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Sudan / Peoples /
Nuer
Other name: Naath


People living in the marshes and savanna in the Nile valley in southern Sudan, with a population of 1,400,000 (2002 estimate). They call themselves Naath, but their neighbours, the Dinka, Shilluk and Arabs use "Nuer".
The Nuer form small communities exercising much autonomy from the central government in Khartoum. Each community is made up of patrilineal clans. Their communities are not closed, and groups originally belonging to other peoples have been included into the Nuer communities.
Their lifestyles still include many traditional elements, and polygamy is still common.
Their main economic activity is cattle-raising, but added activities are growing of millet and catching fish in the Nile river. Their lifestyles are semi-nomadic, where they live in villages during the rainy season, but live along the rivers during the dry season.
They speak a language that belongs to the Nilo-Saharan family.
The Nuer's religion belongs to the category that is stamped Traditional Religion, and sometimes erroneously Primitive Religion. Their belief system is complex, with a rich system of myths and rituals, and plays an integral part of the society. They pray and sacrifice to a god associated with the sky and the air. The god is represented by lesser deities relating to different social groups and many natural phenomenons.




By Tore Kjeilen