Friday 30 November 2018

Maltese Folk Music and Singing: Ghana

Traditional Maltese folk music has deep roots that date back to the 16th century, since music has always played an important part in the every day life of Maltese people.
This type of local folk music is called
ghana in Maltese (not to be mistaken with the country Ghana).

It can safely be said that folk music in Malta was heavily influenced by its geographical location. In fact, researchers state that ghana is a combination of the famous Sicilian ballad mixed with Arabic tunes.
In the old days, visitors to the Maltese islands used to comment that they were very impressed with the Maltese people's seemingly natural ability to sing and ryhme.

This folk singing was widespread on the islands and you could hear men and women singing while doing their daily activities on the farm, in the fields or around the house.

Ghana was in fact the music of peasants, fishermen and working class men and women.

A close look at the lyrics will reveal that each song usually recounts a story about life in the village or some important event in Malta history.

Street hawkers used to sing folk songs to attract attention to their products and declare how their products where better than the ones the seller next to them was selling! That's traditional Maltese marketing for you!

The acoustic guitar is the prominent musical instrument in Maltese ghana

Nowadays the ghannej (meaning folk singer) is usually accompanied by three guitarists. However, in the old days there used to be other musicians accompanying the singer.

Musical instruments used included the
zaqq (a form of bagpipes), the zavzava
(a type of drum), the tambur (a tambourine), the argunett (a mouth harp) and the accordion.

Types of Ghana

There are many types of Maltese folk singing but perhaps the two main categories are the following:

BOTTA U RISPOSTA (or Spirtu Pront)
This type of ghana requires a lot of skill and is the most popular form of ghana. Usually sung by two singers, this is more like a song-duel. Each singer has to come up with fresh verses on the spot so whoever's singing must be a quick thinker and also has the uncanny ability to ryhme. Nothing is prepared beforehand so it's all improvised singing!


This type of folk singing is very melancholic and in this type of ghana, the singer usually recounts a story that ends tragically.

Where can you hear traditional Maltese folk music and singing?

In the centre and south of Malta, some band clubs and bars organize Ghana Nights.

If you're lucky, you might even come across some impromptu folk singing in a village bar!

Prominent heritage and cultural events usually include ghana singing as well.

•culled from

What Languages Are Spoken In Brunei?

Standard Malay is the official language of Brunei.
A number of languages are spoken in Brunei, but Standard Malay is the nation's official language. English is an important foreign language spoken in the country. Several indigenous languages spoken in Brunei are threatened with extinction. Here is a description of the linguistic landscape of Brunei.

The Official Language of Brunei

The 1959 Constitution of Brunei regards Malay as the official language of the country. There are many variants of the language, but Standard Malay is widely accepted as the national language. It is used for most official purposes, in courts, and as a medium of instruction in schools.

Brunei Malay or Melayu Brunei is the Malay variant that is spoken in Brunei in informal occasions, at home, between friends, and in shops. It also serves as the lingua franca in parts of East Malaysia. Presently, the growing popularity of Brunei Malay is threatening the survival of the other indigenous minority languages spoken in the country.

Minority Languages Spoken In Brunei

Indigenous Minority Languages

Brunei recognizes five indigenous minority groups inhabiting the country. These ethnic groups speak their own languages, namely Lun Bawang, Tutong, Bisaya, Belait, and Dusun. All of these languages are at risk of extinction. Only Lun Bawang is in a relatively better position among these languages, as it is spoken in Lawas, across the Malaysian border.


Brunei's Chinese minority speak different varieties of Chinese like Hakka, Cantonese, and Hokkien. Mandarin acts as the lingua franca among the Chinese community of Brunei. It also serves as the language of instruction in some schools in China.
Indian and Nepali Languages
Brunei has a significant population of Indians who form a minority group in the country. A large expatriate community of about 7,500 Indians also resides here. Most Indians in Brunei originate from southern India and therefore Tamil, a South Indian language, is the most common language spoken by the Indians of Brunei.
Brunei also has a contingent of Nepali soldiers stationed in Serai. The most common language spoken by these soldiers is Gurkhali.

Expatriate Languages

Immigrants to Brunei speak their own languages. Batak, Indonesian, Javanese, Betawi, Sundanese, Ambonese, English, Filipino, and Dutch are some of the languages spoken by Brunei's expatriate communities.

Foreign Languages


Islam is the official religion of Brunei and thus Arabic, the language of the Quran, plays an important role in the country. Most adherents of Islam can speak and write in Arabic to some proficiency level. Religious and other schools in the country teach Arabic. The law mandates Islamic children aged 7 to 15 to attend a religious school, known as the Ugama School, 5 days a week for 3 hours. Arabic is taught in these schools. Also, there are 6 Arabic schools in the nation.


English is a widely spoken language in Brunei. The language is primarily used in business and official dealings. The
Borneo Bulletin is an English newspaper that circulates in Brunei. The education system in Brunei is also bilingual, and English is one of the important languages of instruction in the educational institutions across the country. Since, 1985, English has served as the medium of instruction of most subjects from the primary school's 4th year onwards. Recently, a new rule mandates the use of English in the teaching of math and science from the beginning of primary school.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Which Are The Biggest Cities In Brunei?

Situated on the northern banks of the Brunei River, Bandar Seri Begawan is Brunei's biggest and capital city.

Where Is Brunei?

Brunei is a sovereign state located on the Borneo island's northern coast in Southeast Asia. The country has a coastline by the South China Sea and is bordered by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Brunei became an independent nation on January 1, 1984 after it achieved freedom from rule by the United Kingdom. Brunei is an industrialized nation and has the second highest HDI among the nations of Southeast Asia. As of 2013, Brunei had a population of 415,717. 76% of this population lives in urban areas of the country. Between 2010 to 2015, the rate of urbanization was 2.13% per year.

The Three Biggest Cities In Brunei

Bandar Seri Begawan

Bandar Seri Begawan is Brunei's biggest and capital city situated on the northern banks of the Brunei River. Bandar Seri Begawan was declared a city in 1920 and encompasses an area of 100.36 square km. Formerly known as Brunei Town, the city hosts the Istana Nurul Iman, the seat of the government of the country and royal residence. The Istana Nurul Iman is the world's biggest residential palace and thus has been mentioned in the Guinness World Records. Two offices of the country's prime ministers are also located here. The Bandar Seri Begawan hosts a number of tourist attractions including several beautiful mosques like the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, and others. Historical sites in Bandar Seri Begawan include the Royal Ceremonial Hall, several tombs of important figures, the Brunei Museum, palaces and more. Several landscaped parks and recreational centers are also located in the city.

Kuala Belait

Kuala Belait is the second most populous urban center in Brunei and is located in the country's southwest. The town serves as the Belait District's administrative center and is bordered by the South China Sea to the north. The Belait River from which the town derives its name is to the west and south of the town. Originally, Kuala Belait was a small fishing village populated by fishermen. The village gradually grew into an important town in the country. The town is located close to the onshore Rasau gas field. Several tourist attractions are also located in the city including the Silver Jubilee, Kuala Belait Boat Club, Tudong Saji market, the Istana Mangelella residence of the Sultan of Brunei, etc. Transport options are limited in this Brunei town.


Seria is a town in Brunei Darussalam's Belait District. The town is located about 16 km to the east of Kuala Belait and the country's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan is about 100 km to the north-east of the town. Seria is Brunei's oil industry hub. It is here that Brunei's first commercial onshore oilfield was discovered. Seria is actually located on the Seria Field that was discovered in 1929. The Seria Mosque, Oil and Gas Discovery Center, Sungei Seria estuary, Billionth Barrel Monument, etc., are some of the tourist attractions in Seria.

Which Are The Biggest Cities In Brunei?

Rank Name Population
1 Bandar Seri Begawan 64,409
2 Kuala Belait 31,178
3 Seria 30,097
4 Tutong 19,151
5 Bangar 3,970

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Thursday 29 November 2018

What Languages Are Spoken in Bhutan?

The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha.
Bhutan has a diverse linguistic landscape. The Dzongkha language is the country's national language. Most languages spoken in the country belong to the Tibeto-Burman language family. Here is a list of languages that are spoken in Bhutan.

Tibetan Languages Spoken in Bhutan

Dzongkha: The Official and National Language of Bhutan

The Sino-Tibetan language of Dzongkha serves as the mother tongue of the Bhutanese people residing in eight western districts of the country. The language is used in government administration and as the medium of instruction in Bhutan's schools. The language uses the Tibetan alphabet for writing. As of 2013, there are about 171,080 native speakers of Dzongkha. Studying Dzongkha is compulsory in schools across the country. In the southern and eastern districts of Bhutan, the language serves as a lingua franca.

Chocangaca language

Closely related to Dzongkha, the Chocangaca language is spoken in eastern Bhutan's Mongar and Lhuntse Districts. The Southern Tibetic language is spoken by about 20,000 people.


The Southern Tibetic language of Lakha is spoken in central Bhutan's Trongsa and Wangdue Phodrang Districts. There are about 8,000 Lakha speakers in the country, who are mostly descendants of the yakherd pastoral communities.


An endangered Southern Tibetic language, the Brokkat language is spoken by only about 300 residents in the Dhur village located in central Bhutan's Bumthang District.


The Southern Tibetic language of Brokpa is spoken in parts of eastern Bhutan's Trashigang District. Speakers of this language trace their origins to the pastoral yakherd groups of Bhutan.


The indigenous Layaps who are descendants of nomadic or semi-nomadic cattle herders, living in northwest Bhutan's high mountains, speak the Laya language. Most speakers of this language live at altitudes above 3,850 meters.

Khams Tibetan

The language is spoken in Eastern Bhutan by about 1,000 people.

East Bodish Languages Of Bhutan


The language is spoken in the Bumthang and neighboring districts of Bhutan by about 20,000 speakers. It is the main language of Central Bhutan.


The language is spoken in south-central Bhutan's Mongar, Zhemgang, and Trongsa Districts by about 40,000 speakers.


The East Bodish language of Kurtöp is spoken in Bhutan's Lhuntse District. As of 1993, there were 10,000 Kurtöp speakers who mainly resided in Kurtoe Gewog.


The Dzala language is spoken in the Trashiyangtse and Lhuntse Districts of eastern Bhutan by about 15,000 speakers.


The language is spoken in the Black Mountain region of Bhutan by about 10,000 people.


The language is spoken in western Bhutan's Black Mountains region. There are about 1,000 speakers of Ole, mainly concentrated in the Trongsa and Wangdue Phodrang Districts of the country.


The language is spoken in eastern Bhutan's Trashigang District.


The Chali language is spoken in eastern Bhutan's Mongar District by about 8,200 speakers. The language is primarily spoken along the Kuri Chu river's east bank in Chhali Gewog.

Other Tibeto-Burman Languages Of Bhutan


The language is the mother tongue of the Sharchops and is spoken in eastern Bhutan, where it is a dominant language. There are about 138,000 speakers of the language.


An endangered language, the Gongduk is spoken by about 1,000 people living in remote villages along the banks of eastern Bhutan's Kuri Chhu river.


About 2,000 Lepcha people living in Bhutan speak the Lepcha language that is written using the Lepcha script.
The Lhokpu language is spoken by about 2,500 people in Bhutan.

Indo-Aryan Languages Spoken In Bhutan


The Nepali language is spoken mainly in southern Bhutan by about 265,000 Lhotshampa people living in the country. The Lhotshampa are Bhutanese residents of Nepalese descent, commonly referred to as southerners in the country. The Nepali language is the only Indo-Aryan language spoken by a significant majority in Bhutan.

Border Languages Spoken In Bhutan

The Sikkimese is a Tibetan language that is spoken by the Bhutia people in the Sikkim-Bhutan border in Western Bhutan, and also in Nepal and the Sikkim state of India.


The Tibetan language of Groma is spoken by the Tibetans living along the Tibet-Bhutan border.


A language of the Tibeto-Burman family, the Toto language is spoken by the people of the Toto tribe along Bhutan's border with the Indian state of West Bengal.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Biggest Cities And Towns In Bhutan

Bhutan's cities and towns are nestled amidst the mountains and valleys of the Himalayas, several being famous hubs for tourism.
Bhutan is a landlocked sovereign state in the Eastern Himalayas. China, Indian, and Nepal are the bordering countries of Bhutan. In 2008, the governance of the country transitioned from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, and the first general elections of the country were held in the same year. Bhutan's cities and towns each have their unique characteristics. Thimpu is the nation's biggest and capital city. Paro is the site of the country's international airport. Bhutan's commercial hub is Phuntsholing and Punakha is the country's former capital. The administrative headquarters of Tsirang District and the Bumthang District are Damphu and Jakar respectively. Mongar is the nation's eastern commercial hub.

The Four Biggest Cities/Towns Of Bhutan


Thimpu is the Kingdom of Bhutan's largest and capital city. Thimpu stretches from north to south on the west bank of the Raidāk River's valley. It is the world's third highest capital city and lies at an altitude of 2,248 meters to 2,648 meters. Thimpu is the economic and political center of the country and its agriculture and livestock industry contributes to 45% of the Gross National Product. Tourism is also a popular source of income in the city. The National Assembly of Bhutan and the Dechencholing Palace of the King of Bhutan as well as other political buildings of Bhutan. Thimpu has a rich cultural heritage and the art, architecture, and people's way of life in Thimpu reflects the culture of the country.


Phuntsholing, a border town of Bhutan on the India-Bhutan border, is located in southern Bhutan. It is the Chukha District's administrative seat. The cross-border trade between the Indian town of Jaigaon and Phuntsholing has greatly boosted the economy of this Bhutanese city. Phuntsholing is a major industrial, trading, and financial hub of the country. The town is regarded as the gateway to the trade centers in India. The border is also one of the friendliest ones in the world and tourists and traders from both the countries pass peacefully across the border to visit or conduct trade in the neighboring country.


Punakha is Punakha dzongkhag's administrative center. Until 1955, the city served as the capital of the country and seat of government. Punakha can be reached by a 3 hours drive from Thimpu that is 72 km away from the city. Punakha is relatively warmer than Thimpu in winter and is at an elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level. Punakha is also home to the Palace of Great Happiness that was constructed in 1637 and is the most beautiful Dzong in the country.

Samdrup Jongkhar

Samdrup Jongkhar is a town located in Bhutan's Samdrup Jongkhar District in the south-eastern part of the country. It is the main trading town in eastern Bhutan. Coal mining around this town contributes significantly to the country's economy.

The Biggest Cities/Towns In Bhutan

Rank City Population
1 Thimphu 62,500
2 Phuntsholing 60,400
3 Punakha 21,500
4 Samdrup Jongkhar 13,800
5 Geylegphug 6,700
6 Paro 4,400
7 Trashigang 4,400
8 Wangdue Phodrang 3,300
9 Daga Dzong 3,100
10 Trongsa 2,300

By Oshimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Sunday 25 November 2018

Ethnic Groups In Bangladesh

Bangladesh exhibits minimal ethnic diversity, with Bengali people speaking the Bangla language dominating the nation's demography.
Bangladesh is located in South Asia and bordered by the Bay of Bengal, India , and Myanmar. The country is the 8th most populous in the world with a population of 166.2 million. Its most widely practiced religion is Islam and Bengali is the official language, although different regions speak different dialects. The population of this country is nearly ethnically homogeneous, but some ethnic groups do live here in very small numbers. This article takes a look at the main ethnic group and some of the minorities as well.


As previously mentioned, the population of Bangladesh is not very ethnically diverse. In fact, 98% of the people here identify as having Bengali ethnicity. The Bengali group is part of the larger Indo-Aryan ethnic group which is native to Bangladesh and West Bengal in India. They represent the third largest ethnic group in the world. Bengalis have contributed to literature, music, philosophy, architecture, and textile production since at least as early as the 4th Century BC. This group of individuals played a key role in the fight for the independence of India and eventually the independence of Bangladesh.


Making up roughly .3% of the population is the Bihari ethnic group. Although this group speaks many languages, those living in Bangladesh tend to speak Hindi-Urdu. The Bihari descend from a long line of individuals who once made up the ancient kingdom of Magadha from which Jainism and Buddhism grew. The kingdom was later conquered by an Islamic empire and much later, British rule. In the 1940's, Biharis participated widely in the movement for India's independence. These individuals migrated from the east Indian state of Bihar to East Pakistan in 1947 during the division of the country. In December of 1971, East Pakistan became Bangladesh, and all of the Pakistani soldiers and civilians evacuated the area. The Bihari, however, were welcomed neither in Pakistan nor in Bangladesh. They had no legal protection for Pakistani citizenship and could not make their way back to Bihar state in India. The group remains "stateless" today, with roughly 600,000 living in 66 camps across Bangladesh. Some have managed to obtain Bangladeshi citizenship and still others have been permitted into Pakistan. Those born after 1971 have automatic Bangladeshi citizenship.


Another .3% of the population is made up of the Chakma ethnic group. They mainly populate the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a hilly area in the southeast region of the country. Within this region, the Chakma make up half of the population and divide themselves into 46 family clans. The majority of this ethnic group practices Theravada Buddhism and speaks the Chakma language which has been influenced by the Chittagonian language which is related to the Assamese language. They share a unique culture and customs that are markedly dissimilar to those held by other ethnic groups.


The Meitei make up a very small percentage of the Bangladeshi population, comprising only 0.1%. They are also divided into several family clans and a larger population of Meitei live in Manipur in northeastern India. Their language, Meithei, comes from the Tibeto-Burman language family. In Bangladesh, the majority of the Meitei live in the Sylhet district. Common economic activities among the Meitei include the farming of oranges, tobacco, sugarcane, pineapple, and rice. Hinduism is their most practiced religion.

Other Ethnic Groups

Other minority ethnic groups living in Bangladesh, making up around 0.1% of the population each, include Khasi, Santhal, Garo, Oraon, Munda, and Rohingya.

Ethnic Groups In Bangladesh

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Bangladeshi Population
1 Bengali 98.0%
2 Bihari 0.3%
3 Chakma 0.3%
4 Meitei 0.1%
5 Khasi 0.1%
6 Santhal 0.1%
7 Garo 0.1%
8 Oraon 0.1%
9 Munda 0.1%
10 Rohingya 0.1%

By Amber Pariona

•culled from

Thursday 22 November 2018

Ethnic Groups Of Afghanistan

Pashtun peoples are the largest ethnic group in the south of the country, while Tajiks and Uzbeks are concentrated along the norther borders, and the Hazara in the central highlands.
Afghanistan is a country in the greater Middle East. The country is located along historic trade routes, and those used by militaries during invasions, between Eastern Asia and Western Asia. It therefore enjoys a mixture of cultures borrowed from Europe, Eastern and Western Asia. The official languages in Afghanistan are Pashto and Dari. Many Afghans are bilingual. They use proverbs and common sayings in their daily conversation. Spiced rice dishes are a staple in Afghanistan. Tea is an integral beverage in their homes. Afghanistan's beautiful architecture is seen in their mosques and homes.They practice subsistence farming and also keep livestock. Pashtun make up the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, followed by Tajiks, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaks, Baloch, and others.


Pashtuns make up an estimated 42% of the population of contemporary Afghanistan. They are also known as Afghans and the name 'Afghanistan' translates to 'land of the Afghans', equally meaning 'land of the Pashtuns'. Pashtuns can further be divided into major sub-tribes, such as the Ghilzali and Durrani, and several smaller ones, including the Jaji, Safi, Wardak, Shinwari, Tani, Mohmand, Jardan, Khungiani, and Mangal. They are easily recognized form other Afghans by their Pashto language and their unique way of living called Pashtinwali. Pashtuns are predominantly Muslim. Islam has a significant influence on the Pashtun culture such as their clothing. The women wear long dresses and cover their heads. Men wear loose-fitting shirts that are of knee length and trousers tied to the waist with string. Pashtun cuisine is popular for its use of dried fruits. A famous dish in Pashtun homes is Pulao which is a spiced rice meal. They are forbidden from eating pork or indulging in alcoholic drinks. Pashtuns are traditionally nomadic pastoralists who move from place to place in search of grazing land.


Tajiks are believed to have Iranian origins, and are also referred to as Farsi. They are the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, making up an estimated 27% of the nation's population. They speak a Persian dialect known as Dari. According to a US State Department report released in 2009, Tajiks are 98% Sunni Muslims. Tajiks' meals range from sweet dishes such as Halwa to savory ones such as Pulao (spiced rice). Tajiks are famous for their elaborate embroideries on fabric. These beautiful patterns are also found on their carpets, wall hangings and head pieces. Decorative carvings on stone can be seen in Tajik homes.


Hazaras occupy the rugged central highlands regions in Afghanistan. They make up close to 10% percent of the Afghanistan population. Hazaras are said to be descendants of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. Hazaras belong to the Shia sect of Islam in a country that is mostly Sunni Muslim. As a result, they are viewed as outsiders. Hazaras work in the least desirable jobs due to their low ranking in the caste system. However, they are very industrious people.


Uzbeks form the largest Turkic group in Afghanistan, and they constitute 9% of the total population in the country. They are Sunni Muslims and occupy the Northern region of Afghanistan. They speak Uzbek, a Turkic language. Uzbeks practice early marriages and their girls are typically married off as soon as they become teenagers.


The Aimaq are a group of Persian-speaking nomadic tribes, and they constitute 4% of the total population in the country. Aimaqs live in Western Afghanistan. Women adorn themselves in brightly colored clothes while men wear cloaks and round caps. Interestingly, Aimaq women are not as restricted as other women in rural Afghanistan. They take part in group discussions with men and have a say in the choice of a groom for them.

Relations Between Afghanistan's Ethnic Factions

Other major ethnic groups in Afghanistan include Turkmen (3%) and Balochi (Baluch) (2%). There are others which do not belong to any of these aforementioned ethic groups, and collectively they make up 5% of the total population in the country. The country's national anthem mentions 14 ethnic groups that are integral to the country. The Taliban, most of whom were from the Pashtun ethnic group, were accused of systematically targeting the Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Tajiks ethnic groups. The United Nations had voiced its concern when the Taliban denied the provision of emergency food supplies to hungry people from certain groups, most of whom were Tajiks or Hazaras. With the fall of the Taliban regime, thousands of Pashtun became refugees as they fled the Uzbek-dominated regions because they were accused of being sympathizers of the Taliban.

Ethnic Groups Of Afghanistan

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population of Afghanistan
1 Pashtun (Pashto) 42%
2 Tajik 27%
3 Uzbek 9%
4 Hazara 8%
5 Aimaq 4%
6 Turkmen 3%
7 Balochi (Baluch) 2%
Other Groups 5%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Biggest Cities In Zimbabwe

Harare in Zimbabwe's northern Highveld region is the country's capital and most populous city.
Harare in Zimbabwe's northern Highveld region is the country's capital and largest city. Located in southern Africa, Zimbabwe borders Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique. The country covers a total area of 390,580 square miles and has a population estimated at 15.6 million inhabitants.

Biggest Cities In Zimbabwe


The capital, Harare boasts 1,606,000 inhabitants. Historically, Harare was established as a fort named Salisbury by the British in 1890, who were keen to seize Mashonaland. Salisbury became an important administrative and economic center for the British Southern Rhodesia administrative region. Granted city status in 1935, the city was renamed Harare in 1982, two years after the country gained independence. Harare has and still is the economic backbone of Zimbabwe. Before independence, British settlers had engaged in gold mining and agriculture. Agriculture, gold mining are still the core economic activities in Harare, as well as numerous industries. The dominant ethnic group in Harare is the Shona, followed by the Ndebele and a small population of white residents. The government of Zimbabwe has taken measures to curb slum proliferation. In April 2005, under a project known as Operation Restore Order, destruction of slums and roadside businesses was carried out by the government. In 2006, Operation Chikerema was carried out involving the construction of concrete houses which have been criticized for lacking necessary amenities such as plumbing. Most of Harare's residents live in townships around the city. There are also wealthy suburbs around the city, complete with amenities such as malls and golf clubs. Being a cultural center, Harare is dotted with historical and cultural sites including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, National Museum, Queen Victoria Library and National Archives. The National Botanic Garden in the city is home to abundant plant species while the Mukuvisi Woodlands Nature Reserve is home to some of the country's iconic wildlife. Harare has its fair share of traffic and human congestion. An emerging trend in the city is the construction of high-rise buildings.


Bulawayo City, situated in Matabeleland, is home to 1,200,337 residents. Bulawayo was established as the royal capital of King Lobengula of the Ndebele Empire. The name Bulawayo translates to 'a place where he is being killed,' symbolizing the armed struggle the King faced while claiming the throne. Bulawayo prides in a rich history, having been the setting of numerous battles as Africans resisted colonial rule. The most famous of these battles is the Matabele Uprising, also known as the First Chimurenga. The city developed as Zimbabwe's industrial center, and it is linked to the rest of the country and Zimbabwe's southern African neighbors by a network of roads and rail. Bulawayo has both colonial and urban architecture, tree-lined boulevards, and a well planned public structure. In proximity to the city are the Matobo National Park, Victoria Falls, Khami Ruins, and the Matobo Hills. In Bulawayo there are numerous industries such as cement, textiles, metals, and motor vehicles. The economic crisis in Zimbabwe adversely affected the city's economy. Unemployment and water shortages are the biggest problems in Bulawayo.


Chitungwiza town lies south of Harare and it are home to 365,026 inhabitants. The town is relatively new, having been established through the integration of Zengeza, Seke, and St Marys townships in 1978. The city has many suburbs and open markets which provide the residents with employment. Chitungwiza is a rapidly urbanizing region, set to be a fully-fledged city by 2018, under an ambitious expansion strategy approved by the government.


Mutare is home to 188,243 inhabitants and is Zimbabwe's fourth largest city. What started off as a camp for gold miners blossomed into a beautiful modern city. Mutare was granted city status in 1971, and it is the administrative and financial center of Manicaland Province. Most of the town's residents are of Shona ethnicity. Mutare is also a tourist center, being located near the Vumba and Nyanga Mountains and Murahwa Hill. Mutare's residents mainly engage in farming, cattle-keeping, and mining. The city's historical attractions include the Utopia House Museum, National Gallery of Zimbabwe and Mutare Museum.

Other Cities In Zimbabwe

The rest of Zimbabwe's cities and their respective populations are Epworth (152,116); Gweru (141,862); Kwekwe (100,900); Kadoma (77,749); Masvingo (72,527) and Chinhoyi (63,014). By 2020, Zimbabwe's population is estimated to be about 17.37 million. The country is set to experience high rates of rural-urban migration, and there is a need for proper planning in the country's cities to keep up with the influx of new residents.

Biggest Cities In Zimbabwe

Rank Biggest Cities in Zimbabwe Population
1 Harare 1,606,000
2 Bulawayo 1,200,337
3 Chitungwiza 365,026
4 Mutare 188,243
5 Epworth 152,116
6 Gweru 141,862
7 Kwekwe 100,900
8 Kadoma 77,749
9 Masvingo 72,527
10 Chinhoyi 63,014

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Sunday 18 November 2018

Largest Ethnic Groups In Zambia

Zambia is an extremely ethnically diverse country, with the Bemba being the largest of its many ethnic groups.
Zambia is a country in Southern Africa, east of Angola and south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a landlocked country and borders eight other countries including Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Zambezi River forms a natural border with Zimbabwe, while Lake Kariba on Zimbabwe-Zambia boundary is the world's largest reservoir by volume holding 180 cubic kilometer (43 Cubic miles) of water. The country has approximately 15 million people comprising about 72 ethnic groups.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Zambia


The Bemba ethnic group constitutes 21% of the total population and they are also referred to as the Babemba meaning the people of Bemba. They trace their origin to the upper Congo basin and are said to have entered Zambia through a mythical land called Kola. Their language of Chibemba is spoken by 33% of the population. They are a matrilineal group who were initially hunters and gatherers but turned to copper mining after the influence of the British who colonized the country.


The Tonga ethnic community constitutes 14% of the Zambian population and they are also known as Batonga and live in the Zambezi Valley. The term Tonga means independent which explains their lack of a centralized government. However, there were entitled men among the Batonga known as the sikatongo who were the priest and the ulanyika who were the land owners. The priest was believed to communicate with the spirits and could ask for rain and blessings. The Ulanyika was usually the first settler in the area. They believed they originated from a certain chief Monze who came from heaven and invited Batonga into his chiefdom. Their main economic activity is trade owing to their location which was a major trade center with routes leading all the way to China, India, and the Arabian Peninsula.


The Chewa ethnic community makes up 7% of the Zambia's population. Bachewa is said to have originated from DRC with the Bemba and their language is called Chichewa, and they occupy the southern region of Zambia. Bachewa is divided into two clans namely Phiri and Banda. The Phiri are known to be aristocrats and kings while the Banda are associated with healing and mystics. They differentiate themselves with special tattoos and their religion which is based on Nyau, their secret society. Women are considered special, and the community is matrilineal. The hierarchy comprises of a village headman or woman, Mfumu who answers to a regional chief, Mwini Dziko who in turn answers to the paramount chief.


The Lozi ethnic group forms 6% of the Zambia's population. Their culture is influenced by the flood cycle of the Zambezi River. They celebrate the Kuomboka festival around February or March, during which they migrate from their plain land to higher grounds as a result of the floods.

Other Ethnic Groups In Zambia

Other ethnic groups in the country include the Nsenga, Tumbuka, Ngoni, Lala, Kaonde, Namwanga, Lunda, Mambwe, Luvale, Lamba, Ushi, Lenje, Bisa, Mbunda among other unspecified groups. The different ethnic communities in Zambia have traditionally lived together in harmony.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Zambia

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population in Zambia
1 Bemba 21%
2 Tonga 14%
3 Chewa 7%
4 Lozi 6%
5 Nsenga 5%
6 Tumbuka 4%
7 Ngoni 4%
8 Lala 3%
9 Kaonde 3%
Other Groups 33%

By Joyce Chepkemoi

•culled from

Friday 16 November 2018

Where Is Western Sahara Located?

Located in the continent of Africa,
Western Sahara covers 266,000 square kilometers of land, making it the 78th largest nation in terms of land area. Western Sahara is a dependant territory of Morocco. The population of Western Sahara is 522,928 (2012) and the nation has a density of 2 people per square kilometer.

The dialing code for the country is 212 and the top level internet domain for Sahrawi, Sahrawian, Sahraouian sites is .eh.

Western Sahara shares land borders with 3 countries: Morocco , Algeria , Mauritania.

To learn more, visit our detailed Western Sahara section.

Quick facts

Population 522,928
Density 2.0 / km 2 ( 5.1 / mi2 )
Language Arabic
Capital Laayoune / El Aaiun (Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira)
Land Area 266,000 km 2 (102,703 mi2)
Neighbouring Countries Morocco , Algeria,
Minimum Longitude -17.100
Maximum Longitude -8.660
Mininum Latitude 21.290
Maximum Latitude 27.700

What is the capital of Western Sahara?

Location of Laayoune / El Aaiun on a map.
Laayoune / El Aaiun is the capital city of Western Sahara. It has a population of 196,331, and is located on a latitue of 27.14 and longitude of -13.19.
Laayoune / El Aaiun is also the political center of Western Sahara, which is considered a Republic, and home to its Executive head of state.

Quick Facts About Laayoune / El Aaiun, the Capital Of Western Sahara
City Laayoune / El Aaiun
Country Western Sahara
Population 196,331
Longitude -13.18797000
Latitude 27.14180000
Elevation 68 meters over sea level

Most popular cities in Western Sahara

Rank City Population
#1 Laayoune / El Aaiun 196,331
#2 Dakhla 75,000

•culled from

Largest Ethnic Groups In Uganda

According to CIA data, the Baganda are the largest ethnic group in the country, accounting for around 1 in every 6 Ugandans.
Uganda is an east African nation that shares borders with Kenya , Rwanda,
South Sudan , Tanzania , and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo . The earliest inhabitants of the area were hunter-gatherers. This lifestyle was slowly replaced by the arrival of the Bantu-speaking peoples between 1,700 and 2,300 years ago. Today, the population of Uganda is approximately 37.8 million and made up of various ethnic groups. Some of the largest of these groups in this country are discussed below.

Largest Ethnic Groups in Uganda


The largest ethnic group in Uganda is the Baganda. People of Baganda origin make up 16.9% of the population. The Baganda belong to the Bantu ethnic family and likely settled in the area between 1000 BC and 500 AD with the Bantu migration out of west Africa. The traditional language of this group is Luganda, belonging to the Niger-Congo language family. Culturally, they practice patrilineal descent. Several related lineages make up a clan. Today, there are 52 recognized Baganda clans in Uganda. When the British made contact, they discovered that the Baganda were highly organized with a significant military force. The British made their kingdom a protectorate and the Baganda king fought back unsuccessfully in 1897. By this time, contact with the British had led to a decrease in the population and the Baganda went from 3 million to only 1.5 million. In order to recover costs of the war, the British levied taxes on the kingdom in 1900 but also signed a treaty agreeing to the demands of the chiefs, namely giving them authority over a large territory. Uganda gained independence in 1962 and the new government disbanded the Baganda Kingdom. They have since reunited under the new system of monarchy.


The second largest ethnic group is the Banyankole, which makes up 9.5% of the population. The Banyankole primarily reside in the southwestern region of Uganda. They traditionally speak a Bantu language called Runyankole. The primary economic activity of the Banyankole is raising cattle. Today, the majority of these individuals practice Christianity, although the customary belief in ancestor spirits continues. When their kingdom was prohibited in 1962, the Banyankole fought the new, independent government. When monarchism was restored in 1993, the Banyankole were not united in their desire to reestablish the kingdom. To this day they have not resolved their differences.


The Basoga ethnic group makes up 8.4% of the population, which makes them the third largest ethnic group. Their traditional language is Soga, belonging to the Bantu language family. Land was owned by clans and managed by the head of the clan. Ownership could not pass to another clan The Basoga, today, inhabit the area east of the Baganda kingdom. After contact with British colonialists in the late 1800's, the Basoga suffered significant population loss. Most of this, however, was due to an outbreak of the sleeping disease. As a result, between 1900 and 1910 much of the kingdom was evacuated. Those who survived came back to area between 1920 and 1930, although another epidemic occurred in the 1940's. This was followed by famine. The population size continued to decrease. Similar to the Baganda, when tribal monarchies were once again legalized, the Basoga reestablished their kingdom.
Other ethnic groups within Uganda can be found in the table below.

Ethnic Diversity

As mentioned above and illustrated in the chart below, Uganda has a high degree of ethnic diversity. In fact, the country is one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. It is home to more than 40 indigenous ethnic groups, each of which have their own culture, language, and customs.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Uganda

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Contemporary Ugandan Population
1 Baganda 16.9%
2 Banyankole 9.5%
3 Basoga 8.4%
4 Bakiga 6.9%
5 Iteso 6.4%
6 Langi 6.1%
7 Acholi 4.7%
8 Bagisu 4.6%
9 Lugbara 4.2%
Other Groups 32.3%

By Amber Pariona

•culled from

Wednesday 14 November 2018

What Languages Are Spoken In Tunisia?

Tunisia is one of the most homogeneous of the Maghreb states in terms of languages spoken by ts people, with the vast majority using Tunisian Arabic.
The northernmost African country, Tunisia covers a land area of 165,000 square km. Algeria borders the country to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea lies to the east and north. As per the estimates of 2014, 11 million people resided in the country.

Arabs, Berbers, and Turks are the three main ethnic groups in Tunisia. Other people who have migrated to the country at different points of time include the Greeks, Romans, Jews, Phoenicians, and the French people. Though at first there was a clear difference between the elite Turkish speaking elite population and the Arabic-speaking mass, by 1870 the distinction had blurred. Soon, the majority of the population identified themselves as Arabs. A small (about 1%) of the population living in the Dahar and Khroumire mountainous regions in the country identify themselves as purely Berber. A large number of Europeans started arriving in the country since the late 19th century, but many of them left the country after Tunisia's independence.

Thus, the large number of migrations that took place in Tunisia's history contributed to the linguistic wealth of the country. Some of the major languages spoken in the country are mentioned below.

Official Language Of Tunisia

The official language of Tunisia is Literary Arabic. It is a pluricentric language (a language with several standard versions). It is the literary variety of the Arabic language and is used in formal speech and writing in Tunisia.

National Language Of Tunisia

The Tunisian Darija or the Tunisian Arabic is basically a set of dialects that has no formal body or standards. The language evolved through the years and has been influenced by the various settlers in Tunisia. Today, it is the national language in Tunisia. The Tunisian Arabic is based on a substratum of Berber and Punic and is influenced by Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Italian languages. Although Tunisian Arabic is intelligible to speakers of other Maghrebi dialects, it is hardly understood by the Middle Eastern Arabic speakers. The language is closely related to the Maltese language.

Minority Languages In Tunisia

Berber languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic family of languages, are the main minority languages in Tunisia and are spoken by less than 1% of the Tunisian population. This population is concentrated primarily in the semi-Berber villages in the south of the country and on the Djerba island villages.

Foreign Languages Spoken In Tunisia

French, English, and Italian are the main foreign languages spoken in Tunisia. The proximity of the country to Europe has popularized European languages in the country. A significant population in Tunisia also speaks Turkish.

Though French was heavily popularized in Tunisia during the French protectorate of Tunisia, the dominant role of the language was gradually replaced by the Arabic languages after the independence of the country. However, education systems and administrative operations in Tunisia still use French along with Literary Arabic. Despite the promotion of Arabic languages in the country, a good knowledge of French is still regarded as an important social marker. French is heavily used by the intellectuals, business community, and scientists of the Tunisian society.

What Languages Are Spoken In Tunisia?

Rank Category Of Language Language
1 Official languages Literary Arabic
2 National languages Tunisian Arabic
3 Minority languages Berber languages
4 Main foreign languages French, English, Italian, Turkish
5 Sign languages Tunisian Sign Language

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Monday 12 November 2018

The Tunisian People - Cultures around the World

With a mix of peoples from the indigenous Berbers to Roman, Arabic, and Turkish influence, Tunisian culture today is rich and diverse.


The people living in the Republic of Tunisia, located in north-central Africa along the Mediterranean Sea, are known as Tunisian people. Their capital city is Tunis. They are mostly Arab, with a minority of the non-Arab indigenous Berber people. Tunisian Arabs are actually a combination of Andalusian peoples from across the Mediterranean, Arabs from neighboring North African nations, and Turkish descendants from the Ottoman period, though most of these collective peoples consider themselves simply as Arabs. Berbers lived in North Africa prior to the entry of Arabs, and have an illustrious culture that dates back to more than 4,000 years ago. Over the course of Tunisian history, people and customs from other civilizations, including those of the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and French, have become absorbed into Tunisian culture. Arabic is the official language. Other languages spoken by these people include English, French, Italian, various local dialects, and German.


Tunisian architecture boasts of many distinct styles from different eras. Among these, one of the most prominent remains to be the ancient Berber architecture, which boast of troglodyte pit houses and fortified granaries. The other prominent architecture styles are those from the Punic and the Roman cultures. However, wide streets and public parks became common in the French colonial era. St. Vincent de Paul Cathedral, located in the city of Tunis, is one of the most brilliant examples of the French architectural influence in Tunisia. There is also a heavy influence of Islamic and Arabic architecture, which becomes evident in the minarets, mosques, and Zaouias scattered throughout the country.


Tunisian cuisine is generally spicier than that of most of the rest of North African cuisine. Grain-based dishes such as couscous and asida are staples of the Tunisian diet, often served alongside pulse-based dishes, such as chickpea lablabi. Some of the most important flavoring ingredients of this cuisine are harissa (i.e. a kind of hot pepper sauce), tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and eggs. Since Tunisian people live near the sea, fish and seafood have traditionally been eaten as well. Fruits, nuts, herbs and meat (especially lamb) are also key features of the Tunisian cuisine. The cuisine, however, varies from north to south. Some of the typical dishes of the cuisine are brik, tajin, shorba, kifta, baklawa and samsa.

Cultural Significance

The culture of the Tunisian people is an electric mix of different cultures, which makes it diverse and unique. Anouar Brahem, Raoul Journo, and Nabiha Karaouli are some of the most notable names of Tunisian musicians who have contributed in the field of music. In literature, the contribution of Mahmoud Messadi has been remarkable. Some of the other reputed names are Najoua Ben Othmane in the field of painting and the competitive swimmer Oussama Mellouli in the world of sports.


Tunisian culture is under tremendous threat due to internal and external forces alike. The threat of international terrorism is eroding the tourism industry, a trend which, if it continues, will affect the Tunisian economy in a very negative manner. With a mix of diverse cultures, Tunisia has been a favorite tourist destination. With ISIS eying Tunisia to make it part of a radical Islamic Caliphate state, it is becoming increasingly challenging for the Tunisian people to maintain and preserve their cultural identity. As theirs is not a dominant world culture, every aspect of it is at stake. The uniqueness of the Tunisian culture lies in its diversity, and an imposed radical Islamic culture on the grounds of terror will do much harm in the long run. Though most Tunisians are already Muslim, they are peaceful, civil, and respectful of others, which groups such as ISIS certainly are not. Furthermore, like much of the African continent, a population explosion in the last half-century has placed a strain on Tunisia's resources and infrastructure.

By Khushboo Shet

Saturday 10 November 2018

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Swaziland?

The Nguni, Sotho, and Tsonga are the main tribes of Swaziland.
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small landlocked country, covering approximately 17,363 square kilometers in Southern Africa. The natives of Swaziland call it the land of the Swati. The Swati people were originally a clan in Central Africa under the leadership of Dlamini I. This royal clan was called Dlamini after the chief of the clan. The Dlamini established a kingdom in the sixteenth century under King Sobhuza I and migrated southwards through Tanzania and Mozambique. The Swazi people are named after King Mswati II who served between.

Ethnic Composition of Swaziland

The population of Swaziland comprises of 97% Africans and 3% Europeans. The Swazi people are a Bantu community, with three-quarters of the African clan groups being the Nguni tribe. Other main tribes include the Sotho and Tsonga. There is a small difference between the Swati clans owing to the free intermarriage and exchange of cultures between both the locals and the foreigners. The Swati obtain their unique identity through their loyalty to the twin monarchs, Ngwenyama and Ndlovukati. Ngwenyama is the king while Ndlovukati is the queen mother.

Despite the influence of the western culture, the Swati still maintain a high degree of traditional beliefs and methods. The various ethnic groups share some common cultures such as maintaining a difference in status between the people living in rural and urban centers. Different clans are also accorded different status, the closer the clan is to the king, the higher its status.

The official languages are SiSwati and English. SiSwati is unofficially known as the language of the Nguni and is closely related to Zulu. The four administrative areas of Swazi each has its own unique dialect which is further broken down as either the royal style or crude style.

The Tsonga

This clan also inhabits southern Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Limpopo and Mpungala province of South Africa. They are a mixture of subgroups such as Shagaan, Thongas, Tongas and other smaller groups. Farming is their main economic activity with cassava being the principal crop. They also practice pastoralism and cattle trade. They mainly speak Tsonga.The main heritage of the Tsonga is the famous face carving ritual. This practice started as a punishment by slave traders in the past but has evolved into an element of beauty. The ritual in addition to colorful dresses and decorations has enriched their culture.

The Nguni

The Nguni are divided into the Zunda and Tekela subgroups. Zunda has given rise to Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele languages which are majorly spoken in other countries. The Swazi fall under the Tekela subgroup. Nguni are also farmers but are essentially nomads. Their main crops include sorghum and maize, with the latter being their staple diet. The identity of the Nguni language is a characteristic "click sound" that suggests adverse intermarriage with San and Khoi women. Their most significant cultural belief is their belief that ancestors actively influence events in their life, prompting frequent sacrifices to appease them.

The Sotho

They are a small group of around 6,200 and are non-indigenous to Swaziland. Majority of Sotho are Christians. They are famous in the use of proverbs and idioms in their communication. The main staple food among the Sotho is maize. The Sotho ethnic heritage is in their music culture, comprising of singing, chanting and clapping during performing.

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Swaziland?

Rank Ethnic Groups % Of Population
1 Black 97%
2 European 3%

•By Serah N. Wanza

•Culled from

Thursday 8 November 2018

Ethnic Groups Of Sudan

Sudanese Arabs constitute around two-thirds of the population in the country, while hundreds of minority groups make up the remainder.

The Sudanese population consists of a large cultural diversity which is made up of a combination of original inhabitants of the Nile Valley and migrants from the Arab peninsula. There are 19 major ethnic groups and over 597 ethnic subgroups speaking more than 100 languages and dialects. These multifaceted ethnic divisions make Sudan a very diverse country, with each dethnic group having a unique culture of its own and lifestyle. Arab speaking Muslims are considered the largest single ethnic group at about 70% of the total population, while other ethnicities such as Nubians, Copts and Beja and others make up the remainder. 

These are the major ethnic groups in Sudan.

Sudanese Arabs:

The Sudanese Arabs are the largest ethnic group in Sudan and are predominantly Muslim. They speak the Sudanese-Arab dialect which is a variant of the Arabic language influenced by a process known as Arabization. This process is the gradual acculturation into Arab culture, customs, language, and identity. Several non-Arabic groups such as Nubians, Copts and Beja have been partly Arabized but still maintain their non-Arabic identity. The estimated population of Sudanese Arabs is about 22 million people who constitute about two-thirds of the total population.


The Nubians are an ethnic group that originated in the Nubia region which is located by the Nile river in the northern parts of Sudan and southern Egypt . In 1899, the Condominium Agreement led to the introduction of a boundary between Egypt and Sudan and the lower Nubians were separated from their kin in the south and subjected to Egyptian rule. The close ties of the Egyptian Nubians and the Sudanese Nubians continued to exist due to cultural, language and family ties. Today, the majority of the Nubian people live in Sudan in the regions between Wadi Halfa and Al Dabbah. They speak Arabic and a variety of Nilo-Saharan languages to which they belong. They practice Islam.


The Zaghawa, also known as Beri, are an ethnic group found in central African countries such as Chad, Niger , and western Sudan. The Zaghawa speak a language called Zaghawa. They are a semi-nomadic community and depend on herding cattle, sheep and camels for livelihood. The Zaghawa of Sudan are mainly found in the Darfur region, which is consistently caught up in wars and crisis. As a result, they are adversely affected by this crisis and are among the people living in the refugee camps. Today, the traditional clan system of the Zaghawa people has been weakened by the respective governments, and also through Islam. As a result, they are mainly concerned with their economic welfare, national heritage, and political independence.


The Copts are an ethno-religious community found in North Africa, Middle East, Egypt, Libya and Sudan. They are the largest ethnic group of Christian denomination in Sudan and originally spoke the Coptic language which has now almost become extinct and replaced with the Arabic language. They constitute about 1% of the Sudan population. In modern day Sudan, they occupy the northern towns of Atbara, Dongola, Khartoum, Omdurman, Wad Medani and Port Sudan.

Other ethnic groups in Sudan include Masalit, Fulani, and Beja.

•By Andrew Mwaniki

•Culled from

Ethnic Groups Of South Sudan

The Dinka are the largest of many ethnic groups living in the landlocked African nation of South Sudan.
The Republic of South Sudan is a country in East Africa neighboring Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic. South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, and its capital city is Juba. South Sudan has about 8 to 10 million people with around sixty indigenous ethnic groups in the country. The Nilotic peoples make up a majority of the population of South Sudan, with at least twenty-five ethnic subdivisions. The Dinka are the largest of the many ethnic groups living in the landlocked nation of South Sudan.

Ethnic Groups Of South Sudan


The Dinka people are a Nilotic group with no centralized political power but are rather divided themselves into independently interconnected clans. Most of the Dinka community resides in Sudan's Anglo-Egyptian historical province of Bahr el Ghazal. The Dinka traditionally believe in one God known as Nhialic who temporarily possesses individuals and speaks through spirits. Later in the 19th century Christianity was introduced by the British missionaries, and now it predominates as the religion in South Sudan. The Dinka are the most populous ethnic group in South Sudan accounting for 36% of the population.


The Nuer are the second largest group in South Sudan and are also Nilotic. The Nuer had a white army who derived their name from applying white ash on their bodies to act as an insect repellent. Originally the white army consisted of armed youth and was established to protect the Nuer people's cattle from other Raiders. After South Sudan's independence, the white army resisted to give up their weapons due to lack of confidence in the SPLA's ability to protect them which led to the SPLA trying to confiscate their cattle and unsuccessfully destroying their economy. The Nuer accounts for 16% of the population of South Sudan.


The Shilluk are responsible for establishing the Shilluk Kingdom which ruled between 1490 and 1865. The Shilluk King was regarded as divine but is now traditional chieftain operating in both Sudan and the South Sudan region of the Upper Nile. The majority of the Shilluk are Christian converts. The Shilluk also controls the White Nile, and Kodok is the meditating city of the Shilluk King and a place where most ceremonies take place. The Shilluk accounts for 3% of the population.


The Toposa are believed to be a part of the Karamajong people who presently live in Uganda having left in the late 16th century finally settling on the eastern side of the State of Eastern Equatorial.

The Toposa practiced cattle, sheep, and goat herding and also took place in the trading of Ivory. The Toposa have been involved with cattle rustling and have fought over water and pasture with their neighboring communities. The Toposa have no distinctive political hierarchy although respect is accorded to the Chiefs, elders, and wise men. The Toposa believe in a Supreme Being and ancestral spirits, and they account for 2% of the population.


The Otuho are part of Sudan's Nilotic group that are pastoralists situated in the Eastern Equatorial where they settled in the 1800's. The Otuho speak the Otuho language and have strong beliefs based on nature and ancestral worship. The community holds the land in trust for no particular one in authority. However, in recent times the Otuho and their neighboring community have been in conflict with the Murle who are consistent cattle Raiders who also kidnap their children. 

The Otuho accounts for 2% of the population.

South Sudan's Demographics

Despite South Sudan attaining its independence in 2011, there are still some inter-ethnic wars that mostly involve land disputes and cattle raiders. The majority of South Sudan's ethnic groups live as communities, and their issues are solved by community elders other than having formal institutions to handle such matters. Most of the ethnic minorities still herd cattle and maintain their traditional ways.

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population in South Sudan
1 Dinka 36%
2 Nuer 16%
3 Azande 6%
4 Bari 4%
5 Shilluk 3%
6 Toposa 2%
7 Otuho 2%
8 Luo 1%
9 Moru 1%
10 Murle 1%
Other Ethnic Groups 28%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from
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