Demography and Geography
The Pöjullo are found in Yei and Juba counties in central Equatoria but have extend to Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Pöjullo differentiate into smaller clans of Nyori, Morsak, Mankaro and a few other smaller ones. The population of the Pöjullo is estimated to be 750,000 persons.
Environment, Economy and Natural Resources
The environment in central Equatoria is typically tropical but the weather regime is fast changing; becoming arid with less rain and long dry spells. The Pöjullo economy is predominantly agrarian. The majority of people are peasants practicing mixed farming: subsistence agriculture in which the main crops are cassava, sorghum, maize, simsim, groundnuts etc. The Pöjullo keep goats and few cattle but the prevalence of tsetse fly has rendered cattle herding difficult.
Mythology and History
There is little knowledge about the origin of the Pöjullo as a people and their relation to the Bari and other Bari-speaking ethnic communities.
The Pöjullo speak Bari language with some distinct variations linked to people’s daily activities and traditions that have evolved over time from these experiences.
Society, Social Events, Attitudes, Customs, and Traditions
Pöjullo is the name by which this Bari-speaking ethnic community is known. Pöjullo society ascribe to certain norms and values. Like other communities, Pojulo is a male dominated society. The eldest male member of the family is entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the rest unless he demonstrates incompetence and irresponsibility.
Marriage begins with courtship and once the prospective bride and groom have decided to transform their friendship into a marriage relationship the matter is reported to both families for endorsement. Pöjullo dowry is in the form of goats, cattle and cash. This is accompanied by celebrations and merriment. It is worth mentioning that Pöjullo dowry is not settled at a go – even if there were prospects for that. The explanation is to maintain links and relationship between the two families.
Death when it occurs even in a natural circumstance of disease, old age, etc. is usually attributed to some mishaps and must have been instigated. The members of the family have their heads shaved throughout the mourning period.
Social and Political Organisation, Traditional Authority
The Pöjullo chief plays the role of a political leader with judicial powers. It is hereditary usually falling to the eldest son of the departed chief. The Pöjullo chief is always assisted by a council of elders, who come from different clans or families. The criterion of choosing these people is wisdom, bravery, and experience in matters pertaining to the tribe.
Spirituality, Beliefs and Customs
The Pöjullo, like other Bari speaking people, believe in a Supreme Being (Ngun) who is the creator. They also believe in the existence of spirits of the departed ancestors. Many of these beliefs are now fading under the influence of modernity and Christianity.
Culture: Arts, Music, Literature and Handicraft
Like other communities, the Pöjullo have evolved an oral culture expressed in songs, poems, dance, music, folklore, magic.
Neighbours and Foreign Relations
The Pojullo neighbour:
Nyangwara and Moro to the north
Bari to the east
Kakwa to the south and west
Mundu and Avukaya to the northwest.
In the past, the Pöjulu forged a rare alliance with Moro, Mundu against the marauding Azande armies. This cut off the main Azande force and led to the formation of the Makaraka.
The just concluded long running war caused drastic changes in the lives of the Pöjulu. Many were displaced and this eroded their social and family fabric. A separate administrative unit was established separating the Pöjulu from the Kakwa and others in Yei River District.
Pöjulu have been displaced and many live as refugees in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , others live in displaced people’s camps in Juba, Khartoum and other towns.
Seligman, C. G., and Seligman, B. Z., ‘Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan.’ George Routledge & Sons Ltd., London, 1932.
Collins, Robert O., ‘Land beyond the Rivers, the Southern Sudan, 1898 – 1918.’ Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1971.
Regib Yunis, ‘Notes on the Kuku and other minor tribes inhabiting Kajo-Keji District, Mongalla province.’ SNR VII (1) 1936 pp 1- 41.