Mundari people of South Sudan
I am a computer engineer and hold a PhD in Biology. But for my passion for African cultures and tribal traditions, I also specialised in photojournalism and documentary reporting.
My passion for travelling and studying African cultures has led me to combine the analytical and scientific vision of the continent's cultures. I had the opportunity to visit the most isolated corners of the planet and that gave me a very personal anthropological perspective. I try to convey this experience in my jobs.
My passion is documenting the dying traditional cultures on the planet because cultural diversity is humanity's greatest heritage. Travelling more than 70 countries, I realised that humankind is the same everywhere. Moreover, the different cultural expressions and worldviews are fascinating.
In January 2018, I experienced Mundari culture as part of a trip to South Sudan. There I realised that this was a unique and amazing culture to work with.
The Mundari people are a Nilotic ethnic group living in North Juba in South Sudan, Africa. They are cattle herders with a very special relationship with their Ankole-Watusi cows.
Young Mundaris live at cattle camps taking care of thousands of cows. They have a very special bond with the cows as these are their mediums to connect with God Ngun. They usually do not eat their meat; just the milk and some cooked blood they obtain from the neck of cows occasionally.
Decorating the cattle horns, massaging them daily, using cow droppings and urine for various purposes are part of their daily routine. They even scarify their forehead with marks that symbolise the horns of cows using knives.
Children who are in charge of collecting faeces for the bonfires are the ones who have the closest relationship with livestock. They also help to make the cows produce more milk.
South Sudan has been at war since the 50s. It is one of the most unstable countries in the world. In a country without law, it is quite usual to see tribal clashes. For this reason, they guard their cattle with guns.
Mundari peoples' relationship with their cows is considered one of the most special relationships between humans and livestock in the world.
Anibal Bueno sent the photo story for publication in The Business Standard. More of his works can be seen on his website: anibalbueno.photo