The Didinga of South Sudan
The Didinga live in the region of the Didinga Hills in Southern Sudan. They raise cattle and farm. They live in fear of spirits and seek the blessing of their ancestors. The rainmaker is an important person in the community, performing rituals and wielding great influence and power.
Pray for the Didinga: “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord: You are my LORD; apart from you I have no good thing. As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.” Psalms 16:1-3
There are Bible stories available in the Didinga language. Pray they would be keen to listen to the stories and believe them.
As you fly over the large Didinga mountain range, you are struck afresh by the thousands of Didinga who have never heard of Christ, it is overwhelming! They are a people steeped in witchcraft traditions which keep them living in fear. Pray for them. Pray God would send them messengers who would bring the wonderful news of salvation through Jesus Christ, and for them to know a life without fear.
Location and Background: The Didinga live in the Didinga hills—in the valleys, on the plateaus and slopes, and on the adjacent plains of the region. Their neighbors include the Boya, Toposa, Dodoth, Dongotono and Lotuka/Lopit. There were tensions in the past but now they are generally on friendly terms and intermarry and speak a similar language to the Boya, Murle and Tenet.
History: Tradition has the Didinga arriving in their present home during the 16th c, as part of a group migrating either from Lake Turkana or Ethiopia. The East and West banks of the Nile were divided during the British period into Protestant and Catholic influence spheres, which put the Didinga into the Catholic area. Amongst some older people there remains a bit of Catholic influence, but not genuine faith.
Culture: The Didinga are pastoralists by inclination and farmers by necessity. The herding of cattle is very important, and at 2000m elevation, the area has sufficient rainfall to grow two crops per year. They live in homesteads by clans, in round houses with cone-shaped roofs. They also enjoy making music and various crafts. Although there is a paramount chief, which is a hereditary position, decisions are made by the community, and younger people have the right to question the older. They desire education.
Religion: Like their neighbors, the Didinga accept the existence of a supreme being, and the sphere of spirits interacting with the living. They worship and sacrifice to spirits and gods and place great importance on the worship of dead ancestors. The rainmaker is an important person in the community, who performs certain rituals and is seen to carry great influence and power.
Latest Prayer Updates:
Pray that Victor’s neighbours will continue to come to hear the stories on Sundays at his place, and that those who hear will not only be hearers, but doers also, telling their friends and neighbours the good news of Jesus Christ. We pray, Jesus, “Break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Chris and Fiona recently had contact with an old Didinga man named Victor. He is a believer and has agreed to a storying group starting on his compound. Pray that neighbors and friends of Victor will come to hear the stories the team share from the Bible each week.