South Sudanese Culture

Naming

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  • Some Sudanese in Australia may appear to have different surnames than their family members. This is because Sudanese family names are not usually spoken verbally and during their immigration their middle name was recorded as their last name instead.
  • Many Sudanese are named after past family members, such as their grandfather or uncle.
  • Sudanese names may also be chosen to reflect the circumstances of their birth. For example, the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk (Chollo) call children Tong (male) or Atong (female) to reflect that they were born during a time of war.
  • Many Sudanese have British first names, such as John, Philip or Richard
  • Children are often addressed by their relationship to their parents. For example, a girl whose father was called Deng would be addressed as “Nyan Deng”, literally meaning “Daughter (of) Deng” in Dinka.
  • Adults are also commonly referred to by their relationship to their firstborn. For example, a woman with an eldest son called John may be called “Mama John”. 
  • Those who are in a higher age bracket than one’s self are often addressed as “Aunty” or “Uncle” regardless of any blood relation.
  • Close friends and relatives may address each other with nicknames.
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South Sudan
  • Population
    13,026,129
    [July 2017 est.]
  • Languages
    English (official)
    Arabic (includes Juba and Sudanese variants)
    Many regional languages include Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande and Shilluk
  • Religions
    Christian (majority)
    Animist
    Note: Demographics unavailable.
  • Ethnicities
    Dinka (35.8%)
    Nuer (15.6%)
    Others including Shilluk, Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi, Baka, Fertit
    [2011 est]
    Note: Demographics and statistics on the ethnic make-up of South Sudan are rough estimates.
  • Australians with South Sudanese Ancestry
    13,059 [2016 census]
South Sudanese in Australia
  • Population
    7,699 [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in South Sudan. However, this census data does not accurately reflect true community affiliations. As the majority of people who identify as South Sudanese were technically born in the Republic of Sudan before the division of the two countries, many list “Sudan” as their birthplace and consequently get categorised as North Sudanese. However, community leaders estimate that there are more than 20,000 South Sudanese people in Australia.
  • Average Age
    27
  • Gender
    Male (56.7%)
    Female (43.3%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (42.7%)
    Anglican Christianity (35.1%)
    Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity (6.8%)
    Baptist Christianity (2.8%)
    Other (12.6%)
  • Ancestry
    South Sudanese (55%)
    Sudanese (15.4%)
    African, so described (7.7%)
    Dinka (5.7%)
    Other (17.6%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Dinka (52%)
    Arabic (18.8%)
    Nuer (7.4%)
    African languages, so described (4.2%)
    Other (17.6%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 80.5% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (32.1%)
    Queensland (20.5%)
    New South Wales (16.1%)
    Western Australia (14%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (5.6%)
    2001-2006 (72.4%)
    2007-2011 (18.4%)
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