Dinka Traditional Way of Engagement 2004
by Atem Benjamin

2007 • 009

Acrylic on Canvas.
36 x 24.7 inches / 91 x 63 cm

Lent by the Sudanese Education Fund

Dinka Traditional Way of Engagement 2004

Before we left our home, this was the way a young man and a young woman got to know one another. It is the beginning of the courtship. Western culture would call it dating. The guy who came to see the girl lives in the cattle camp and has a lot of cows. The courtship involved families. If you don’t meet the requirements of the girl’s family, you don’t get the girl. This is the beginning of who I am as a Dinka, the process of making courtship in my culture. The next Dinka generation will not practice this tradition as people are moving away from it. It will remain a memory.

Panther Alier

This is a love affair. That is the way it is. The man will come to the girl house and stand under the tree, the girl will come. They will tell their names and ask a lot of questions before they talk about love.

Franco Majok

Click here to listen to audio commentary.

This website has been developed by the Museums and Public Memory (Anth 159a) class taught by Professor Mark Auslander at Brandeis University. Images have been reproduced with the permission of the African Refugee Artists Club.