Ethnic Nuba warrior of Kau sub-tribe extraction from South Sudan with his body painted sitting down and well-prepared to start his wrestling competition. Nuba or Nubians were the ancient Africans to start wrestling.
The Nuba Hills or South Kordufan is a part of the greater Kordufan region and shares its specific history as a region, together with the Sudanese history as whole. Due to the insignificance of the area for the historians in writing its history relied mostly on the ancient manuscripts and documents of the ancient neighbouring kingdoms of Sinnar and Darfur, together with the oral traditions of the natives of Kordufan(2-Kordufan and the region to the west of the Nile, London 1912, p. 75), on the other hand,
the specific history Nuba people is linked necessarily to that of the ancient Nubian Christian Kingdoms of North Sudan.
The most probable hypothesis held on by most researches, is that which considers Nuba “ancestors” to be the “original inhabitants” or the remnants of indigenous populations that once lived of Kurdufan region from the earliest epochs of history, backed by the fact that the name “Kordufan” itself is believed to be of Nubian derivative related to the two terms of “Kuldo”, which means “man” and “fan” which means country.
The Nuba as a people have had their identity defined by outsiders. They are themselves a cluster of more than fifty different ethnic groups, thrown together by a common experience of oppression and discrimination by outsiders, notably the ruling elite of Sudan.
The Nuba share South Kordofan with Sudanese Arabs, cattle herders such as the Misiriya Zurug and Hawazma (collectively known as "Baggara"—which means simply "cattle people"), and some camel herders such as the Hamar and Shanabla. Some Nuba groups historically developed close relations with the Baggara while others were isolated from them, but the relationship was always one of underlying suspicion. The advent of the Baggara was one main factor in driving the Nuba to the mountains. A second category of Arabs includes slave raiders Nakhasa who later became Jellaba traders from Khartoum and the Northern Nile valley, and Arab soldiers and administrators. This was during Turko-Egyptian period, which was the worst ever, for the policy of Mohammed Ali was that of obtaining slaves for their armies, money and domestic services, hundreds or thousands of Nuba were carried out as slaves by the raiders from the authorities or by other groups of (Nakhasa) Heavy taxes were normally paid in form of slaves.
This situation continued until the period of the “Mahedia”, when slave raids were intensified in order to strengthen the Mahdia forces, this situation reached its peak in 1896 when the “Khalifa” ordered his commanders or the “Amirs” to mobilize all the tribes under their administration to marsh with the army to Omdurman and so entire villages on their way were both emptied and destroyed.
These urban Arabs (Jellaba) represent the power of the Sudanese state, and the basic reason for their presence in the Nuba Mountains was—and is—to bring the area and its peoples under the writ of central government.
The central theme of Nuba history is the tension between political incorporation into the state of Sudan and the maintenance of local identity. There is an irony here. Local, tribal identities are strong. But, until recently, many Nuba villagers had no conception of the wider community of the Nuba as a whole. They had little reason to travel to other Nuba areas; if they left their villages, it was to travel to towns, or outside the region altogether. Only in towns would a sense of Nuba identity as such emerge, when the Nuba saw how they were treated by the urban elites. It is this common experience of discrimination and repression that has created a unified Nuba identity.