On the busy streets of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, Salma Awad, 28, rides her bike. Working as a messenger, she delivers orders to her prospects by a social media app.
Whereas she loves the liberty her bike provides her, and the actual fact it retains her in form, Salma says coping with all of the negativity is not simple. For ladies, using a bicycle goes towards social norms in Sudan.
“I discovered many issues and dangers on the road the place I’m harassed by drivers who typically throw water bottles and stones,” she says. “I often go away the principle streets and use facet streets however then I am chased by stray canines.”
The variety of girls on bikes is rising due to teams such because the Sudanese Feminine Cyclists Initiative, based mostly in Khartoum, which holds academic programs and workshops for feminine cyclists.
“That is first time in Sudan’s trendy historical past that we have seen ladies using a bicycle,” says Enass Mazamel, who based the group in 2016.
“It is a human rights venture to cut back the gender hole in public locations and present girls’s pursuits in sports activities that had been the solely for males.”
Clerics and hardliners in Sudan say girls shouldn’t be allowed to do sports activities. Girls using bicycles on public roads is seen as a violation of Islamic traditions.
Non secular training trainer Mohammed Abuelnour says that Allah would curse males imitating girls and girls imitating males.
As a result of they’ve “difficulties with motion”, girls ought to experience bicycles “for individuals with disabilities”, he says.
“However for using bicycles that showcase girls’s sights within the public, they’ll have to take action in closed areas particularly for ladies not close to males’s eyes.”
No to Girls’s Oppression (NWO) is a Khartoum-based group calling for the repeal of legal guidelines proscribing girls, particularly their proper to motion.
“We’re working to boost consciousness amongst women and girls to experience a motorcycle within the streets,” says NOW member Hind El Tjani.
“That is their proper, and we inform them they need to be extra brave and ignore harassment, bullying and verbal violence whereas using.”
This text was initially heard on RFI’s Africa Calling podcast.