Homeward bound

The Dinka tribe in Sudan
In Dinka Bor tradition, long ebony shafts serve as walking sticks for the elderly, as scepters for newly married women and as weapons for initiates into manhood. Wooden spears are vital to Dinka cattle herders moving through alien territory. Hardwood branches, carved by Christian evangelists into crosses, are still implements of worship. The old poles of jak (animist spirits), which used to mark stationary shrines, are now carried in migration and shaken in church processions. Episcopal missionary Marc Nikkel called them focal points of “spiritual victory, and the hope of imminent salvation.”


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