[QODLink]
Africa
In pictures: Cattle for wealth
South Sudan's Dinka tribe keeps cattle for its beauty and the prestige large herds bestow on their owners.
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2011 06:52 GMT

The bull has a special place in southern Sudan, especially among the Dinka, the main tribe of the region.

Indeed, Dinka culture is centred on cattle. It is the medium of exchange whether in marriage, payment of debts and blood price, or for sacrifices to the spirits and on major occasions and rites.

It is said that they keep cattle for their beauty and the prestige large herds bestow on their owners.

In Juba, the capital of the South, you can see herds led by bulls sporting horns up to six foot long being driven across town. It is a sight to behold.

The Dinka have a large vocabulary for cattle and their colours and take great interest and pride in the art of training their horns to grow in different symmetric and asymmetric shapes.

Many of the tribe's population hold names derived from the colour of their cattle.

A boy could be named after the colour of the family's best ox (Mayom, Malith, Mayen) or a girl after a cow (Ayen, Yar).

The founder of the would-be nation, John Garang, is called Mabior or the White Bull. The white bull is the most prized and is sought after for sacrifices in celebration.

Machar, meaning black bull, is the second most important for sacrifices.

Other common names are Mabok, grey bull; Madin, speckled bull; Malek, brown bull; Magot, very long horned bull; Majok, black-with-white bull; Maker, white-with-black bull, and Makoi, red bull.

The first locally brewed beer is White Bull and it competes for popularity in Juba with Red Bull, the imported caffeine drink, which is stocked even by small shops.

To reinforce its cultural reference, White Bull proudly proclaims its Southern Sudanese heritage on its label, dedicating the brew to "celebrate peace and prosperity".

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list