Africa

A day in the life of the Mundari

Published 0913 GMT (1713 HKT) April 22, 2016
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A Mundari man guards his precious Ankole-Watusi herd with a rifle. Photographer Tariq Zaidi visited the Mundari tribe in South Sudan twice in 2016 to document the lives of these fiercely protective herdsmen who face war, rustlers and landmines as they care for their animals. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
Dawn breaks over a Mundari cattle camp. The animals are the main source of sustenance for the nomadic tribe located on the banks of the Nile. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari man wakes up next to his animals and brushes his teeth with a stick. Tribesmen will often sleep with their cattle, and as close as two feet away from their most prized animal. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari girl helps a lamb to suckle on a cow's teat. It is not just the Mundari people who benefit from the cow's milk. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari boy drinks milk straight from the cow's udder. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A young Mundari boy holds his precious Ankole-Watusi cow in the middle of the camp. When Zaidi visited, he estimated the camp had approximately 500 animals, whose value can reach up to $500 each. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari man takes advantage of the purported antibacterial properties of the cow's urine. An extra benefit is that ammonia in the urine will dye his hair orange. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
The Mundari encourage their cattle to cross the Nile to get to an island where they will graze for the next few months. Finding new pasture is problematic, due to the prevalence of landmines laid during the war. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari man relaxes in the soft, peach-colored ash and dust of a dung fire. Zaidi says its consistency is close to that of talcum powder, and is applied to the skin as a means of sun protection. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari woman with the ritual facial scarring, typical of the Mundari tribe, and covered in ash, a purported natural antiseptic which also protects the skin from insects. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari woman clears the ground of sticks and dung before the cattle return home from the pastures. Women also milk the animals and look after the children. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
Before the cows settle in for the night, they return to their master. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari tribeswoman washes herself in the Nile at sunset. Bathing in the river is a rare site according to the photographer. courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A Mundari man washes his cows with ash to protect them from insects during the night. The camp drums can be seen in the distance.
courtesy Tariq Zaidi
A young Mundari man keeps watch over the fire and his cows during the night. Cattle rustling is a serious and deadly issue in the area, as cattle is often used as a dowry in marriages, the price of which has increased in recent years. courtesy Tariq Zaidi