The story about Miss Khartoum in 1956.

Anonymous: My mum was always very glamorous, very stylish. She was an artist. There was one nun at the convent school where she went who encouraged mum to paint. She was the one who said, ‘You’ve got a talent there, so you need to just paint,’ and who believed in her. Mum said that’s how she learned to paint, because of this one nun. She did say that the school was full of just, really cruel women—that the nuns there were horrible. They used to beat—they used to cane them, on their hands they used to cane them, apart from this one nun who took her under her wing, who used to take her and give her some oils and a canvas and would just say, you know, ‘paint, paint.’ This is when mum was at school and she never forgot it. My sister has got the paintings still, and that's how mum learned to paint. 

One time the whole family, my grandparents and their children were at a party. I don’t really know what dinner it was, it was just a function—I think it was at the British Club, something like that—I'm not entirely sure but yes, I think it was the British Club. They were at this dinner, and at the dinner they were holding a competition for Miss Khartoum. Everyone told her to get up and walk around the room and she didn't want to do it because she was really shy, but they all made her just go and walk around. She had to walk around the room, and she won! Miss Khartoum, she was Miss Khartoum! They gave her a sash and a silver cup with her name on it. 

From Miss Khartoum you got entered into become Miss Egypt, but then they found out that she was Jewish and they took the title away from her. They disqualified her because she was Jewish. It must have been 1956 because there was a war on. There's a photo of her with the cup in the papers in Khartoum but then they gave it to the runner up, because she was Christian.


This story has been contributed from the Tales of Jewish Sudan project. Tales of Jewish Sudan is a collection of stories, photos and recipes of the Sudan Jewish community, established by Daisy Abboudi. Daisy is a historian and an expert in the Jewish community of Sudan. The stories of this unique community in Sudan inspired her to create the website Tales of Jewish Sudan in 2015. More content from Tales of Jewish Sudan can be viewed in the Sudan Memory website collections. For more information on Tales of Jewish Sudan visit

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