The Nuba rebels of central Sudan have lost their revered leader of 15 years and now face famine. Yousif Kuwa, who died in March, led the Nuba fight for survival, gave them a sense of identity and a pride in their African roots. He built up a strong civil administration and enforced a rule of law that did not differentiate between soldier and civilian. He was a teacher, a leader, respected and not feared at all. But in Kuwa's later years, the Nuba rebels suffered a series of crushing military defeats at the hands of the fundamentalist generals who rule Sudan. In mid June this year the Khartoum government closed all access to the mountains, depriving 85,000 Nuba, facing famine this year, any chance of receiving food aid. Kuwa's successor, Commander Abdel Aziz Adam el-Helo, must now reverse the tide of war and find a way of feeding his people if the Nuba rebellion is to survive Kuwa's death.