Displaced Tastes is a research project run by the Rift Valley Institute in partnership with the Catholic University of South Sudan under the X-Border Local Research Network. The project examines the changing tastes for food in South Sudan in the context of the country’s economic transition and place in the regional, cross-border economy of grain. In this piece, Deng Kuol explains the significance of grains for his pastoralist Ngok Dinka community—more commonly associated with cattle—in the borderland region of Abyei. To illustrate this, Deng describes the efforts made by his mother to preserve access to a socially valued variety of sorghum—ruath—by travelling into military occupied areas of Abyei while her family was displaced outside their home areas. The story illustrates how, for the Dinka community in South Sudan, grains are indeed ‘life’.
This briefing is a product of the X-Border Local Research Network, a component of DFID’s Cross- Border Conflict—Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) programme, funded by UKaid from the UK government. The programme carries out research work to better understand the causes and impacts of conflict in border areas and their international dimensions. It supports more effective policymaking and development programming and builds the skills of local partners.