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Traditional initiation ceremony of Pojulu tribe in South Sudan

I am a Hygiene Promoter at JEN. I will be reporting my article on one tribes of south Sudan that is the POJULU tribe of Tijor Payam in Juba County in the North-Eastern direction from the capital city.

The Pojulu Tribe has been divided into Sub-Clans. Most of them are located in LAINYA County while few of them are located in Juba County in the north eastern part of present Juba city in Tijor Payam this tribe borders the YAMGWARA ,MUNDARIES AND THE BARI of Juba. This specific tribe have got a traditional believe in which all youths are supposed to undergo initiation for them to become adults who are entitled and free to socialize, contribute, converse, with the clan elders besides they are entitled to marry a woman after the highest bidder have been confirmed for marriage and only man together with their parent bids for the women hand in marriage.

The initiation ceremony usually involves the youth age ranging from 18th upto 45 years old who moves naked for a period of 90 days (3 months). This group of initiation partakers can do any activity in the community like grazing domestic animals, hunting among other activities like any other member in the community and the only difference is that they move naked and also they don’t sleep inside a house for that stipulated period of time. Only those people who are initiated are entitled for marriage and this has been happening since their ancestors and up-to-date it is continuing in their clans. This was proclaimed by their clan elder below.
[Water containers for drinking in Tijor]

[Clan-Elder in Tijor explaining their culture of initiation]

This tribe has got an approximate number of about 1000 to 1500 households within their geographical location. Therefore taking the ratio of population determination in south Sudan which is six members per household it would therefore be estimated to 6000-9000 population of people living in tijor Payam of Juba and those who are involved are the willing youths for instance in 2013 about 98 underwent the initiation process and 3 died 95 completed the initiation process successful and those who dies was as a result of the long period of initiation in which they couldn’t sleep in a house yet naked furthermore on a rainy season but according to their elder he said that those who died were not strong enough to become a real man ready for initiation. According to their elder above, who also proclaimed that due to the civilization that was brought after the secession of South Sudan from the united Sudan has resulted into free movement of the youth from one location to the other that has reduced the number of the youths who usually under goes initiation in their community compared to the period before the secession.

This tribe has got a minimal number of animals (cattle) and others have resorted into rearing goats and it’s through this domestic animal that they use to pay bride price, school fees, and medication especially where the case becomes serious that it has to be taken to juba which is approximately 50 miles(75km) away from their ancestral land. This tribe looks very hostile from the faces of the youth the day I was with their elder discussing about their initiation ceremony. This group of people is in most cases are mistaken to belong to the Mundari tribe because of the fact that they have identification streaks marks on their faces like the Mundari people. Their youths are warriors who are so giant and can fight an enemy mercilessly with spears or sometimes with their bare hands. Even though they looks very hostile but they were harmless to a stranger who is amidst them for the first time this is justified with the fact that their clan elder was able to narrate to me about their tradition.

Thanks for this short article I hope you have enjoyed it.    

Maliamungu M Moses

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March 27, 2014 in South Sudan |