Sudan Dinka-Nuer

by sclibrarian
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies

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Sudan Dinka-Nuer


Tradition in both tribes held that causing a death created "spiritual pollution." A bit of the blood of any man a Nuer speared to death was thought to be in the slayer, and had to be bled out of the upper arm by an earth priest. To drink or eat before reaching the priest was to die.

The Dinka and Nuer are the largest tribes in southern Sudan. Both greet the dawn by singing. Both live in square huts with round, uneven roofs. Both walk the roadless plain split by the White Nile. And both honor their scrawny, hump-backed cattle as the center of the temporal world, at once wealth on the hoof and a mystical link to the spiritual plane.

Dinka and Nuer have been stealing cattle from each other for as long as anyone can remember. Cattle raiding is a hoary tradition of pastoralists throughout East Africa, as natural here as a young man's hungering for enough cows to pay the bride price for a wife, as normal as a neighbor striking at the intruders he sees hogging prime grazing land.

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