Beckwith & Fisher have captured the traditional lifestyles of the Dinka people of South Sudan in a stunning series of images. They have published a gorgeous photobook which goes by the name ‘Dinka‘ compiled of images taken over a span of 30 years.

The pair first visited the Dinka in the 1970s in a very remote area of Southern Sudan, in the swamplands of the River Nile. They were fascinated by their courtship rituals, their extraordinary body decoration and their unique relationship with their cattle. As well as their powerful sense of style and harmonious way of living.

30 Years Later, post civil war, they returned. Everywhere the tragedy of war had left its mark. Many of the roads were mined, villages bombed, and the Dinka had virtually lost their unique creative identity, their body beadwork having been exchanged for Kalashnikov rifles and, often, western clothes. Two million Dinka were killed and four million displaced, yet despite the devastation of the war, the Dinka spirit had managed to survive.

As cattle herders, the Dinka regularly move camp in search of pasture and water. They have few material possessions and must carry with them everything they need for survival. During the rainy season from April to October, when the rivers flood and the grasslands become marsh, the Dinka move back to their permanent settlements on the high wooded ground. Here, crops are cultivated in well-drained sandy soil while the cattle are kept in nearby camps.

The Dinka build their homes in a number of different styles and are renowned for the thatching of their two storey conical houses with living quarters on the ground floor and granaries above to store their crops of sorghum, millet and groundnuts.

At the end of the harvest, celebrations of dance and drumming take place. Evocative courtship dances emphasise the long limbs and agile bodies of the healthy young men and women.

You can view the full photostory on the Dinka online exhibition here. And Beckwith & Fishers website here.


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