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Oral Text 7: When there were only women in Mursi

Initially  there were no men, only women.  One day a woman found a boy in a boat or honey barrel floating on a river.  She hid the boy in her house and when he was older he made her pregnant.  The pregnancy she could not hide, and when the baby arrived the other women started to ask her many questions.  They wanted to know how she got such a thing growing in her stomach.  She answered that she had eaten the earth of a bangadhi [termite mound] and inserted gususi [a biting ‘army ant’] into her vagina.  The neighbouring women all tried to reproduce the same effects using the mud of a termite mound and ants, but to no avail.  So, one day while the woman was away from her hut, the other women decided to investigate, and they found a man.  In exchange for food, the man agreed to give each woman a baby.

Dinka recounted a similar story: the creator made man under a tamarind tree using clay, in much the same way as contemporary pots or toys are made, then he left the man in a covered pot until he had grown (Lienhardt 1961:36).


Lienhardt, Godfrey. 1961. Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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