Officially called the Republic of South Sudan, it is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. The country gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. In stark contrast to Sudan, South Sudan is predominantly Christian. South Sudan is bordered by four other African countries, including Sudan, Kenya, DR Congo, and Central African Republic.
Those are generally known facts about the country? But there are a number of facts about South Sudan which a number of would-be visitors do not know. Did you know, for instance, what role food plays in South Sudan? Why must your socks be clean and not have holes at all times? How do South Sudanese view public display of affection?
You will find the answers to all these and more in the following 10 funny facts about South Sudan. Happy reading!
President: Salva Kiir Mayardit
Population: 11.3 million (2013) World Bank
Currency: South Sudanese pound
Official language: English
Government: Federal Presidential Republic
Funny Facts About South Sudan
1. Dress Code
As a result of long association with Sudan which is largely Muslim and operates Sharia Law, women hardly wear revealing clothing, although they are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads. At official and social functions as well as in some restaurants, formal clothes are expected.
2. Place of Food
Food plays an important role in nearly all social interactions. Funny enough, even visits typically include tea, coffee, or soft drink, if not a full meal. It is customary to eat from a common serving bowl, using the right hand rather than utensils. In Muslim households, people sit on pillows around a low table.
3. Shoes Off
Do you have a habit of wearing dirty socks or socks with holes? Then stop it and avoid embarrassment. If invited to the home of a Sudanese, you will be expected to remove your shoes at the door. So imagine your host seeing your socks with holes or squeezing his nose on account of your dirty socks! Would that be funny?
4. Hospitably Honourable
Sudanese derive personal honour from treating guests hospitably. So expect warmth and generosity. But it won’t be funny if you should ingratiate yourself. Food is often eaten with the hands, but always with the right hand! Eating and passing dishes with the left is considered unclean.
5. PDA Is Taboo
When in Sudan, do like the Sudanese! Funny or not, one way to follow this advice is to “pocket” your love as long as people are around. What do we mean by this? Well, in Sudan, public demonstrations of affection between the sexes are frowned upon, even among visitors. There you are!
6. Stand Close
In Sudan, if you must make friends, then be prepared to stand closer to him/her when you converse. And no matter how close, don’t back away at all if you don’t want to be seen as rude. If you do, it may be taken that you think they smell. Or worse still, that they have bad breath. Funny, right?
7. A Nod Is Not A Nod
Be careful not to let the Sudanese nodding confuse you. The funny thing is… not every nod means yes. Watch the nodding well to see how many times and the direction of it. A single nod down indicates ‘yes’. However, a nod up means ‘no’. So, as you can see, a nod is not a nod.
8. Careful With Pointing
When sitting, be careful what you do to “pose” or make yourself comfortable. Do not cross your legs so that the sole of your foot is pointing directly at anyone! This is seen as a big offense. And talking about pointing, pointing directly with the index finger is also rude.
9. Marriages Arranged
Funny as it may sound, in Sudan, guys and girls are wary about falling in love, because the one they love so much is usually not the one they might end up marrying. This is because most marriages are arranged. Marriage matches are usually arranged between cousins, second cousins, or other family members. And in many cases, both bride and groom never see each other before the wedding.
10. Before Marriages
To marry, however, there are requirements to meet. A man must be economically self-sufficient and able to provide for a family. He must be able to provide an acceptable bride-price of jewelry, clothes, furniture, and among some tribes, cattle. Among the middle class, women usually are married after they finish school, at age nineteen or twenty.