Meet the Dinka People of South Sudan, the Tallest People in Africa

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The Dinka peoples of South Sudan are known all over the world for their height, some refer to their land as the land of giants: on average, its men stand almost 6ft according to a recent survey conducted in the country.

Meet the Dinka People of South Sudan, the Tallest People in Africa

The Dinkas are an ethnic group native to South Sudan with a sizable diaspora population abroad.

The Dinkas are known for their staggering height. With the Tutsi of Rwanda, they are believed to be the tallest people in Africa.

Meet the Dinka People of South Sudan, the Tallest People in Africa

A 1976 study by Roberts and Bainbridge reported the average height of 182.6 cm (5 ft 11.9 in) in a sample of 52 Dinka Agaar and 181.3 cm (5 ft 11.4 in) in 227 Dinka Ruweng measured in 1953–1954. Another survey of Dinka men in refugee camps in Ethiopia, published in 1995 found a mean height of 176.4 cm (5 ft 9.4 in).

However, according to recent studies, it seems the stature of today’s Dinka males is lower, possibly as a consequence of undernutrition and conflicts. Other studies of comparative historical height data and nutrition have placed the Dinkas as the tallest people in the world.

A popular explanation according to some scientists is that the Dinkas eat a calorie-stuffed diet rich in dairy products, grains, and meat.

Some Notable Dinkas

Manute Bol was a South Sudanese-born American basketball player and political activist. Listed at 7 ft 7 in, Bol was one of the two tallest players in the history of the National Basketball Association.

Meet the Dinka People of South Sudan, the Tallest People in Africa

Bol Manute Bol is a South Sudanese-American professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association and he is the son of Manute bol, one the tallest basketball (NBA) player ever. Bol Bol is 2.18m (7’2 ft).

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Meet the Dinka People of South Sudan, the Tallest People in Africa

Thon maker is an Australian and South Sudanese Profesional basketballer who last played for the Cleveland Cavalier. He stands at 7 feet tall. Both his parents are also both extremely tall; his father stands 6 ft 8 in and his mother stands 6 ft 3 in.

Meet the Dinka People of South Sudan, the Tallest People in Africa

Culture

The Dinka mainly practice traditional agriculture and pastoralism, relying on cattle husbandry for milk and as a matter of cultural pride.

Their pastoral lifestyle is also reflected in their religious beliefs and practices. Most – especially those in villages – revere one God, Nhialic, who speaks through spirits that take temporary possession of individuals in order to speak through them. The Dinka believe they derive religious power from nature and the world around them, rather than from a religious tome.

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Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

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