Southern Sudan Society

Southern Sudan territory is inhabited by three main ethnic groupings. These are Nilotic communities in the Upper Nile and greater Bahr El Ghazal; the Nilo-Hamitic communities who occupy Equatoria; and Bantus who also live in Equatoria and Western Bahr El Ghazal.


The famous long-horned cattle prominent in Southern Sudan


There are many nationalities in Southern Sudan. These include the Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dongotona, and Acholi, among many others. The Dinka are the largest community in Southern Sudan and are found in Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan regions.


There are many mythologies about the origins of the people in Southern Sudan. Among the Dinka, it is believed that God first created Garang and his wife Abuk who gave birth to Deng from whom all the Dinka derive their lineage.


The communities traditionally engage in pastoralism, fishing and farming. Similarly, some live semi-nomadic lives while others live in permanent settlements. The communities generally lived in communal setups under a central leader (chief or prophet) to whom all citizens pledged allegiance. Property, territory and customs were held on behalf of the communities.


Traditional Southern Sudanese dancers


Southern Sudanese speak several hundred local languages. Though inter-community hostilities occasionally occur, the people generally co-exist, intermarry and mingle freely. They are generally hospitable people.

This article was updated on Oct 20, 2009

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This article was updated on Jun 1, 2010