Movement in Tradition: TOBE (2016) 

The tobe is a traditional Sudanese garment that is worn by Sudanese women usually after marriage. My interest in the tobe started by observing my mother’s relationship with her tobes. She did not separate herself from the tradition even when in Canada. She loved, cherished and looked forward to donning the garment.

The tobe, often passed down by the mother, elicits a dialogue between the two generations in the form of mother-daughter interviews unravel a multilayered tradition, which also speak to the mother-daughter relationship.

This intergenerational story started by questioning the connection of first-generation Sudanese-Canadian women to the tobe. Why is the garment not as visible amongst the younger generation of married women as it is amongst our mothers?

It quickly became an umbrella encompassing the past, present, and future of the tobe. For our ancestors the tobe become a tool that permitted access to public space, education, work, and served as a platform for the women to express their political views.

What appears to be a simple tradition is in fact loaded with political, social, historical and cultural metaphors that can trace back some of the history of pre-imperial Sudan, imperial Sudan, Islamacized Sudan, and now showing the evolution of the tobe.

You are able to view 10 minutes of the mother/daughter interviews and video of the daughters putting on the tobe with the help of their mothers. 

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