26 May 2020


community map



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 Ndogo form a small yet dominant group of the Fertit groups, according to several accounts. They are kindred to the Kresh numbering about 40,000 and are found scattered around Wau, Raga, Deim Zubier.
Their traditional settlements are Buvalo, Ngotongo, Abushakka, Dumbe, Yomo, Fei, Bisellio and Mboro.

Environment, Economy and Natural Resources

The land of the Ndogo is low-lying plains punctuated by isolated rocky outcrops (hills) drained by a host of perennial streams of which, the most prominent are: Gete, Pongo (Kpango) and Bussere.
The climate is tropical and the vegetation is thick forest with tall grasses. The annual rainfall is sufficient to support extensive agricultural practices. The Ndogo economy is essentially agrarian and subsistence. However, they keep goats, sheep and fowl, which they use for social and religious purposes. The area has a huge potential in forest products.

Mythology and History

Mboro-Waye (born 1800, died 1888) is said to have been the founder of the family. Before him, nobody is known. The Ndogo ancestors are said to have originated at the head of the Kpango River. They grew their crops along its headstreams but mainly to the south. Their first move northwards, according to the constant tradition of the elders, was caused by a big famine but further migration in the same direction was due in part to Azande pressure and slave raids.


The Ndogo speak a language very close to that of Sere, Bai and Bviri thereby, suggestive of a common origin. This is re-enforced by common physical characteristics, customs and beliefs of the four ethnic communities.

Society, Social Events, Attitudes, Customs and Traditions

The Ndogo are predominantly agrarian organised into agnatic clans and families. Their most important social events and customs include marriage celebrations which have been recorded as impressive; their funeral rituals; magic and charms rituals that link with their traditional beliefs.

Social-Political Organisation Traditional Authority

Tradition has it that the Ndogo had powerful traditional leaders like Mboro Kpogede ( died in 1943). Apart from records, there is nothing indicative of their social organisation. Thus, there is yet much research to be done about this ethnic community.

Spirituality, Belief and Customs

Like their kindred ethnic communities mentioned above, the Ndogo believe and practice traditional African religion, magic and charms. They recognise the existence of a supreme being (Dungbali) and the spirits of the departed ancestors with whom they communicate with through prayers, offerings and others mediated by mediums, fortune-tellers, or medicine men or women.

Culture: Arts, Music, Literature, Handicraft

The Ndogo culture - renowned to be the richest among the Fertit groups - is orally reflected in songs, dance, music, folklore and body marks. There much of the community’s history and experiences embedded in their songs and dance.

Neighbours, Foreign Relations and Co-operation

The Ndogo neighbour:
Bai to the west
Gollo and Sere to the east
Boor to the south.
The relations with Azande and the Arabs have been always bad.

Latest Developments

The numbers of the Ndogo and other kindred groups have been declining and was accelerated by the just ended long running civil war, disease and migration to towns especially to northern Sudan.


Little is known about organised Ndogo Diaspora although there could be individual immigrants in different parts of the world. The largest Ndogo community outside their land are to be found in Khartoum.

Further Reading

Stefano Santandrea, ‘A tribal history of the Bahr el Ghazal.’ MuseumCombonianum N 17, Bologna, 1964

Stefano Santandrea, ‘Ethno-geography of Bahr el Ghazal .’ Editrice Missionaria Italiana, Via dell’Arcoveggio 80/7, Bologna, 1981.

Seligman, C. G., and Seligman, B. Z., ‘Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan.’ George Routledge & Sons Ltd., London, 1932

State Information