The Nuer have a traditional religious worldview usually called “animistic.” But they worship a supreme being called Kwoth (Kuoth) who has various manifestations with which some claim to have personal relationships. The Nuer pray for health and well-being, offering sacrifices to Kwoth so he will answer their petitions.
The Nuer diet primarily consists of fish and millet. “Their staple crop is millet.” Millet is formally consumed as porridge or beer. The Nuer turn to this staple product in seasons of rainfall when they move their cattle up to higher ground.
The Nuer honor and appease the spirits of their ancestors. Cattle are sacrificed to god and the spirits. As among the neighboring Dinka, religious thought and practice is a dialogue with Kuoth.
Nuer, people who live in the marsh and savanna country on both banks of the Nile River in South Sudan. They speak an Eastern Sudanic language of the Nilo-Saharan language family.
The Dinka and Nuer, two rival pastoralist groups, have competed over grazing land and water for their cattle in the past. These clashes have usually taken place in a local context without causing massive amounts of fatalities.
1: a member of a Nilotic people of southern Sudan. 2: the language of the Nuer people.
Dinka are sometimes noted for their height. With the Tutsi of Rwanda, they are believed to be the tallest people in Africa. Roberts and Bainbridge reported the average height of 182.6 cm (5 ft 11.9 in) in a sample of 52 Dinka Agaar and 181.3 cm (5 ft 11.4 in) in 227 Dinka Ruweng measured in 1953–1954.
South Sudan’s two predominant and most populous tribes, the Dinka and Nuer were longtime rivals who had battled over land and resources since at least the 19th century. As herders most historical inter-communal conflicts between these two communities are necessitated by geographic and not necessarily political factors.
This novel has story lines; the first follows Nya, whose family is part of the Nuer tribe. She lives in South Sudan in the year 2008. The second story line begins in 1985 in the South Sudan where Salva is an eleven year old boy who is a member of the Dinka tribe.
Both Nuer and Dinka are cattle herders on the vast savannas of the region. The Nuer are fully transhumant; the Dinka less so as their environment is less harsh and better watered, consisting of orchard savanna rather than the treeless plains of Nuerland.
Facial scarification is practiced among many ethnic groups in South Sudan, and various marks across the faces of tribesmen give identity to the tribe and beauty to its women. Men of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan scar their faces with three parallel lines across the forehead in a rugged display of courage to the tribe.