Both Nuer and Dinka are cattle herders on the vast savannas of the region. The Nuer are fully transhumant; the Dinka less so as their environment is less harsh and better watered, consisting of orchard savanna rather than the treeless plains of Nuerland.
Dinka and Nuer connected to each other either through adoption, marriage, and cultural assimilation. Their identity depended on kinship affiliation as much as language. They share a significant amount of vocabulary.
But how the Dinka became some of the tallest people in the world has been somewhat of a mystery. A popular explanation is nutrition – a calorie-stuffed diet rich in dairy products, grains, and meat. Dinka primary nutrition is milk and organic food.
Dinka are sometimes noted for their height. With the Tutsi of Rwanda, they are believed to be the tallest people in Africa.
The majority of Dinka practice traditional religions whose central theme is the worship of a high god through the totem, ancestral spirits, and a number of deities. The high god is called Nhiali and he is the source of sustenance. Deng is the most noteworthy of the lower gods and Abuk is a female god.
1: a member of a Nilotic people of southern Sudan. 2: the language of the Nuer people.
What is the history between the Nuers and the Dinka tribe? The woman from the Jur-chol tribe brings him food and lets him stay in the barn because there is no bad blood between the tribes. The Dinka and Nuer had a long history of trouble over land and many had been killed in battles over 100 years.
The Nuer, like the Dinka, wear little or no clothing, especially the men. Women will more commonly wear a brief skirt of cloth or skin. Women wear wire and bead necklaces and headdresses. Young men are initiated by circumcision and six cuts across the forehead.
Facial scarification is practiced among many ethnic groups in South Sudan, and various marks across the faces of tribesmen give identity to the tribe and beauty to its women. Men of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan scar their faces with three parallel lines across the forehead in a rugged display of courage to the tribe.
Men from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands, Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro have the tallest average height. Dinka people are sometimes noted for their height. With the Tutsi of Rwanda, they are believed to be the tallest people in Africa.
At the other end of the spectrum are the top ten countries with the shortest average height, which currently include: Indonesia 62.2 inches. Bolivia 62.9 inches. The Philippines 63.7 inches. Vietnam 63.82 inches. Cambodia 63.98 inches. Nepal 64.17 inches. Ecuador 64.37 inches. Sri Lanka 64.41 inches.
Then there’s the Dutch diet: people in the Netherlands have a voracious appetite for dairy, and studies suggest this has contributed to their increased height. “Calcium builds bone and growth is dependent on having a good supply of that,” Barrett explained.
The early humans hunted in African savannahs, which caused them to become tall and slender after leaving forest-like habitats. Around 1.5 million years ago, human-like hominins grew 10cm taller without gaining any extra weight. It took another million years for the species to put on another 10-15kg.
The world’s shortest non-mobile man remains Junrey Balawing of the Philippines, who measures 59.93 centimeters. He is unable to walk or stand unaided, according to Guinness World Records.
Due to the fact that the Nuer supported the Sudanese government in the civil war, they were seen as not supportive enough of the new South Sudanese government. This sparked bloodshed between the Dinka and Nuer, which is considered by some to be the next civil war in South Sudan (Howden, 2013).