Segments in this Video

Dinka: Step Back in Time (01:31)


Dinka culture predates recorded history. It values physical beauty, athletic prowess, and the ability to become the fattest man in the land. The tallest of the African tribes, the Dinka are fiercely proud.

Who Are the Dinka? (02:42)

The Dinka believe strongly in the spiritual presence of their ancestors. Dinka origin is obscure. They live a semi-nomadic life based on the needs of their cattle.

Bond Between Dinka and Cattle (02:31)

Cattle are at the center of Dinka culture. Children and calves are essentially raised together. Young men take their names from the color of their bulls. Without cattle, their traditions, and culture, the life of the Dinka would die.

Season of Fat Men (01:49)

When the rains come, each man declares his intentions to become the fattest man in the tribe. The cows have plenty of grass to eat, and the men have plenty of milk to drink.

Dinka: Vulnerable to Slavery (03:01)

Dinkas who were captured by Arabs some years ago remain slaves. Such slavery is not uncommon.

Warrior Tradition (02:48)

The death toll from the Sudan civil war has been horrendous: more than 1 million are dead, and there is massive displacement. Young Dinka men and boys know only how to play games with mock weapons.

Romance and Partnerships (04:04)

Among the Dinka, marriages are good business, but this does not stop them from being romantic. Only men who have cows are able to get married. Girls are sold for cows to the chosen man.

Importance of Cattle in Dinka Life (02:30)

Dinka lives are in sync with the Nile's rise and fall. In the land of the Dinka time stands still. Dinka culture is built around cattle. Without cattle, a man cannot marry or make a true sacrifice to God.

Dinka Cattle Camp and Courtship (02:55)

In cattle camps, unchaperoned boys and young men demonstrate the strengths of their culture, including honesty and dedication. Courtship rituals are traditional and complex, but the male must come up with enough cattle to buy his bride outright.

When Cattle Go to Work (03:07)

In their first experiences directing cattle to pull plows, Dinka men are for the first time seeing cattle work for them. Their belief is that men work for cattle.

Reconnection of Clan (06:39)

The weather signals changes in the Dinka way of life. As the Nile swells, cattle camps disperse and the clan gathers once again. It's time to dance and celebrate. The men trying to become fat are well on their way.

Marriage Preparation/Sacrificial Animal (05:20)

Every marriage, and every other major event in Dinka life, must begin with an animal sacrifice. The bull's spirit carries the messages of all the people into the spirit world. The animal is killed by a spear master and its spirit is sent to God.

Marriage Preparation/Celebration (06:36)

The dancing in the marriage preparation shows typical Dinka joy. The elders celebrate their way, and the younger men celebrate with mock battles. Men from the clan of the groom arrive. Ritual haggling begins.

Winner of the Fat Man Ritual (03:44)

After four months of inactivity, the fat men find it painful to walk. The winner, the fattest of the men, dies two days before the ceremony because his stomach burst. He is a hero.

Dinka Phenomenon (01:54)

The Dinka are one of the last remaining people who continue in the traditions of their ancestors. Their isolation and inaccessibility make this possible. The Dinka have an unquestioning faith in their god and their ancestors.

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The Dinka Tribe: Man of the Men

Part of the Series : The Last Warriors: Seven African Tribes on the Verge of Extinction
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This program profiles the warriors of the White Nile, a tribe that others call Dinka but that calls itself Moinjang: Man of the Men. Wedding negotiations, which involve a bride price usually paid in cattle, are highlighted, along with a traditional high-stakes contest to be the fattest man in the land. The impacts of Sudan’s civil war and of a thriving slave trade, intensified by famine and extreme poverty, are also discussed. Can the Dinka devotion to their supreme being, Nialith, and to the many ancestral spirits they honor keep their culture alive? (53 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL11799

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9355-1

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.