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Sudan / Peoples /
Other spellings and names: Azande, Asande, Niam-Niam

People living in western Sudan, in addition to in Congo and Central African Republic. 660,000 (2002 estimate) of them live in Sudan, while their total numbers are between 3,500,000 and 4,000,000.
The Zande is more a cultural and tribal structure than an ethnic unity. The foundations of the Zande goes back to the 18th century when the Ambomu people conqured large lands where people of different ethnic groups lived. The people of the conquered lands would become the Zande. While some of the small and old languages have survived, most Zande speak Zande, which is a language that belongs to the Niger-Congo family's Adamawa-Ubangi branch.
Their agriculture is based upon agriculture and hunting. They also have a rich tradition for quality crafts in iron, clay and wood.
The Zande lifestyles were originally marked by great focus on male interests, allowing polygamy, which among nobles could involve a great number of wives.
The religion of the Zande focuses on the worship and reverence of ancestors. Their religion has a god concept, but their god is not central in their common rituals. The Zande believe that at death, one of their two souls joins the totem of their clan. Witchcraft is still common among the Zande.

By Tore Kjeilen