A video showing a Sudanese tea-lady fighting back abuse on the streets is quickly taking social media by storm. Posted by BBC journalist Yousra Elbagir, the video shows a Sudanese woman being pushed and held to the ground by a man, as onlookers stare and laugh at the situation.
Suddenly, she gets up and hits the man holding her down with her tea gear.
— Yousra Elbagir (@YousraElbagir) April 25, 2017
Thousands of women in Sudan turned to tea-selling on the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum as a means to survive after fleeing the conflict in Darfur and South Kordofan. However, increased government crackdown on unregulated businesses mean that they are often at the risk of being detained, abused and left without a livelihood.
In 2016, several localities in Khartoum banned tea vendors from selling publicly. These women, often refugees and divorcees with no means of supporting their families, are forced to sell tea illegally, making as little as $4 per day.
In March last year, Awadeya Mahmoud received the “Woman of Courage” award from former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the White House for her work in providing support and legal aid for Sudan’s tea-ladies. Mahmoud, a tea-seller herself for more than 20 years, described how these women face not only social stigma but also an intense pressure from the police, who impose hefty fines on these women and require them to prove they are free of disease.