Introduction / History
The Mundu believe they originated in West Africa and they migrated eastward during the dry seasons, in groups. As the first groups journeyed, the leaves of the mahogany trees around them fell and covered over their tracks so that the people behind them lost the route. In this way, some Mundu traveled only as far as Zaire while the leaders reached what was then Sudan and settled there. Linguistically, Mundu is closely related to some West African languages, giving more evidence that they originated there.
The war in what was Sudan has forced some Mundu to move south, back into Zaire. However, the current instability in Zaire may mean further displacement. The Mundu have always lived under one foreign government or another. Consequently, they can feel threatened, but generally they have a good self-image and are proud of their culture and language.
In recent years it has become apparent to older Mundus that their traditional culture is not being taught as carefully to their children as it was in the past. Increased mobility and Western influence is slowly changing their traditional village lifestyle where elders would be the primary means, outside the family, of passing on customs and laws.
The ground is fertile and the rain is plentiful and so, despite dislocation and war, they are able to survive on the food they grow. However, they are subsistence farmers and lack utilities, clean water supplies, transport, schools and especially medical care. Infant mortality is high and basic medicines are not easily available.
Trade languages are used for education in both Zaire and South Sudan. The first missionaries came to the Mundu in the 1920s, but only learned and used the trade language. Mundu is spoken in the home and remains the 'heart language' of the people. Consequently, the Mundu are happy to have their language written down and their culture strengthened. They are excited to have literature in their own language and Christians especially want a hymn book and Scripture.
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