It is a land much acclaimed for the contemporary nature of its cultural ethos, and much appreciated for the soothing, rejuvenating paradise that it is.
The Dinka are a group of several closely related peoples living in southern Sudan along both sides of the White Nile. They cover a wide area along the many streams and small rivers, concentrated in the Upper Nile province in southeast Sudan and across into southwest Ethiopia.
Ancient pictographs of cattle in Egypt give reason to associate the Dinka with the introduction of domesticated cattle south of the Sahara. Around BC, herders who also fished and tilled settled in the largest swamp area in the world, the area of southern Sudan where the flood plain of the White Nile is also fed by the Rivers Bor, Aweil and Renk.
The Dinka are one of three groups that gradually developed from the original settlers. Dinka society spread out over the area in recent centuries, perhaps around AD The Dinka defended their area against the Ottoman Turks in the mids and repulsed attempts of slave merchants to convert them to Islam.
Otherwise they have lived in seclusion.
The Dinka are one of the branches of the River Lake Nilotes. Though known for centuries as Dinka noted in various sources as deriving phonetically from the term or name Dengthey actually call themselves Moinjaang, " People of the people.
The various sub-groups call themselves by various other names.
The more numerous Southern Luo branch includes peoples throughout central Uganda and neighboring sections of Zaire and the lake area of western Kenya. The Dinka peoples still live near the hot and humid homeland of the River-Lake Nilotes.
They are the largest ethnic group in southern Sudan.
The Dinka groups retain the traditional pastoral life of the Nilotes, but have added agriculture in some areas, growing grains, peanuts, beans, corn maize and other crops. Women do most of the agriculture, but men clear forest for the gardening sites. There are usually two plantings per year.
Their culture incorporated strategies for dealing with the annual cycle of one long dry season and one long rainy season. The boys tend goats and sheep while the men are responsible for the cattle.
The cattle are central to the Dinka culture and worlview.
A man will identify with one special ox, will name it and compose songs and dances about the ox. He calls himself by the name of the ox, which is given to him at his initiation to adulthood. The ox will be referred to by many reference names, allusions to the direct name, which is actually its colour.
The Dinka expect an individual to be generous to others in order to achieve status in the society. They base their life on values of honor and dignity.
They discuss and solve problems in public forums.
The Dinka peoples speak a series of closely-related languages which are grouped by linguists into five broad families of dialects. The five formal languages are called by linguists Northeastern, Northwestern, Southeastern, Southwestern and South Central. These titles encompass all the known dialects of Dinka speech.
Ongoing research and analysis entails continual revision of the formal classification of Dinka speech forms. The standard reference for these languages and all languages of the world is the ISO language standard, published in the Ethnologue. The current codes are referenced at the top of this profile.
A Dinka correspondent has commented on the classification of one subgroup, the Twic, or Tuic. This writer refers to the Dinka as Jieng, a name appearing in some formal sources as Jaang.
Putting Twic East under Bor is totally wrong, it a separate language. The Ethnologue does account for Tuic as a distinct ethnic and language entity in the Dinka, Southeastern group, as suggested.The Advisory Board on Autism and Related Disorders (ABOARD) is non-profit (c)(3) organization that helps those with autism achieve their maximum social, educational, and vocational potential.
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