Welcome back! Very little scholarly material exists about Southern Sudan, which can be readily explained given the unstable political situation and 50 plus years of civil war in the region; yet, the Nuer are known to most students of anthropology. In fact, it has been pointed out that the Nuer may well be the most important case study in the history of anthropology. He was the first anthropologist working in Africa who used research methods based on long-term fieldwork and participant observation.
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The language is very similar to Dinka and Atuot. Nuer language has a Latin-based alphabet. There are also several dialects of Nuer, although all have one written standard.
When the war began, Gordon Koang had just returned from a tour of Canada. He can still reel off a list of the cities he played. It was late and a political crisis in South Sudan, one of the world's youngest and most disadvantaged countries, had devolved into a conflict split along tribal lines. Because Koang, his wife and six children are members of the Nuer ethnic group, they became a target for forces loyal to the president, who is a Dinka. At the time, Gordon had been a successful musician for 20 years with nine albums to his name. When he returned from Canada, he says, his bank accounts were looted, his two cars were taken and his house was bulldozed. No question, they come and kill you. About 4 million people in a country of 10 million have been displaced and , killed since the war started.
The Dinka language, spoken by In an overwhelmingly oral culture, the lack of established orthography and literature is a barrier to literacy. Dr Impey collaborated with the Department of Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh on a project investigating the interplay between traditional Dinka musical forms and the Dinka language. As a music producer she was substantially involved in the creation of two songbooks and accompanying CDs of traditional Dinka songs, annotated in Dinka and English. These books not only support literacy in the new nation but contribute to the preservation of Dinka culture and identity, a concern central to post-conflict reparation. We are in the process of revising the curriculum framework to meet the needs and aspirations of the nation, and this includes the teaching of languages …. Your materials will be valuable for use in Early Child Development and Primary education. But what you are doing is killing two birds with one stone: apart from teaching Dinka children to read in their own language, you are teaching them a great deal about their own culture. This is a very good beginning. In early , the books and CDs were distributed to schools, churches who run literacy programmes , community centres, government ministries, and foreign NGOs promoting education.