Spheres of Action
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The monograph on the history and culture of the Anyuak is the result of more than five years of fieldwork (1976–1983). It is a welldocumented, detailed and passionate description of an African people’s spiritual and material world, their culture and history. Myths, oral traditions, stories, maps, genealogies, records of tales, songs and other music, as well as a great number of photographs invite the reader to join in the journey through the universe of the Anyuak in order to make their own discoveries or simply to participate in the spiritual adventure.

The Anyuak live on both sides of the border between South Sudan and Southwestern Ethiopia. They are relatives of the better known Shilluk, Dinka and Nuer, but have turned from cattle herders into fervent agriculturalists. The Anyuak are a highly intellectual, strong-minded and well-organised people who have created, in the middle of so-called wilderness, a centre of human civilisation. If their socio-political system is of a particular interest, their philosophy is equally fascinating: it centres on the human person and governs his or her relationship not only within human society but also with animals, earthly matters and spiritual forces. Thanks to their stubborn, almost desperate belief in the essential goodness of existence and the positive forces of life, the Anyuak have – in spite of all pressures from outside – up to now succeeded in preserving their cultural identity and maintaining their pride of being "pure human beings".

The first four volumes of the monograph describe the sphere of the above (the sphere of transparency), the sphere of the below (the sphere of material existence, the earth) and the space between them (the sphere of human self-awareness and the period of personal existence). Volumes V and VI focus on the Anyuak village and its physical, social, judicial and political structures, and examine the lively sphere of collective experience under a forceful leadership, which embodies the community’s self-awareness.

Volume VII investigates the economic and material values of the Anyuak, in particular the social aspects of labour, such as solidarity, sharing within the community, and cooperation. It focuses on the daily or seasonal activities of women, men and children: in the fields; on the riverside and at home; during working hours; or while traveling, trading, and at times of rest. The text, with accompanying pictures and illustrations, highlights important aspects of agriculture; hunting and gathering; tobacco; on the making of tools, utensils and handicrafts; and on the rituals of cooking, eating, drinking, and smoking. The book ends with a chapter on art, which illustrates the Anyuak artistic self-awareness in all aspects of life.

Bevorstehende Veranstaltungen

Bibliographische Angaben

Reihe The Anyuak - Living on Earth in the Sky
Seitenanzahl 285 arabisch
Tabellen 23
Abbildungen 330 s/w, 31 farbig
Format 21.5 x 31 cm
Bindung Buch, Gebunden
ISBN 978-3-7965-3465-2
Erscheinungsdatum 28.10.2016


Conradin Perner is a Swiss scholar with professional experience in the fields of literature, ethnography, peace-building and humanitarian work. He has lectured at a number of African and European universities, and has worked as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Africa, the Indian sub-continent, Afghanistan and Central Asia and as an advisor and consultant for the ICRC, UNICEF, UNESCO and the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs. Since January 2000, Perner has played a leading role in the peace-making processes in the Sudan, first as a Commander of the Joint Military Commission in the Nuba Mountains and subsequently as a special senior peace advisor to the Swiss Government. One of his major accomplishments is the initiation of the website www.gurtong.net which promotes peace by providing unbiased information on the peoples and cultures of South Sudan.

In recognition of his scientific and humanitarian work, his courageous fight for the respect and the dignity of the people of South Sudan during the long years of civil war, the crucial role he played in the dramatic rescue operation of the so-called "lost boys", and in appreciation of his contribution to the promotion of peaceful co-existence and the restoration of cultural values to the country’s many ethnic communities, Conradin Perner was awarded with the first honorary citizenship of South Sudan on the day of independence in July 2011. "In recognition of his service to advance and to promote human rights in South Sudan and around the world", Perner has received a "Humanitarian Award" from the Austin Human Rights Commission and the town of Austin in 2012.