Sara - Orientation

Identification. "Sara" is the term employed by outsiders to refer to a group of non-Muslim tribes in southern Chad, all of whom speak mutually intelligible dialects. Each tribe is a distinct geographic, political, and endogamous entity. Major tribes are the Kaba, Sar, Nar, Gulay, Ngambay, and Mbay.

Location. Most Sara are now, and have been for centuries, located between Lake Iro in the east and the Logone River in the west.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Sara language Group belongs to the Central Sudanic Branch of the Nilo-Saharan Language Family and is related to languages spoken by the Barma, the Kenga, and the Bulala in Chad, as well as to those spoken by the Bongo and the Krech in Sudan. There are Eastern Sara (Sar, Nar, and Gulay) and Western Sara (Ngambay and Mbay) dialects.

Demography. There appear to have been approximately 1,045,000 Sara in 1977. This was the largest single ethnic group in Chad, roughly 23 percent of the total population. The Ngambay at this time were the largest subgroup (425,000), followed by the Gulay (112,000), and the Sar (92,000). Sara fertility is higher than that of more northerly Muslim peoples, and the area in which they reside is considerably smaller. This means that, in places, previously low population densities have begun to increase.

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