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Fur African People

The Fur people from Darfur

The Fur people from Darfur

From A to Z of the African People series, the letter F is dedicated to the Fur people of Africa. They are also referred to as Fora, Fordunga, Furawi, Konjara, or Kungara.

As I was searching for a tribe to represent the letter F , I stepped into the life of these people who brought to my heart a verse I learned a long time ago from Emily Dickinson which I will quote with the acknowledgment concerning the Fur people:

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain. "


Who are the members of this tribe?

The word Fur was used to describe the ingenious, non-islamic inhabitants of the Darfur region.The existence of the Darfur (consisting of around 80 ethnic groups) is stated that they come from the early 17th century. It is registered that just after World War I (1914-1918) the Darfur were politically incorporated into Sudan in a complete manner.

Today peace in Sudan is a myth. Since 2003, the Darfur villages are being attacked, plundering and burning their homes, killing and raping the members of the tribe. This issue has resulted in over 400,000 deaths and 2 million people running toward security places such as refugee camps; all because of "human reasons " that go over Human Rights such as:

  1. battles over land and resources
  2. political decisions from the past
  3. ethnic divisions
  4. Islamic power struggles
  5. tricks of the civil war
  6. regional instability

Where are they located?

The Fur people are from Sudan; a country in Northeastern Africa, with a coastline along the Red Sea. It borders Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya and Egypt.

The Fur inhabit the mountainous area of Jebel Marra; the highest region of Sudan.They live mostly in the region called Western Darfur.

The Fur people population found is: Sudan (969,000), Chad (20,000), Egypt (3,300).


How do they live?

These humble people do not consider the wealth of a tribal chief important.

The Fur people live in 'gutitiya' which is a mud house. They wear casual Sudanese cloths. Many dress in a white garment that covers the wearer from head to toe, named 'jalabiya'.

Men are the head of the family. The men bear the family name. They are who bring money to the family by working, while women are in charge of housework. Children help in the house maintenance such as helping their mother and taking care of the animals. They are well educated with respect toward elders.

Since 2003 the Fur people have been crowded into camps in arid desert areas; for their own protection as shown in the picture to the side. If you want to know more about this read the links at the end of this article.

How do they communicate?

They communicate using the Fur language, with no written or symbolic script. It is one of the branches of the Nilo-Saharan language family. Those who live in urban settings are changing to Arabic as a first language.

How do they survive?

Most Fur people practice farming of millet, tomatoes, beans, hibiscus, onions, garlic, pumpkin and peanuts (groundnuts). Increasingly, they make a living in the cash economy by growing exportable crops such as tobacco and cotton.

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What characteristics define their diversity?

Beyond all the struggles that the Darfuris are living, their culture which remains seasoning their daily lives and those that meet them is one of the reasons that they have caught international attention. Let me enumerate some special characteristics that define their diversity:

  1. The knowledge of the Quran is the base of manhood.
  2. They use amulets called 'Hijab' for protection against specific things.
  3. Their dance style is unique to the region.
  4. They make their own handmade art and utensils.
  5. To keep the children safe from the outside world the tribe has stories that mentions a character named 'Nyama' that could eat them.

Special honor to Mia Farrow

Mia Farrow (born in 1964) is an actress and humanitarian activist. In September 2000, she was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Her widespread work raising funds and consciousness for children and women living in violent countries has reached the Fur people with her son Ronan.

I have linked her photo gallery and other interesting approaches that she has made in behalf of the Fur people.

We ought to move!!!

I was moved by a friend's comment in one of the the African People series from A to Z, mentioning that he has signed a petition for protection of a tribe. Some will do as Mia Farrow and others will sign a petition...the thing is that we ought to move in the way we can for the human rights that are being stepped on.

"First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communist and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionists. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me." Quoted by: Pastor Marti Niemöller (victim of the Nazis)

Blessings to all!

© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill

What is happening in Darfur?

by Joanne McDonnell


© 2012 Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill


Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on October 06, 2012:

shiningirisheyes leaving a tear in my eyes...but first of all thanks for the comment (always appreciate your visit). That is so nice of you admitting humbly that you have not heard about them. I love Africa and I want to live in Africa. In the measured I read and searched I understood that I didn't know about Africa. Exactly what you pointed out is what bring tears to my eyes, because as I answered my routine questions I went deeper into their heart and saw that the information is more than just simply answering them. Inquiries like yours comes from those that have eyes and see. I hope many will get inspired and notice what you have and that in an effort move out and help in the way that they can.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on October 05, 2012:

Thank you and I humbly admit I had not heard of this tribe until reading this hub. How can they survive when farming is their only way? From the picture of the encampment it does not appear to be farm-able land?

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on October 03, 2012:

Glimmer Twin Fan thanks for reading and for your comment. I do agree with their beautiful fabrics, actually one of the things that I love from Africa is their fabric selections. I know you like quilting and you have an eye for fabrics.

Claudia Porter on October 03, 2012:

Wow - so interesting. The colors of the fabrics they wear are beautiful amidst their struggles. Interesting hub!

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on October 02, 2012:

hockey8mn , that is the attitude...Wow!!! your comment makes me grasp again hope in human being. What a wonderful and heart warming idea. Reminds me the song "People" of the songwriter Adam Bainbridge that Barbara Streisand sang.

May God bless you and your friends.

hockey8mn from Pennsylvania on October 01, 2012:

Very interesting hub. In a world filled with a persons struggle for power and wealth, this is a great reminder of a persons struggle to live. Me and two friends have been talking about the need to do something by starting up a nonprofit organization. We have so many ideas, but, unfortunately lack the funds and time due to current careers. Someday, hopefully in the not so distant future, we will accomplish our goal. We want it to be kind of like the Red Cross, but with a more personal touch. The idea is for it to be like a 911 service that can go anywhere in the world where disaster strikes (i.e. earthquake, tsunami, war, etc.) that is selected upon by donors. The website would be a place for them to give us ideas of where they want the money to go. When we got there, we would talk with the people and use the money as they needed it, not by giving them random things that they may never need or use. That way, ever dollar spent would be put to a practical use. Many logistical kinks to workout, but is an idea in the workings. Voted up and interesting.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on September 29, 2012:

Froggy213 thanks for your comment and understanding.

Greg Boudonck from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong on September 29, 2012:

Baby, this hub brought me close to tears. I am understanding more and more daily why you have a heart for Africa. Great hub, well written and keep 'em coming!

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