- Muslim/ Arab Name
- Enslaved Since
- Date Freed
Muslim/Arab name: Zeinab
Enslaved: Date Unknown
Liberated: February 2014
I am from the village of Kar in South Sudan. I was abducted when I was young. A man named Abdullah captured me and my younger brother, Agany.
I lived with Abdullah in Maglud, in North Sudan. He gave me a new name – “Zeinab” – because he wanted me to be his child. At first, I was treated terribly. I was beaten on the head with sticks. My head still hurts sometimes. But after he changed my name, he beat me less. Once, he beat me after I forgot to fill the water for the ablutions he performed before prayers. As I became more familiar with what was expected of me, I was beaten less. My work was to collect water for ablutions, wash clothes and utensils, and other tasks. Abdullah had no other Dinka slaves. I speak Arabic like him, but because I was away from my people for so long, my Dinka speech is broken, and mixed with Arabic words.
Once, when I had been overworked, I rebelled and refused to work anymore. As punishment, the masters kept me prisoner in the animals’ hut for five days. I got a severe leg infection from it, and my legs are still covered in lesions ten years later. Holding them close to the fire helps relieve the pain and itching.
My master’s wife was named Kadija. They had four children, including some boys who were bigger than me. They were not good to me. If I held their water the wrong way, they would spill the water on the ground and beat me. They would rape me. This happened all the time, whenever they felt like it. If I was drinking tea, they would come along and spill it on the ground. Abdullah never raped me. I think Kadija kept him from doing it. Often I would see them quarreling, and then Kadija would see me and shoo me away.
Abdullah gave me to an Arab man named Mohammed. He would bring me to him for sex. We had two daughters: Amona and Hawa. They stayed behind with their father. I haven’t seen them since. I think their father wouldn’t let them go. Where will I get them from? If the slave retriever could bring them…I need my children.
I don’t know if my family was Christian before I was taken. But I couldn’t go to church in the North. There are no churches there, only mosques. I never went to the mosque. I was always working. The Arabs tried to make me a Muslim lady, but I couldn’t follow their instructions.
I hate thinking about these things.
The slave retriever told us that South Sudan is independent now, and that he’d come to take us home. So we went with him.
We have been here for two or three weeks now. We’ve been staying in one big group, working together to make food and collect water; nothing difficult. We are being friendly together and sharing stories about the North.
I am so happy to be in South Sudan and that the slave retriever brought me here. Thank you so much for coming.
My parents were away when I was abducted, so I don’t think they were taken. I am hoping to find them now.
Abuk was freed for the equivalent of $50. Thousands of people, including her two daughters, are still in slavery in North Sudan. Please help us bring them home: www.csi-usa.org/donate.