Accessibility links

Sudanese Refugees Confront Fears in New Play in Australia

  • Phil Mercer

A newly arrived refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan rests next to her belongings in Seneit, Birak area, eastern Chad (file)

A newly arrived refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan rests next to her belongings in Seneit, Birak area, eastern Chad (file)

A new play in Sydney highlights the difficulties Sudanese refugees face as they adapt to life in Australia. While cast members have escaped conflict and the squalor of refugee camps, resettlement in Australia has new problems and challenges.

A new play in Sydney highlights the difficulties Sudanese refugees face as they adapt to life in Australia. While cast members have escaped conflict and the squalor of refugee camps, resettlement in Australia has new problems and challenges.

The play My Name Is Sud tells the story of a family that fled violence in Sudan only to encounter a different kind of conflict as refugees in Australia.

The production explores the experience of young Sudanese migrants as they seek to embrace Australia's Western culture while maintaining their families' values and traditions.

The play is being performed in the Blacktown district of Sydney, where many African refugees are settled. The sudden influx of migrants has created racial tensions in the community.

Young Sudanese men have been accused of robberies and assaults in Sydney, while African migrants complain of racism and discrimination.

South African writer Robert Colman directs My Name Is Sud, and hopes it will encourage refugees to boldly seize their opportunities in Australia.

"It's about the Sudanese community seeing them reflected in themselves, reflected in mainstream culture and it's about the actors involved in this and people seeing them in it and aspiring to that," he said. "And for me ultimately it's about the next generation turning around and saying 'Okay we don't need mentors anymore, we know how to do this and this is the story we want to tell and this is how we're going to tell it.'"

Most African refugees in Australia come from Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan.

Many have experienced great trauma. Refugee advocates urge the government to do more to help them adapt.

A mistrust of authority is common among African migrants, while basic of tasks of modern life, such as driving and opening a bank account can be mystifying for some.

Bridging the cultural divide is not easy but the producers of My Name Is Sud hope in a small way it helps young Sudanese make the transition from refugees to productive citizens.

Australia resettles about 13,000 refugees each year under international humanitarian programs.

XS
SM
MD
LG