About This Blog

Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Thursday, 13 January 2011

January 13th: Rumbek

On January 13th 1981 I was in Rumbek.  The school was slowly coming back to life after the Christmas break but I was only managing about one session a day, with some classes not having restarted and most others being cancelled for political meetings which never took place.

I took the opportunity offered by Jeremy and Peter of the British Institute of Nairobi to go for a trip out into the bush.  We visited two empty wet-season cattle-camps which were interesting enough to look round, seeing unusual artefacts such as mosquito-net covers, clay cooking-stones and the different cattle pegs.  The first one was Jalla in empty toich, the second was closer to acacia woods with good bird life around.  Then we saw animals, especially giraffe, 6 or 7 moving shyly away from us at speed, and I think there were kob there as well.  Finally we went to an enormous cattle-camp at Warnyang, where there is a luaich or ceremonial house for Makot an elder who must have died eleven generations ago, which would be 200 years; he had been buried with special sacrificial posts and other tombs were marked.  Special sacrifices to God are held there each year and there are two houses on stilts for two old women who live there and look after the place.  It was very atmospheric and nice to have a few young Dinka warriors passing through.  There were low houses on one side for the fattening camp, post dry-season.  

Guardian Women's House at Warnyang:  My Picture

Detail of Guardians' House:  My picture

Ancestral Byre at Warnyang:  My picture

Fattening Camp near Rumbek:  My picture


  1. These are wonderful pictures!

    I also worked with the British Institute, but in 2007, and went to Rumbek with Paul Lane to look at cattle camps, old BIEA sites and an old slaving fort.

    Your project is fabulous and really interesting, thanks!

  2. I don't think the slaving fort was known in 1981; I went to Warnyang with Peter Robertshaw and I'm sure he would have told me about it. I only read about it when researching for this blog.