Culture And People Of South Sudan

The Republic of South Sudan is the youngest countries in the world, located in the Eastern region of Africa. It is bordered by Uganda in the South, Central African Republic in West, Ethiopia in East, and Sudan in North.

The Republic of South Sudan is one of Africa’s largest countries by size, and covers an area of about 248,776 square miles. Incidentally, its size puts it as the 41 st largest country by size globally. The Republic of South Sudan became autonomous from Sudan in 2005, and saw its independence and subsequent admission into the United Nations in 2011. Its capital city is Juba.

Culture and people of South Sudan.

Of the many religions that are practiced in the country, Christianity accounts for the largest number of devout. The African traditional religion comes second, whereas Islam and other few remaining faiths account for the remaining devout. The Republic of South Sudan is widely composed of Nilotic people and among the composition tribes are Luos, Dinka, Nuer, Madi, Otuho, Murle, Didinga, Topossa, Acholi, Shilluk, Balanda, and many more tribes.

English language is constitutionally gazetted as the country’s official language. Other widely spoken languages by indigenous communities are Dinka, Bari, Arabic, Luo, Nuer, and other less popular languages. Citizens of the Republic of South Sudan are known as South Sudanese. The population of the country is estimated at about 13 million people.

As part of culture and traditional customs, storytelling and poetry are revered tenets to the tribes in South Sudan. Much of the rhythm is captured in both ancestral and modern music. The grooves are so alien to hundreds of the tribes that live in the far lands, a characteristic that makes the music stand out uniquely. One of the most adored traditional instruments is the “kpaningbo,” a xylophone that is crafted in an equally unique way. It’s made out of wood, and its large size accommodates 3 players at a time.

While in most rural areas (villages), it’s a common sight of this instrument being played while its sound is accompanied by the village occupants dance in a circular flow with them, percussion instruments (commonly bells). Tribes in South Sudan also have a strong attachment to the traditional folklore which is part of the country’s literature. Most of this however, is through oral literature form. Stories of the tribal ancestry, wars and other cultural attachments are often told by community elders to the younger generation. These also include riddles and proverbs.

Tribes in South Sudan.


According to history, these are projected to have moved southwards from the Sahara areas along River Nile. They are part of the Nilotic people. They came across the Atuot people and later the Dinka with whom they mildly intermarried. The migrations were first dominant in the 1800’s.

They use a reference of ‘Naath’. This is loosely translated in the English language as ‘human beings. These mainly tall people are pre-dominantly herders, and highly regard their cattle. Their prestige rests in the heads of cattle one owns. They also carry out some arable farming but their attachment to their cattle supersedes this. 


Muonyjang, as they love to refer to themselves, are also part of the Nilotic people. They are the largest tribal composition in this country. Their history is traced from their initial area of settlement in “Bahr el ghazel.” They have some similar tendencies to the Nuer in as far as rearing cattle. They also have a composition of numerous subgroups.

The other common tribes in the Republic of South Sudan are Otuho, Shilluk, Toposa. All these tribes have distinct traditional customs and cultural history that’s worth exploring while in the country, especially the Shilluk Kingdom’s history, and what befell it in the latter generations.

Common foods (recipes) and drinks.

The South Sudanese cuisine is composed of a wide stock of recipes. Food components from sorghum, and maize is the commonest. Others are ordinary vegetables, yam, beans, peanuts (and other legumes), potatoes, legumes, chicken, goat meat, fish (dried and fresh), beef, mutton, fruits, and many more.

Of the many types of food recipes and other food stuffs alike, the ‘mabaan recipe’ is outstanding. This recipe is made out of wheat, which is locally referred to as ‘durra’. This is used to make the popular “Kisra.” It’s common in the sub-Saharan countries of Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, and some parts of Ethiopia. This is realized from a special mix of fermented bread. The sorghum flour that’s consumed out of making this recipe is in tons in the country. The combination of kisra with vegetable stew, or a choice of meat, often times leaves the visitors yearning for more.

Mandazi is another element of the food parade in the Republic of South Sudan. It’s an equivalent of the usual doughnuts. Milk and sugar, mixed with yeast and flour, are completed with the combination of water. These ingredients are what forms the delicious Mandazi. It has origins from Swahili people of the East African coast.

Molokhia is another food recipe. It’s a combination of grinded jute leaves, which are cooked within broth. It’s also mixed with some garlic, giving away delicious green soup. Other common foods in the country are; goat meat soup, sorghum porridge commonly known as ‘aseeda’, tamia, millet porridge commonly known as ‘wala wala’, peanut sweet also known as ‘ful sudan’, among other recipes.

Regarding drinks, coffee and common beers are present. Other drinks like sodas, juice, whiskey, and locally made drinks are always in plenty.