A Sa'idi is a person from Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur . The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt...

 ( Sa'id).


The word literally means "from Sa'id" (i.e. Upper Egypt), and can also refer to a form of music originating there, or to the dialect
Sa'idi Arabic
Sa`idi Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken by Sa'idis south of Cairo, Egypt to the border of Sudan. It shares linguistic features both with Egyptian Arabic, as well as Sudanese Arabic. Dialects include Middle and Upper Egyptian Arabic...

 spoken by Sa'idis. The word Sa'id in Arabic means "level", "plain
In geography, a plain is land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and steppes are types of plains, and the archetype for a plain is often thought of as a grassland, but plains in their natural state may also be covered in shrublands, woodland and forest, or...

", "surface", and can also have the added sense of "ascending". The suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

 "-i" denotes the adjective.

Sa'idis and Upper Egypt

Although Upper Egypt has 60 percent of Egypt's land area, it contains only 17 percent of its population
Demographics of Egypt
Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East and the third-most populous on the African continent . Nearly 100% of the country's 80,810,912 people live in three major regions of the country: Cairo and Alexandria and elsewhere along the banks of the Nile; throughout the Nile delta, which...

. Until the Aswan High Dam was built, Sa'idis were less apt to suffer from waterborne diseases such as bilharzia than Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

 peasants. Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

 and Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 were of Sa'idi extraction.

Stereotypes and jokes

Sa'idis and their dialect are the subject of numerous Egyptian ethnic jokes. They are popularly assumed to be rural simpletons, physically stronger and more clever than other Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

. An example of such stereotyping
Ethnic stereotype
An ethnic stereotype is a generalized representation of an ethnic group, composed of what are thought to be typical characteristics of members of the group.Ethnic stereotypes are commonly portrayed in ethnic jokes.-Ethnic stereotypes:*African Americans...

 is the box office hit Ṣa‘īdi fil-Gama‘a al-Amrikiya ("A Sa'idi in the American University", i.e. the American University in Cairo
American University in Cairo
The American University in Cairo is an independent, non-profit, apolitical, secular institution of higher learning located in Cairo, Egypt...

) (1998) starring Mohamed Henedi
Mohamed Henedi
Mohamed Henedi is an Egyptian comedy actor born in Giza, Egypt in 1965 and has gained a cinematic bachelor's degree. Mohamed Henedi started his career in 1991 in short appearances in theaters and cinemas, and achieved huge success in his two films Esma'eleya Rayeh Gaii and Sa'ede Fel Gam'a Al...

, which depicts the Saidi character as a clever and smart capable of joining the American University in Cairo in a government scholarship because he excelled all his colleagues in high school.

Religion in Upper Egypt

The region has a large Copt
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt....

ic population and a rich Coptic history
Coptic history
Coptic history is part of history of Egypt that begins with the introduction of Christianity in Egypt in the 1st century AD during the Roman period, and covers the history of the Copts to the present day...

. For instance, Sahidic was the leading Coptic dialect in the pre-Islamic period. In the last few decades the high proportion of Copts in Upper Egypt has enabled some Christians to hold prominent political posts there. For instance, Qena Governorate is currently headed by a Coptic governor.
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