Nuba cultures


Anyone travelling the whole Nuba area may notice that the people of different tribes look different, have different customs, and speak different languages. The Nuba themselves are well aware of their seperate identities. Yet anthropologist Siegfried Nadel (1947) saw a common Nuba culture: "Notwithstanding the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of the Nuba hill tribes, there excists something like a 'Nuba culture', a cultural make-up common to all the various groups."

According to R. Stevenson (1984), the only thing all Nuba have in common is the surroundings: "Nadel may be right in pointing to [certain] features as a generalized common pattern. Some cultural elements may, in specific cases, have sprung out of a remote common past, but this is unrewarding speculation and impossible to prove. A few of the features he cites - eating restrictions and sanctions against unavenged homocide - are not particularly common to the Nuba over against other peoples. However, the influence of a common environment should not be minimized. The peoples of an area, in spite of diversity, not uncommonly have a complex individuality, which is a kind of regional stamp or cachet. It may be considered that the Nuba peoples have, in some degree, this loose type of unity. [...] It is only very recently, with increased contacts all over the hills, that some sense of a common 'Nuba-ness' has developed."

The war has done much to unify the Nuba in the sense that they have become much more aware of their common political and economical interests. Unfortunately the Nuba living on different sides - Government or SPLA - were often set up against each other, resulting in deep distrust that will take much time to overcome. Meanwhile most Nuba people are aware that traditions in their own and in other tribes are widely recognized as typically Nuba. Wrestling of course, dances like the Kambala from Miri, etc.

Apart from several articles about the traditional Nuba cultures, I have also included information about the modern artist Khalid Kodi, who's father came from the Nuba Mountains.

The Nuba Mountains Homepage was made by Nanne op 't Ende.
You can contact me here.