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Updated Apr 23, 2020

A photo essay in Deutsche Welle puts the spotlight on the Mundari people of South Sudan, a semi-nomadic cattle herders living along the White Nile River, north of the capital Juba.

 

South Sudanese members of the Mundari ethnic group wrestle in a dusty patch where the tribe brought cattle and sheep for sale in Juba on July 7, 2011 two days before South Sudan secedes from the north and becomes the world's newest nation. The Mundari are majorly cattle keepers who live in the south and pride themselves in being good wrestlers. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP
Two members of the Mundari ethnic group wrestle in a dusty patch in Juba, where the tribe brought cattle and sheep for sale. The Mundari pride themselves in being good wrestlers. (Roberto Schmidt / AFP)

 

The Mundaris’ pastoral lifestyle seems like an oasis of calm in a country that has just recently emerged from a civil war, but they, like so many other communities in South Sudan, have also been affected by the instability and chaos. Armed men raid Mundari communities for their prized cattle, taking the animals to the capital Juba to sell them.

 

a Chinese-funded highway project initiated last year seeks to connect Juba to Terekeka

 

As refugees begin to trickle back and a semblance of normalcy returns, the influx of middle-aged men has doubled the cost of a dowry for a bride from twenty to forty cows.

Even their relative isolation is likely to change: a Chinese-funded highway project initiated last year seeks to connect Juba to Terekeka, a winter retreat for the Mundari, shortening travel time from four hours to one. 

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