Ahmed saleh February 19, 2012

    Mohamed Werdi with his humble lifestyle was a great and respected singer . His courage to stand against wrongs to his people at the time of Nemeri and under this regime is an example
    of individual beliefs to the principles of truth and integrity. Reading his quote ” I’m human being
    & every human being is against dictatorship , I will continue to denounce it. Freedom is essential
    to the blossoming of art” reminds me of our patriotic singer Yemane Barya as Werdi was the same role model figure to Sudanese people. R.I.P.

    • Facts-whose-facts February 19, 2012

      Ahmed Saleho who are you blaming now the Eritrean government for the death of Mohammed Werdi??

      • weldu February 19, 2012

        Halaw degimka anbibo wey degagumo ..ente abiyuka dima suwa gerka ketumo emo kiridaaka eyu….geltam

  • Facts-whose-facts February 19, 2012

    To Ahmed saleho
    Who are you are blaming now for the death of Mohammed werdi the Eritrean government??

    • Ahmed saleh February 19, 2012

      Honest speaking reading your posts and approaches, my gut feeling tells me
      you sound like Mr.T. Please stop acting like a child, this is public forum. No need to
      get personal with your nonsense comments. Stop it now for the sake of the readers pls.

    • weldu February 19, 2012

      Arkey sekitka suk zeytibil. if you can not analyze a written statement why are you here?

  • Facts-whose-facts February 19, 2012

    Who told you this is a public Forum this is a trash place a dumbester like a toliet.? So, we come here to unload the waste of any human beings so, stop acting up like you are going to change the government from Your internet or PC. This go Amhed Salho.

  • FACT-is-FACT February 19, 2012

    Mr. T. Tsehaye,
    Let me repeat once more. Even if I were to repeat it a zillion times, the likes of you, the PFDJ’s cloned ከርሞ ጥጃታታ … i.e. YOU…will never rid off yourself from the predicament you are put in, you are pinned down in, you are institutionally immersed in, you are bogged down in. ንዓኻን ነዚ ከምዞም ከማኻን እሱራት ዕውራት ግዙኣት … there is NO dictionary on mother earth…The child in you simpy is dwarfed, lepered, and will never grow.

    A cloned byproduct simply replicates to the “original” product that is cloned from and you & the likes will simply await until that “original” mother sucks the bloodline outta you.

    And you are one of the many bankrupted (ናይ ጥፉሻት ጥፉሽ ) “being” that lives off on Confusion, Contradiction. ‘cuz you are just a confused lot. Reason, you are a cloned “piece” that has NO originality and living at the mercy of those who hold the string from the other end.
    If you think “Naizgi is a Hero then why wouldn’t you CONDEMN PFDJ for not letting his dead flesh to”rest in peace” in the land that “he fought for” ? why not!?

    But again, the creator has a Unique way of dealing with Humans and ናይዝጊ’ስ Journey of HELL has begun on mother EARTH! .. do you and others get it? How could you? .. A cloned has NO originality and Individuality to streamline its conscience with brain & soul!

  • FACT-is-FACT February 19, 2012

    Ahmed Saleh,
    no worries brother !
    you ain’t to deal the cloned, the imbecile of the likes of Mr. T and “Facts-whose-facts” as they simply are the ከርሞ ጥጃታታ !
    ዒባውንኮ ሓሰኻ ይወልድዩ ምስሊ ሰብ ዝለበሱ – ኣብ እዋን ናፅነት ኤርትራ ፍፁም ድኽነት ዝተኾልኮለት ጀጋኑ ደቃ ዝበጀወት ብንብዓት ኣዴታት ዘባጭው ወሮበላታታት

    These like Mr. T are these Hassadat ..who are most institutionaly destituted in the minds & souls… these are the deprived, of individuality who simply follow the pack.. these are the off-springs of naizgi… as he was one was… and he is now even in his death trashed like a paper cup. what a farce !

  • FACT-is-FACT February 19, 2012

    People like Mr. T .. are the semi literate whose clone-makers shipped them to every cyber medium to disrupt the flow of reason, justice cry .. and etc… and these byproducts …matter-of-FACTLY are Hell-bent in the -Art of confusion & Contradiction- and this without exaggeration, their reasons, rationale’ are to be put in this category… beyond ዘይተኮሓሓለ ዘይተቆናጀወ ዘይተወቐረ ዘይተወቐጠ ኮታ ቡቛል እቲ ሓቀኛ ፍጡር ዘይብሉ ብሉል ! ..

    Their rationale’ threshold are Impromptu, unprepared, unrehearsed, unplanned, spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment, off the cuff, improvised … because to -Confuse & contradict- ..there is NO need of a Human with brain & soul!

    • Mr. T February 20, 2012

      ata adgi, so you think you are more educated than those of us whom you called “semi litrate”. Thank you for making me laugh out loud! I am really happy that the pill that I gave you have done its job. Could please stop writing on this form when you are high on pot? The following prescription will definitely help you to hung yourself and end your miseries:

      Thirty years ago, we sang, “ms b’al Getachew ms b’al Beqele qurub terifna knfalale.”

      Twenty years later after independence, we are singing, ” ms b’al Getachew ms b’al abebe isra amet koinu kab nfalale.”

      • Translate February 20, 2012

        oosub (t)

        Here is partly why you deserve Fact’s wrath: OOsuB (hashker): You learned a killer’s (Isaisas’) song well. Zambie!
        Poor education: … the pill has done its job, never “… the pill have done its job”.
        Fact getting to your skin: “Could please stop …” What the hell is that?
        Conclusion: You are the one who should hang (not hung) himself, you hatela from Temben!

        • Mr. T February 21, 2012


          I am really mad at you, translate. You stole the word OOSUB which I had create to address people like you. Why can’t you be creative and come up with something of your own? You know, I am going to sue you for your infringement on my patent.

          Well, this time I think you have got a field day to celebrate. You have found my weak spot: my lousy spelling errors. I should I admit that I am a “semi literate” now. However, my determination to keep you (tsah-tsahti kemzi kemaka) out of our harmonious nation is as hard as the toughest rock you can find. So my editing/spelling weakness is not going to add any value in relieving your agonizing pain. You will remain anonymous and die anonymous as well. Tustus!

          • Mr. T February 21, 2012

            please ignore read “had create” as “had created” and ignore the word “I” after “I should”. Thanks.

  • Shewit February 19, 2012

    Mohammed Wardi was a wonderful human being. His death is a loss not for Sudan, but for the entire region. For many (including my father and many of my older relatives), his death is also the end of an era. Please enjoy one of his concerts that he gave in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (I wish Assenna posted this link along with the news to celebrate his life.