Avukaya

The Avukaya is an about 50,000 people counting non-Nilotic ethnic group which primarily lives in Western Equatoria.  Most Avukaya reside in the districts of Yei and Maridi in Western Equatoria, a region bordering on Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Smaller Avukaya groups, in part civil war refugees, are also located in the neighboring countries across the border.

Traditionally, the Ayukaya are subsistence farmers who live in small villages or farmsteads. Their homeland is located in the rainforest area with fertile soil to grow corn, cassava (manioc), telebun (finger millet), yams and fruits.  The harvest of tropical hardwood trees, such as teak, provides some additional economic income.

The Avukanya language is closely related to the Avukaya-Azande language.  The two ethnic groups also share close cultural ties. Many aspects of their social life and spiritual beliefs, which are associated with magical powers and animal totems, are identical.  Like in the Azande culture, the young Avukuya men are circumcised.

Today, many Avukaya communities have been completely or partially christianized. The Avukaya have a rich song and dance culture and are admired for their skilled arts and craftsmanship,  including the production of beautiful woven baskets, weapons and tools. The Avukaya live in peaceful coexistence with the neighboring ethnic groups of Moru, Mundu and Pöjulu.