In pictures: Cattle for wealth

South Sudan's Dinka tribe keeps cattle for its beauty and the prestige large herds bestow on their owners.

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    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


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