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Mundaris stand with a UN peacekeeper in front of a fish drying rack in Tombek, Sudan (2007).

The Mundari are a small nilotic tribe of cattle herders and agriculturalists native to Southern Sudan. Mundari is also the name of the language spoken by that people which is in the Bari family of languages, like Kuku, Kakaw, Pojulu and Nyangwara.

Tribal land

The traditional Mundari tribal lands are located roughly 75 kilometers north of Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, and are centered around the town of Terekeka in the state of Central Equatoria. They are bordered to the north by the Bor Dinka at Pariak and to the south by the Bari of Juba at the Ku'da River. Their lands are bounded on the east by the White Nile and extend west to Lake Madi in Western Equatoria state, an area roughly 100 by 75 kilometers in size.

The land, like much of Southern Sudan, is predominantly flat and marked by occasional isolated large hills. The low-lying land contains many rivers and lakes and is prone to flooding during the rainy season. The soil is predominantly clay-based, causing drainage and water retention problems, and provides a very fertile basis in support of cattle grazing.

The main settlements in Mundariland are Terekeka, Mangalla, Gemaiza, Muni, Tombek, Tindalo, Tali, Rego, Rokon, Koweri and Ku'da.

Culture

The Mundari, like other nilotic tribes, are very cattle-oriented: cattle serves as food, a form of currency and a mark of status. Marriages are arranged by the prospective groom offering cattle to the bride's family and husbands may take as many wives as they can support. The Mundari engage in perennial cattle raiding wars with the Bor Dinka during the dry season.

The Mundari also cultivate sorghum and catch fish using nets and spears.

In common with other nilotic tribes in Sudan, the Mundari practice ritual scarification as a rite of passage into adulthood for young men. The typical Mundari scar pattern consists of two sets of three parallel lines, each on either side of the forehead, extending in a downward slope and unconnected in the middle.

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