Dinka - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Although a small number of Dinka have "converted" to Catholicism, polygamy is the cultural ideal of Dinka men, owing primarily to economic and productive factors. Many men contract only a single marriage in their lifetime, but a significant proportion of domestic unions involve the marriage of one man to a number of women. In some chiefly families, men have anywhere from 50 to 100 wives. Due to their classification relationship terminology and also to clan exogamy, Dinka marriage customs tend to create affinal links across wide political and geographic spaces. Marriage is legally defined through the exchange of bride-wealth in the form of cattle. The ideal number of cattle with which to pay bride-wealth varies in different regions of Dinka country, but a number between thirty and forty cattle is common. In addition to the marriage of a woman to a man, the Dinka also practice some of the other forms of marriage that have been reported from other Nilotic communities, such as ghost marriage and levirate. Nearly every adult Dinka woman or man is married at least once in a lifetime.

Domestic Unit. Commensality is one of the primary bases of Dinka domesticity. Co-wives often share the responsibilities of preparing meals on a rotating basis, although a woman always sees to the needs of her own children first. Because they never learn to cook in their youth, the men are dependent upon women to prepare food for them throughout their lives. This factor of dependency is manifest in other aspects of Dinka life as well.

Socialization. A child matures in the loving and attentive company of the family's other children and step-children and a wide circle of kin. Following their initiations, young girls and boys begin to travel quite separate roads, as each interacts more intensely with members of the same sex. Boys begin to master the difficult onus of stock rearing, and girls learn the equally demanding tasks of the women's world.

User Contributions:

Peter Bith
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Jan 21, 2014 @ 5:05 am
as a Dinka trible i don't want to change our culture
Akol Akech
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Oct 27, 2015 @ 1:13 pm
Really, as iam a dinka I don't think I can change my culture because I believe that culture is bones for strength and honor.
Gai Jacob
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Jul 24, 2016 @ 6:18 pm
Thank you for your comments Peter and Akol. You're right in standing by our culture, but you must understand that our culture has flaws like others and those need change. For example, illegitimate children traditionally belong to their mothers' legal husbands if they wish to keep them and I think that need change. Most of these children eventually leave their surrogates as adults though after long emotional struggle. All children should be remain with their birth parents except the condition dictate otherwise.
It is great to see my Dinka people sharing ideas on the website and I hope to see more of these comments. Thanks again and have a meaningful time wherever you are!
Marko Anguei
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Sep 20, 2016 @ 8:08 am
It good to remind us about our culture.
Us we Dinka our culture is very good.
Kandie Karla
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Nov 5, 2018 @ 12:12 pm
I disagree dinka people are good because they are cool and epic and awesome

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