Duse Mohamed (1866-1945) by Scholes, Robert

Duse Mohamed 1866-1945 The son of an Egyptian army officer and his Sudanese wife, Duse Mohamed was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1866 and died in Lagos, Nigeria in 1945. As his writing for demonstrates, he was a witty man with a keen intellect and a sharp pen. His father, who died in 1882, fighting in the army of Ahmad Arabi Pasha against the British at the battle of Tel-al-Kabir, had sent his son to England to be educated in 1875, and Duse returned to England for further study after his father’s death. But instead of studying medicine to become an army surgeon as his father had wished, he read history at King’s College, London University and then joined the theatre, travelling with the companies of Wilson Barrett and Beerbohm Tree (Max Beerbohm’s brother), as well as writing plays of his own. In London he became associated with the Woking Mosque, and through it, with the English converts to Islam, Marmaduke Pickthall (who also wrote for , and Lord Headley). The New Age The New Age In 1911 his book, , was published. The reviewer wrote of it, In 1912 he founded what became a major journal of anti-colonial thought and feeling: . Except for the disruptive war years of 1915-1917 the journal ran from 1912 to 1920, sometimes as a monthly and for a while as a weekly. In 1913 Marcus Garvey worked for the journal in London and wrote for it, before returning to Jamaica and then moving to New York, where he founded the newspaper, , which Duse Mohamed joined during a stay in the U. S. The Muslim side of Garvey’s thought owes something to Duse Mohamed, and extends of course, to Malcolm X, whose father was a Garveyite. In the Land of the Pharaohs New York Times This book as a whole is a fervent document in favor of the Egyptian nationalist movement and the ultimate freedom of Egypt, at least from the British yoke, and a most scathing denunciation of British rule in Egypt. The African Times and Orient Review: politics, art and commerce: a monthly journal devoted to the interests of the Coloured races of the World Negro World Duse Mohamed was married twice, first to an English woman, and then to the Gertrude La Page. As Khalil Mahmud says, white American actress and ardent Rosicrucian, Duse himself seemed fascinated by the mysteries and secret lore of ancient Egypt and some of his novels and plays indicate that he may have believed that his ancestral homeland would be able to produce some ameliorating spiritual influence upon the dangerous racial antagonism he experienced in the society surrounding him. (xxiii) In 1931, he and his wife moved to Lagos, Nigeria, where he wrote for the , edited the in 1932, and founded the weekly in 1933. Through this journal he became a major figure in the Nigerian nationalist movement and the Nigerian Youth Movement. Nigerian Daily Times Nigerian Daily Telegraph Comet —Robert Scholes Sources (The best source of information about the life and career of Duse Mohamed (aka Duse Mohamed Ali) that we have found is the (London: Frank Cass, 1968) of Duse Mohamed’s , written by Khalil Mahmud of the Ibadan University Library, Nigeria. What follows here is little more than a digest of that information. All quoted material is taken directly from that source.) Introduction to the Second Edition In the Land of the Pharaohs

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