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Sudan / Peoples /

People living in the Nuba hills in the Kordofan region of Sudan, with a population of about 2.1 million (2002 estimate). The 1956 census put their number at 570,000, a time when the Sudanese population was 27% of the 2002 population (10 million to 37 million).
The Nuba belong to several ethnic subgroups, and are also divided into different tribes. They do not all speak the same language, but languages belonging to the Nubian group of the Nilo-Saharan family, like Midobi and Birked. Arabic is the preferred lingua franca, and is well known in the urbanized areas.
The Nuba mainly live from agriculture, with millet, sesame, maize, peanuts, beans, onions, cotton and tobacco as their main produce. In addition the keep cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, fowl and pigs.
The religion of the Nuba is generally classified as belonging to the group of traditional religions. The practices are connected to the life and needs of agriculture, and they make animal sacrifices to ancestral spirits. Islam has been introduced in the more urban areas, involving many changes in the lifestyles.
While the international image of Nuba is that they wear no clothes, and decorate themselves with scar tattoos and body paint, this today only apply to remote regions.

By Tore Kjeilen