KINSHIP AMONG THE NUER (“Cuö BööthNI ki Maarï“ Naath)
By Bol Bol

The Nuer are found on the plans of Southern Sudan and as well as the Southwest of Ethiopia. They are cattle herders of the Nile grass plan and their life always depends of the Nile River and its tributaries.

The Nuer lands, is set in the savannah and march land of the South Sudan between latitude of 10 degree and 7 degree north. Nuer is more than one hundred ethnic groups making them the second largest tribe in Southern Sudan, after Dinka. They are over one million people.



The South of Sudan has an equatorial rainy climate, divided into a very dry season and a very wet one. Nuer life is regulated entirely by the seasons. The seasonal is 800-1000 mm, and the climate regulates the live of the people. Marshland and papyrus swamp areas are found in all parts of the Nuer lands. The totals area of the Nuer Land in Sudan is approximately 32,000 squire miles. In the dry season, many people should go to Touché(swamp) leaving only a few of the older men and women in the village. The rest accompany their cattle. Nuer is pastoral, though, they do grow millet and maize. Their cattle lives resolve around the herding practices, raising cattle, and the seasonal patterns of the terrain. Like many of their pastoral neighbors. The dearest possession of the tribe is cattle and their herds play a significant role in the economy, social structure, and religion of these communities.

Used of cattle. cattle are used as payment for virtually every thing and are also the main source of food. They are sold for cash, storage bags clothing, sandals The skin used for. Sleeping mat sandal as bride’s dowry. They provide meat, milk and the milk products. The dung, is used for fires toward off the malaria mosquitoes. The horn is used as a spoon. Cattle are passed down as part of an inheritance, and can stay in the family for several generations. An ox is always killed at any religions ceremony -no ritual is complete without the symbolic or actual sacrifice of one of the herd.

Kinship system, are formed by sets of rules for inheritance, in group membership, name, property or status. It deals with all the rules defining which kind of marriage is forbidden, Permitted or preferred. Residence rules dictate where new spouses will live and kinship terminology are named for the categories of relatives which are recognized by a society. These important areas of Nuer society will form the primary focus of this paper. However, other areas influence kinship will be dealt with as they arise. Kinship in Nuer tribe, Böth ki cu, came from the one who is related to you by blood. The
Nuer system of kinship and marriage are important for keeping family together.

Age, is of great importance in interpersonal relations. Every person is categorized in terms of an age group which is an association made up of equals in age. This age-set in marking of lines across the forehead, is found in the Nuer and their cousin Dinka of the Sudan. Nuer are kind to their aged usually respect their opinions. Age, rather than relationship, governs the use of terms of address. . Anyone older is daughter. The very old are called grandfather or grandmother. People of the same age are addressed as brother or sister. Male are divided into age group so that each one is a senior, equal and superior to a
junior. Women belong to the system as mother, wives, sisters or daughters of the males.

Gender roles in the Nuer culture. Gender role have traditionally been well-defined. Men tended the cattle and other animals and were the warriors fighting neighboring tribes for land and cattle. Women managed the household and made most of the decisions regarding the rearing of the children. However, the idea of home included both men and women; that is, without a man, there is no home and without a woman, there is no home. In fact, a home is more easily maintained if the husband/father dies, in which case the children will stay with the mother, than if a wife/mother dies, in which case the children are given to relatives for care until the man remarries. In addition, women are often consulted on issues of public affairs and play an important role in mediating disputes. A man will not approach the woman's family unless he has assurance from the woman that she will accept him as her husband. It is said that the woman can refuse to marry the man approved by her family, but in practice this is very difficult.

Initiation of the ages set, the cutting of six tribal scars on each side of the forehead, is seen as qualifying a boy for manhood. He is then able to fight in battles. The typical ages, are of range, from age 14-15 years. During the cutting, a big celebration take place and big bull is killed. The set may then take on the name of the cow's color as part of their generation name.

Leaders. The position of leader is not an inherited responsibility. Leaders emerge in the community after demonstrating leadership qualities and gaining the respect of the other community members. Leaders are often the elders in the community who had learned a lot but, young people were having kuär rëëm who began to showed his quality of the future leadership. Nuer people are generous to each other, but any request which has an overtone of an order can quickly anger them. Friends must have an obligation to be hospitable to each other. Hospitality offered by one friend must be returned by the other at a later time.

Marriage. The ultimate goal of marriage is the bearing of children. Therefore, a woman's standing with her husband and his people, she must be governed by her ability to bear children. To be the mother of is the greatest privilege and honor. Should she be unable to bear children, her position is insecure, and her husband will try to get another wife who will bear children. Marriage, a home, and children are the goal of both men and women. The simplest expression of the family consists of husband and wife, or wives, with their children. Men normally marry around 25 years of age; women marry when they are mature enough to bear children (15-18 years). Before a man can marry, all of his older brothers must be married. Although a man may indicate his preferred choice for a wife, the final choice is the woman's family who must approve of the suitor's family.

Marriage is a civil contracts in which both parties commit themselves to certain obligations. The contract calls for a transfer of goods or money, or both, from the groom's family to the bride's family. A marriage concluded without this dowry means humiliation and even dishonor to the wire. The medium of transfer is usually cattle. In the event that a man dies, leaving a wife and children, the younger brother of the deceased takes over the responsibility for the wife and children. The younger brother becomes the guardian of the family. Marriage does not occur and the widow retains her name as the wife of the dead man. Because the living brother feels a strong sense of obligation for the future of his dead brother's family, the children are taken care of very well.

Divorce, is possible but, discouraged because of the exchange of property involve, some time it can be granted for reasons such as sexual and temperamental adultery, barrenness and selfishness. Divorce rates among the Nuer have increased in recent decades. Now up to- one third o of marriages experienced divorce. Example, in cases of divorce, child custody typically goes to the males. If a husband and wife are having difficulties, members of the extended families, both men and women, will meet to discuss the situation. The wife will go to her parent's house. The husband and his relatives will then meet with the male relatives of the wife's family to further discuss the situation and determine a course of action. In most cases, the husband and wife will follow the recommendations. This method of solving family disputes is frequently not possible in the Diaspora, since many of the Nuer are young adults without the benefit of extended families.
Secondly the new life of the first world freedom of the individuals, make both men and women to do any thing they like. Ideal family size was quite large in the South Sudan and a family might have more than six-eight children. Abstinence for up to 3 years was practiced after the birth of a child. There are no such a thing as the used of birth control which were generally practiced in the South Sudan.

  Bol Bol
  He
bulls
cows




  She
cows





  Heifers






  Calves






  Others






  Total of the
distributions
cattle are#45
cows in all



  Marriage
  Paternal
  side
  Distributions


  Father of the
  Girl, Michael
  Koang Luak
  Two
  Bulls
  Cows
  Three
  she cow
  One
  heifer
  Three
  calves
  Some
  gifts not
  counted
  Eights(8) cows

  Elder
  brother the
  same mother
  One, ox



  One,
  she cow


  one



  One
  calf


  66



  Four (4)cows



  Father
  brother with
  different
  mother
  One, ox


  One,
  she cow

  zero


  One
  calf

  66


  Three (3)cows


  Father's
  youngest
  brother, the
  same mother
  zero



  Two,
  she
  cows

  zero



  zero



  66



  Two, (2) cows



Father, sons

  zero

  Two
  she
  cows
  zero

  zero

  "
  Two (2)cows

  Father's
  sister of uant
  waac

  zero



  zero



  one



  zero



  "


  One (1)cow



  Two of the
  grandfathers,


  zero



  Two,
  she
  cows
  one for
  each
  zero



  Two
  calves


  "



  Four(4) cows



           
  The total cows
given to the
paternal, are
twenty four (24
)cows
  Maternal
  Side
  Distributions
  Bull

  She
  cows
  heifer

  calves

  others

  Total, the same
  as above #45
  cows in all
  Mother's of
  my wife

  One ox


  One she
  cow(
  yang
  pal)
  zero


  One
  calf

  Not
  counted

  Threes (3)cows


  Mother,
  brother, the
  same mother
  Two
  oxen
  Four,
  she
  cows
  zero

  One
  calf
  66

  Sevens (7)cows

  Mother,
  elder brother
  One ox

  Two
  she
  cows
  zero

  One
  calf
  "

  Four (4)cows

  Mother's
  brother, with
  different
  other
  One ox


  One she
  cow

  zero


  One
  calf

  66


  Two (2) she
  cows

  Mother's
  sister, aunt
  (manleen)
  zero

  zero

  One
  heifer
  zero

  "

  One (1)cow

  Mother's
  younger
  brother, the
  same mother
  zero


  One she
  cow

  zero


  One
  calf

  "


  Two (2) cows


  Two grand
  parents
  zero

  Two
  she cow
  zero

  Two
  calve
  "

  Four (4)cows

           
  The total
  maternal are
  twenty four (24)
  cows on their
  side
                 
 

In addition, gift when done with your marriage, not immediately pay but at any time when ready to pay them.

1. Gods cow for your wife ritual.
2.
Girls ( bride friends one cow gift
3. Girls father special gift we called if young goal
4. one ox for girl or bride elder brother ( thak weigoal) 5. Two goats
6. two spears
7. Two finishing spears.
The structure of Bol Bol marriage agreement.
Bol Bol

The bride wealth distribution to the kinship is a bout Me forty five head of cattle. This a simple draft of my marriage to my wife Nyabore Koang Luak. The marriage is being conducted by groom and bride parents. The marriage took place in 1993 in our village called Pibor Wading. The dowries are being pay as cattle which are distributed among the relatives of the girl family or parents of the paternal and maternal side a like