Sunday, November 26, 2017

Salah Hamadah (1960-2009)

Salahaddeen Salem Hamadah is a Sudanese cartoonists and satire writer. Professionally he had known as Salah Hamadah (صلاح حمادة in Arabic). Hamadah had born in 1960 in Ruofaa, Aljazzera; a small city in the central of Sudan Republic. Hamadah spent his childhood partly Salah lived in Al Qadarif, but he returned back to his birthplace after his father Salem Hamadah passed away tragically in a traffic accident.

Salah Hamadah attended Faculty of Fine Art in Sudan University of Science and Technology in 1976. Hamadah was a classmate for famous cartoonist Mounem Hamzah (منعم حمزة in Arabic). Both artists were preparing themselves to be painters, but the future was holding to other plans: after their graduation from the class 1980, they will be the leading cartoonists in their generations.

In 1981; as a fresh graduator Hamadah became an employer for the Ministry of Labor. He worked in the Section of Designing and Architecture until 1988. In parallel, he was working actively in his journalistic career as a cartoonist. The value of Hamadah isn’t just about his extraordinary sense of humor, but also because he bringing a new form of cartooning and satire into the Sudanese journalism. He was mixing both categories smoothly. Hamadah was editor of a ¼ daily page entitled Minn Ghair Za’all (من غير زعل in Arabic); or (Without Anger). Hamadah gets popularity by his joyful commentary of the reader of al-Seyasa newspaper (السياسة in Arabic). The cumulative outcome of his daily cartoons and writings was a book had published in 1988; a book holds the same title of his famous corner.

Politically; the 1980’s was a transitional period, but it was also a turning point for the Sudanese cartoonists: after the Uprising of April 1985, new artists appeared in the era of new democracy like Salah Hamadah who was an iconic figure and benchmark for Sudanese journalism. That period of the 1980’s was one of the golden ears for Sudanese cartoonists; the Sudanese Third Democracy ( الديموقراطية السودانية الثالثة in Arabic) came after fall of the dictator Gaafar Nimeiry (جعفر نميري  in Arabic) in 1985, but  the Coup d'état of the Islamic National Front  (الجبهة القومية الإسلامية in Arabic) – currently is the National Congress (المؤتمر الوطني  in Arabic) – the country changed dramatically; a few days later the Islamists opened countless detention centers where many civilians were tortured and killed. All the newspapers were closed and many cartoonists lost their jobs. Some of them retired, some emigrated, and the rest are working in miserable conditions. The new military government established its newspapers and attracted new artists; Salah Hamadah and the cartoonists of the older generations reduced their activity for a while.

1994 was a special year to the Sudanese cartooning movement after the appearance of Nabbedh al-Karicatir ( نبض الكاريكاتير in Arabic). The name means "Pulse of Caricature", and it was truly illustrated its experience because the newspaper was like resurrection cartoon movement in Sudan; individually and collectively. Nabbedh al-Karicatir - after the disappearance of the newspapers of the Third Democracy - was the only space for free speech after the coup. Mounem Hamzah was first editor-in-chief Nabbedh al-Karicatir; he structured the newspaper to be ranked No.1 as the best-selling newspaper in Sudan newspaper. Salah Hamadah was a co-founder of Nabbedh al-Karicatir that became a congregation of dozens of talented cartoonists in Sudan.

Salah Hamadah occupied the position of editing manager of Akhbar al-Mugtama’a newspaper (أخبار المجتمع in Arabic). Hamadah kept editing his famous corner Minn Ghair Za’all in many publication like al-Ayam ( الأيام in Arabic), al-Sahafa (الصحافة in Arabic), Akher Khaber (آخر خبر in Arabic), A’alamm al-Komedia (عالم الكوميديا in Arabic) and a lastly he was working for al-Watan (الوطن in Arabic) until his sudden death by heart-attack in 31/3/2009 in age of 49.
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