Home of Mundari Culture, South Sudan is an actual feel of the African Traditional Culture. With most of the people being Nilotic, they are grouped into a total of 64 ethnic tribes including the Dinka, the Neur, Mundari, Shilluk, the Bari, the Azande, Kakwa, Kuku, Ndogo, the Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, the Acholi, the Fertit, the Dungotona, Baka, Bviri, Didinga and the Murle among others.
The Dinka make the biggest percentage of this country’s population followed by Nuer, Shilluk and Mundari are among the smallest tribes.
Mundari culture and tribe
You may have visited many other countries, but South Sudan is the most adventurous for any one ready to have an understanding of how fantastic African Culture and traditional living can be with some tribes. Amongst the 64 tribes in South Sudan, Mundari people are the most popular even when they are among the smallest tribes. This is precisely because if their rich and fancy culture.
Mundari people stay in the North of Juba – capital of South Sudan, approximately 75 kilometers. They are found in the Central Equatoria State and their major base being Terekeka. They fall under the Kalo people who are Nilotics and their land is bordered to the East by West Nile. The language spoken by Mundari people is referred to as “Kutuk na Mundari”, since they are Nilotic tribes, their language is similar to others.
Like many other Nilotic tribes, more so those in South Sudan, cattle keeping is in no question at all. However with the Mundari, cattle is a treasure to them and actually considered as a currency somehow. The Mundari are famous for rearing the Ankole – Watusi Cattle which are mostly characterized by their long horns. A herd of cattle among the Mundari can go up to 850 cows and that’s why they are commonly referred to as the “Kings of Cattle”. Amongst these people, cattle are a form of wealth and a man is considered being rich according to the size of his herd.
One cow is estimated to cost $500 which makes them expensive and treasured, and a reason why they are used to pay bride price. Once a man wants to marry, they may be required to pay bride price of approximately 20 – 40 cows. The Mundari people are basically agro-pastoralists and they move with their cattle grazing in search for pasture depending on areas that have rainy seasons, at the end of the rainy season they usually camp around the banks of White Nile. Since cows are a treasure, the Mundari tend to guard them with their lives from other tribes such as Dinka who practice cattle raiding.
Mundari people practice initiation as part of their culture which is compulsory for all males. The young boys stay away from the community for a period of three months as they stay with the elders, during this time they stay naked. Various rituals are conducted which are meant to turn these boys into men. Their foreheads are then labels with a “V” shaped scar which is a sign that they are now men, enduring the process of having that “V” labelled on one’s forehead is part of the initiation process.
Uniqueness of Mundari Tribe.
There is so much attachment that Mundari people have with their cattle which makes them so unique compared to other tribes. When rearing cattle in camps that they set, every other person has a role they play. Men who are the community leaders take out the cattle for grazing in the fields, then women and girls are supposed to prepare meals while young ones clean the camp by gathering cow dung and burning it. Burning the cow dung is usually done at sunset and the smoke from it sends away any mosquitoes or insects that may want to depend on cows or even the people themselves.
This smoke also creates a very good scenery for photography with a glowing beauty of its color. Among the Mundari people, nearly everything has purpose and meaning. The ash got from burning cow dung is used as a mosquito repellant as its smeared on their bodies and on the cows, it’s also used to brush the horns of their cattle to make them brighter.
Cattle urine is used mainly by men usually to breach their hair so that it could turn to brown, it’s also used to wash hands, teeth and their faces. This urine is also drunk as it’s believed to have cleansing power.
Why you should visit Mundari People?
With developments that are arising in different African countries, many of the ethnic tribes have abandoned their cultures and risked away to new technology and advancement. Much as the Mundari people are this popular with characters that could be adventurous, you can never be sure how long this culture will survive.
The construction of a highway through the land that is ongoing must have an impact on them and further developments could leave them not the same. They are welcoming people and enjoy sharing their culture, you could think of treating yourself for such an adventure when you still can, during a South Sudan tour.