The Name | Demography and Geography |Environment, Economy and Natural Resources | Mythology and History | The Language | Society: Social Events, Attitudes, Customs and Traditions | Marriage | Birth | Naming | Divorce | Relationships | Death | Social and Political Organisation, Traditional Authority, etc. | Spirituality, Belief and Customs | Culture: Arts, Music, Literature, Handicraft | Neighbours and Relationships | Latest Developments |Diaspora
Demography and Geography
The Mundu people belong to the central Sudanic group. They are found in Maridi district in western Equatoria and into the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo. On the Sudan side of the border they number about 50,000 to 60,000. Their main settlements and towns are Ras Wullu, Maridi, Ibba.
Environment, Economy and Natural Resources
Mundu land is situated in tropical rain forest of western Equatoria. The terrain is a series of low lying hills that form the Nile-Congo water shed, dissected by valleys drained by perennial streams which flow into the river Nile. The Mundu are predominantly agrarian living in solitary settlements. The economy is subsistence agriculture and the main crops are millet, cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, yams, palm oil, maize and rice. The area is rich in forest products: timber, honey, and in small games.
Mythology and History
The Mundu are said to have migrated together with other Sudanic groups from Central Africa Republic and settled in their present place in the 18th century. They have had conflict with the Azande. Tradition has it that on his deathbed Gbudwe sent his army to kill and behead the Mundu king and to have the head buried with him. This has not been forgotten or forgiven by the Mundu that even in the late 1970s when the Azande wanted to construct the Gbudwe grave into a national monument officiated by the President of the Republic, the Mundu community in Yambio put up a stiff resistance and the ceremony was cancelled.
The Mundu speak a language related to the Ndogo and Feroghe languages.
Society, Social Events, Attitudes, Customs and Traditions
There is little information in print about the social organisation of the Mundu. However, the fact that they had kings indicate that they were socially better organised and must have had evolved customs and traditions that made them stick together as people in face of their stronger adversaries. More research needs to be carried out to establish their current social organisation, norms and practices.
Socio-Political Organisation and Traditional Authority
The Mundu used to have kings and chiefs which means like the Azande and other communities who had such authority the Mundu had a concept of a state. This traditional system of authority has been eroded by the harried existence of the Mundu being driven backwards and forwards between Sue and Yei Rivers by the ebb and flow of inter-tribal warfare. The Mundu now have government appointed chiefs but they also subscribe to the authority of the magicians, fortune tellers, oracles and charms which control their spiritual life.
Spirituality, Beliefs and Customs
The Mundu are extremely superstitious practicing all kinds of witchcraft, sorcery and magic. This could be explained in terms of the difficulties to which they have been subjected in their lives. The practice of witchcraft therefore must be viewed as a defence mechanism against the spirits and the living.
Culture, Arts, Music, Literature and Handicraft
Mundu culture and social values are expressed in their songs, dance poetry, physical arts, dance and folklore. Their culture and social values are largely oral. Like the Baka and Bongo, the Mundu make the best tomb totems from hard wood. They were also advanced in the smelting of iron. These iron products: axes, spears and hoes were traded with the neighbouring communities. Their interaction with modern forces has led to the destruction of this indigenous knowledge system. The Mundu are skilful wood carvers and craftsmen. They give much attention to basketwork, strainers to filter beer, baskets for carrying things, basket-pots for fishing, basket-work walls of huts and bee-hives.
Neighbours and Foreign Relations
The Mundu neighbour the Baka, Avukaya and the Azande. The relations with the Azande have not been friendly due to warfare.
The Mundu have also been affected by the war. The fighting for the capture of Maridi in 1991 drove many Mundu to stay with their kins in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The only known Mundu Diaspora is in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Seligman, C. G., and Seligman, B. Z., ‘Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan.’ George Routledge & Sons Ltd., London, 1932
Stefano Santandrea, ‘A Tribal History of the Western Bahr el Ghazal.’ Museum Combonianum No. 17 Editrice Nigrezia, Bologna, 1964.