28 Nov 2020


State Information

The People Of Jonglei State


The common language used in Jonglei is Arabic. Local languages are also used by many people inhabiting the area to communicate. These are:

The common Religion is Christianity


SuniThe Dinka are tall black people or related group of people living along the eastern banks of the River Nile in Jonglei State within the large swampy area on River Bor through Malakal and Renk in the North and south west of Ethiopia. They are group that gradually originated from the original settlers of the Dinka society and spread over in recent centuries. The land is that is occupied by the Dinka is rich in natural resources such as oil and aluminum among others.

The Dinka Bor are a branch of river lake Nilotes that migrated from Bahr el Ghazal region where the Luo people that moved to East Africa and those who settled in central Uganda lived. The Dinka in Jonglei lived near the hot and humid homeland of the River Nile, with their population estimated to be slightly over 400,000 in Bor, Twic East and Duk counties according to the 2008 census.

The Dinka people are very religious people and are mostly Christian though they believed in African traditional ways of life. They believe in life after death and are God fearing.

The Dinka have the traditional system of leadership; the traditional chief is regarded as the natural police that take charge of law and order in the community.  Among the Dinka, those with political and social clout are highly respected. These include: chiefs, rain makers and spear masters. They command respect in the society because the community believes in their capabilities to bring success, victory and abundance. The Dinka people abhor attributes such as greed, theft, gossip and fornication and children are taught about them at early stages. All Dinka or Jieng have an element of being a ‘socialist society’, when it comes to things that bring the people together such as marriage, collective defense/ war, blood compensation payment and others.

The Dinka have strong communal values and have trust in each other. One can for instance, leave their cattle with someone and still get them after ten years of separation.

The Dinka community used the open justice system where they held their courts under a big tree. In such occasions, both the aggrieved and aggrieved would be given equal opportunities to give their side of the story. Subsequent appropriate legal action was then meted. The Dinka also believed in supernatural powers. For instance, an adulterous woman or man was not allowed to pass or stay near a sick person as they were deemed full of devilish spells.

The Dinka are both farmers and pastoralists. They grow crops for home consumption and commercial purposes while at the same time tending to livestock. They grow crops such as grains, maize and  peanuts on the loam fertile soil of the area. Women do most of the agricultural work, while the men clear the land.  The boys look after cattle and the girls help mothers at home.

Being a pastoralist community, a man is valued by the number of cattle keeps. A man would normally marry several wives and have several children as a status. As a sign of pride, a man identifies an ox which he names after himself and composes a song for him.

Among the Dinka, children born are named after their dead parents and kin.

Image: An art depicting a Dinka man .


Last updated at 11/20/2020