While some parts of the world are immunizing their bodies with effective antibiotics against infections via a scientific method, the Mundari tribe of south Sudan uses the cultural practice of bathing with cow urine to prevent them from infectious diseases.
The Mundari tribe is made up mostly of cattle breeders and fierce warriors. Nothing is more important to them than their cows. They bathe in the urine of their cows to avoid all kinds of infections.
To stay mostly clean, Mundari men will squat under streams of cow urine, which they consider a natural antiseptic to fight infection. The act is also a bonus: it will dye their hair from black to orange.
Meanwhile, the dung is piled up to be burned. The shepherds then spread the peach-coloured ash on their skin. This serves as an antiseptic and protects them from scorching heat.
“These animals are treated like family members. When the cattle come back from the pasture, they know exactly where their owners are and where their home is – they are like dogs that way.”
“Families will sleep with their animals, wash them in ash and make sure the ground is soft and clean for them,” reports a tourist and photographer, Zaidi. “Almost every man I met wanted me to take a picture of them with their favourite cow.”
What is more important to these herdsmen? Their cows! They posed with their cows to take pictures leaving their families – wife and children. “Their wives and children, on the other hand, were neglected,” said Zaidi, the photographer.
Their breed of cow has been a dowry, a source of medicine, wealth, and even a friend. The Mundari look like bodybuilders, and they massage their cows twice a day. Ashes from the dung fires, as fine as talcum powder, are spread on the cattle and used as bedding.
Accounts indicate that Mundari cattle have, over the years, been a form of currency and status symbol.
Since the end of the civil war, thousands of men have returned to South Sudan searching for wives; this has increased the price of dowry, making their cattle even more valuable and increasing deadly cattle raids.
Cows mean so much to them than gold that they use guns to guard their big horned herds, as a single cow or bull can be worth $500.