Surma’s Way of Life
For over centuries and decades, the Surma’s population continues to grow and expand. The Surma tribe, a pastoralist African tribe located in between South Sudan and southwestern of Ethiopia, embraces fighting and violence into their culture. Surma’s culture, history, religion, and their way of life continues to be passed down from one generation to another.
One of the main reason why the Surma’s culture involves a lot of violence is because of their past. In the past, part of the Surma village broke off and formed the Meyun clan. The Meyun clan settled near the Boma while the remaining people in the Surma tribe settled near the Koma. Finally, in 1890 the Surma settled in the Koma; however, they were constantly harassed by the Amhara, Gimira, and Timira, forcing them to reunite with the Meyun clan. Once the Surma moved near the Boma to reunite with the Meyun clan, the Surma continues to be raided by other tribes. This forced the Surma to become more violent and use weapons to protect their cows, families, and resources. In addition, the Second Sudanese Civil war was also occurring, forcing other tribes into their land. Therefore, they were always getting raided by other tribes and in competition with other tribes for resources, land, and cows.
Since fighting and violence plays a huge role in their culture, they perform a Saginay, a stick fighting competition that is hosted in their villages. Before the stick fighting competition occurs, the men participating in this fight would drink a cow’s blood in order to get strong. The stick fighting competition occurs a day after it rains and consists between 20-30 people on each side ready to fight each other. This competition is very important to them because it demonstrates the strength of and power the young men that are participating in these fights; therefore, drawing more women towards them. Since these violent fights draw a lot of attention, people participating in these fights can...