Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Well I didn't list very many references though out my blog. I know I should have. But it makes it look so ugly. That being said its not like I can't make a reference page. Here is the list of sites I used to compile the data on the Zaghawa

No Intervention is a site that is clearly against intervention... in the sense of western influences working their way into Africans' lives and government. They are heavily in favor of African sovereignty. They have a lot of information regarding various tribes and cultures in Africa, like the Zaghawa

This here is a religious site that provides data from people groups all over the world. In their words, This website is about people groups around the world who are all precious in God’s sight." Very useful tool that provides statistics.

Ethnologue provides information solely on the languages around the world. This is where I found specific information regarding the Beri's language. Like their alphabet.

Another religious site, this provides historical information, religious data, as well as modern developments regarding various people groups. Not surprising considering how much missionary work religious institutions do.

Taken from their site in the About section, "African Holocaust (Est. 2001) is a non-profit civil society dedicated to the progressive study of African history and culture. The society is composed of African scholars and writers, who share the desire use critical thinking to represent and restore an authentic, reflexive, honest, inclusive and balanced study of the African experience, past and present."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cultural Survival

The Zaghawan people live a semi-nomadic life style. As stated before in this blog, these people live in the country of chad. Primarily by the border of Chad and Sudan. They travel South to North depending on the climate and seasons. They do so to tend to their stock. Above you see some of the Beri traveling.

Here we see a Zaghawan at a Darfu Refugee camp. Outside of Chad the Beri find themselves in the same situation as many other Africans. They struggle to survive in the shadow of violence sweeping the region. 

Inside Chad is a different story. Some stick to the nomadic ways and others settle down in the cities and live like average citizens. Of those that settle down some maintain the traditions and others are more modernized. Just about all practice Islam.

This here is the Zaghawan alphabet. Random? Wrong! Language is an important part of any culture, its how you communicate. They maintain their language. Their primary language is Zaghawa. They don’t call themselves Zaghawa, they refer to themselves as Beri. In the 1950s, a Sudanese Zaghawa schoolteacher named Adam Tajir created an alphabet for the Zaghawa language. In 2000, a Zaghawa veterinarian named Siddick Adam Issa adapted Tajir's script to Zaghawa


Look at that map. Its huge right? Well the Continent of Africa is just that. A continent. A large one at that. It's made up of about 50+ countries(54-57) and the country of Chad is one of them. But what countries surround Chad? To the north is Libya, North North East is Egypt, East is Sudan, South is the Central African Republic, South South West is Cameroon, West is Niger and Nigeria. But if the Beri were to deal with anyone it would be with those primarily from Sudan(a large portion of the Zaghawan people inhabit refugee camps here), CAR, and Libya.

Unfortunately the current situation of the Beri in Sudan is tragic, like that of many other peoples that have been displaced due to all the conflict and strife going on in that region and most of africa. With in Chad, the Zaghawa get along well with other people. They definitely aren't discriminated against, their group finds themselves in powerful positions in the government yet they only make up roughly 25% of the population..


It was hard to find books specific about the Birds that the Zaghawans interact with throughout their lives. That is because there aren't very many books on this extra specific topic. But that does not leave us with out options. I have researched Birds that inhabit the regions where the Beri travel through and live on. Which in this case, the are of focus is the country of Chad and the part of the Sahel that crosses through it... still chad. According to Wikipedia...there are a large amount of bird species that live here. They are as follows:

Ostriches . Grebes . Pelicans . Cormorants . Darters . Bitterns, Herons and Egrets . Hammerkop . Storks . Ibises and Spoonbills . Flamingos . Ducks, Geese and Swans . Osprey . Hawks, Kites and Eagles . Secretary-bird . Caracaras and Falcons . Pheasants and Partridges . Guineafowl . Buttonquails . Cranes . Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, and Coots . Sungrebe and Finfoots . Bustards . Jacanas . Painted snipe . Avocets and Stilts . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and Coursers . Plovers and Lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Gulls . Terns . Skimmers . Sandgrouse . Pigeons and Doves . Parrots, Macaws and allies . Turacos . Cuckoos and Anis . Barn owls . Typical owls . Nightjars . Swifts . Mousebirds . Trogons and Quetzals . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical Rollers . Hoopoes . Woodhoopoes . Hornbills . Barbets . Honeyguides . Woodpeckers and allies .

Larks . Swallows and Martins . Wagtails and Pipits . Cuckoo-shrikes . Bulbuls . Thrushes and allies . Cisticolas and allies . Old World warblers . Old World flycatchers . Wattle-eyes . Monarch flycatchers . Babblers . Chickadees and Titmice . Treecreepers . Penduline tits . Sunbirds and Spiderhunters . White-eyes . Old World Orioles . Shrikes . Bushshrikes and allies . Helmetshrikes . Drongos . Crows, Jays, Ravens and Magpies . Starlings . Weavers and allies . Waxbills and allies . Indigobirds . Buntings, Sparrows, Seedeaters and allies . Siskins, Crossbills and allies . Sparrows .

That's a ridiculous amount of bird species. Then again when I take the time to think about the birds that inhabit my area I come to realize how many different types there really are. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that there is this much of a variety in the Sahel, as arid as it may be at times.


The primary religion of the Zaghawan people is Islam. For those of you that don't know... Islam is a monotheistic religion built around the teachings of the Quran and of the prophet Muhammad.
(credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Mahdi_Grave_in_Omdurman.jpg)

They were once animistic up until the 1940s. that is to say that they worshiped nature and animal spirits. They were essentially pagan. But it was thanks to the influence from Tijani Muslims would spread to the Beri people(introduced 1600). Ah that's right. I may not have mentioned it yet. The Zaghawa call themselves Beri. Anyway they still hold onto their previous beliefs… Adapted their beliefs to Islam is a better way of putting it.

World of the Zaghawa

·         Agriculture and Husbandry is the way of life of the Zaghawan people. They sell  sheep and camels and some other animals for income( they also use the milk of their cattle). The Zaghawa also grow vegetables such as tomatoes, onions and okra in small gardens surrounding their homes and raise crops such as millet and tubers (starchy root vegetables).

(credit: http://nointervention.com)

 Many Zaghawa are merchants who travel southward and eastward to find food and manufactured goods that are not available in their own region. Sugar, tea, oil, blankets, plastic products and soap are all purchased or exchanged for cattle, sheep, wild grasses and the gum of the acacia tree.

 Some men also work as blacksmiths, although craftsmen would be a better collective name for these artists who make metal tools, weapons and jewelry; create pottery; carve wooden stools and musical instruments; weave cotton; and tan hides to make various leather items.


·    The Zaghawan people are spread out between the African countries Chad and Sudan. This area is known as the Sahel. It is located in between Eastern Chad and Western Sudan (including Darfur). 

This area, the Sahel, is an  ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. It stretches across the north of the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile River. 

During normal years they wait nine dry months for a short rainy season which lasts from late June until late August. Because of this they move their animals north to graze during the dry season, and return south when it rains.
Another shot of the Sahel!