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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.99

Between a “real man” and a “photo copy man”: Dilemmas of Nuer Youth in Post-independence South Sudan



Primary authors


This paper explores how Nuer young men try to cope with the situation after the ethnic violence in South Sudan. Nuer men used to have scarifications, six parallel lines on their forehead through rite of initiation. Nowadays, not all Nuer men have scarifications. At the time of ethnic violence during conflict occurred in the end of 2013, their fates were seriously affected by whether or not they have scarifications. Many Nuer men having scarifications were targeted and killed during the conflict. Yet those who do not have scarifications face another type of difficulties, especially when they want to get married with girls from country side. They are sometimes called “fake man” or “photo copy man” by young girls. Since scarifications have been symbol of masculinity in Nuer lives, Nuer men try to obtain both identities as “modern” Nuer and “traditional” Nuer through alternatives to scarification, such as guns, pencils, papers, and money. By focusing on their dilemmas, this paper tries to depict how African youth manipulate their cultural norms and national situation to shape their ideal life courses.