Wrestling Keeps 'Identity of the Nuba' Alive in Sudanese Refugee Camps
As civil war rages in Sudan, an ancient but evolving tradition connects thousands of refugees to their life in the Nuba Mountains.
YIDA, South Sudan—The crowd is already fired up by the time Zeber Reka Mahmoud gets into the ring.
He's been strutting up and down the sidelines, flexing his muscles and mouthing off to his opponent's fans. So when the referee finally blows the whistle, and the two hulking wrestlers lunge into a violent embrace, the sea of spectators goes wild.
The bulky teenagers trade blows to the head and grope for the backs of each other's knees. They lock arms, twisting and pirouetting in the dust. Then, as the energy of the crowd builds to a crescendo, Zeber slings his opponent skyward and drives him into the ground.
On the sidelines, where some 5,000 people from the Nuba Mountains of Sudan have