Obituary: Mahgoub Salih 1928-2024, doyen of Sudanese journalism

Prof Mahgoub Mohamed Salih at Al Ayam daily newspaper in Khartoum in 2015 (Photo: Roman Deckert / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Prof Mahgoub Mohamed Salih, who is widely considered a doyen of Sudanese journalism, fought against colonialism, and dedicated his life to establishing the values of freedom and justice, has died peacefully aged 96. Wide tributes on social media pay homage and acknowledge his deep contribution to Sudanese journalism and media.

Mahgoub Salih was born on April 12, 1928, in Khartoum Bahri (North), where he received his primary and intermediate education. He joined Khartoum University College in 1947, and served as Secretary of the Student Union.

His professional career began when he joined the English-language Sudan Star newspaper 1949. He also worked for a short period in the New Sudan newspaper, before he and colleagues founded Al Ayam newspaper, which was first published on October 3, 1953. He was appointed editor-in-chief at the time of its publication.

In 2003, he began covering the War in Darfur. For this, his newspaper had its print runs confiscated, was gagged, and frequently closed down by the Al Bashir regime. Salih was personally incarcerated numerous times for publishing such issues.

Until his death this week, Mahgoub Salih headed Al Ayam Centre for Cultural Studies and Development. He was famous for his Voices and Echoes column, in which he analysed the political situation in Sudan, and the problems facing ordinary members of the public.

He authored many books, including The History of Sudanese Journalism in Half a Century, in addition to Highlights on the Southern Issue and others. He has won many awards, both within Sudan and abroad.

نَّا ِلِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

(Indeed, we belong to Allah, and indeed, to Him we return.)*

*This Arabic phrase, from the second surah of the Quran, is customarily recited by Muslims, either in the midst of being tested by life, or upon hearing that someone has died. (Source: Wikipedia)