Sir John Loader Maffey

In 1926 John Loader Maffey was selected to be governor-general of Sudan, a vast area with complex problems, which was still recovering from the troubles following the death of Sir Lee Stack in 1924 and of the removal of his immediate predecessor Sir Geoffrey Francis Archer under a cloud. Maffey brought to Sudan the negative lessons he had learned back in India from the rise of nationalism among the educated élite. He was determined to reduce the influence of the educated Sudanese by a policy of indirect rule which built up the power of the tribal sheikhs. The policy was retrograde and artificial and had only limited success. By the time Maffey left Sudan in 1933 indirect rule, in its more dogmatic forms, was losing favour, and, although Maffey had enjoyed a period of relative quiet, his policies stored up problems for his successors.

The photograph shows the Governor-General with his staff at the Palace in Khartoum.

Image courtesy of Durham University

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by Stephen Luscombe