The Annuak

The Annuak are Nilotic people who inhabit the Gambela region and even the land across the Ethio-Sudanise border in the Sudan. They depend on fishing, farming, hunting and gathering for subsistence.For the Annuak, while crop production (sorghum & maize) is an important activity of the rainy season, fishing in the Baro& Akobo rivers becomes a vital means of subsistence in the dry season. In this regard, the Annuak are expert fishers and they catch huge number of tilapia, Nile perch and catfish from these rivers. 


This polygamous society favors living in extended family groups in settlements established here and there in isolated pockets on the banks of the Baro river, in front of their agricultural fields, and in the shade of huge mango trees. A grass-roofed main hut for sleeping, a smaller version for grain storage, and chicken coops comprise typical Annuak family holdings. 
Entrance to their huts is provided by way of low doorways. These huts are constructed in such a way that the thick thatched roofs reach down almost to the ground so that they insulate the inhabitants from the strong sun and drain quickly off the heavy torrential rain. Annuaks usually decorate their house walls with symbolic engraved designs.
The Annuak worship Ochudho. For them, Ochudho or god of the river is responsible for the origin of their kings and chiefs. Like many other Nilotic people, Annuaks have a complicated age-system in which different generation groups bear names, which signify major happenings in their past. 
An Annuak man is usually married to two or three wives. The dowry given to take the hands of the girl is negotiable and can take different forms. Similar to the Bume, both men and women Annuaks indulge in ornamental point scarification practice on their face or body. Annuaks do not practice circumcision, however. 
In the past, Annuak women used to wear beautiful ivory jewelry. Nowadays this is seen very rarely. Annuaks also take delight in smoking tobacco from their traditional pipes. During an initiation ceremony, which is undertaken at around the age of 12, Annuaks have a practice of having their children six lower teeth pulled out. These are canine and incisor teeth and the practice is said to have played a preventive role against the effects of tetanus or 'lockjaw'.

More in this category: « The Majanger The Nuer »

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