Introduction to Kurenen age-set

By Lauryen Oleyo

Kurenen (meaning deer in Murle) are currently the youngest age-set in Murle that emerged in 2013/14 in Kongor and spread to other areas and was eventually accepted in Pibor 2017. They are not yet present in Boma. The age-set chose the giraffe (Thagot) as their token animal, for its beauty, humility and peacefulness. These characteristics were the reason why the giraffe was chosen. They then included other animals of the same colours of red and white like deer (Kurenen), the roster (toloch), and others. Everything that has the mixed colours of red and white belongs to Kurenen.

When the Kurenen sing songs and dance they are connected to the qualities of their chosen animals. The songs praise these animals and the qualities they represent and the dances imitate and reflect the qualities and characters of these animals, ranging from the giraffe, roster, deer.

Within the Kurenen age-set there are several sub-groups or teams, known as Kem or nyakeno (sing) or nyakenet (plural), but these are organised based on area and payam and sometimes they are the same across all of Greater Pibor, but other times they vary per region and payam.

For example, in Manyirany there are four teams within Kurenen. These are Koliam (SPLA), radiet (radio), suar (Cobra Faction army), galamet (pens). Young men will do scarifications that identify them with their specific sub-group (kem). Youth come up with a kem that inspires them.

This post shows some photographs from Kurenen age-set.

Kurenen beads with the colour red and white, along the South Sudan flag in beads. September 2017 in Manyirany
Young boy from Kurenen with scarification of two thuraya phones representing the Koliam sub-group of Kurenen.
Kurenen youth with a scarification representing Division 8 of the SPLA associated with the Koliam sub-group.


  1. In my addition,lango generation is also categozing into sub teams which includes the following
    1.Sujun is the first age mates
    2.Akhimanee the second age mates
    3.Abach the third age mates

    1. Thanks Allan for your contribution. We will be putting up a post introducing Lango age-set soon, and will include this information on the sub-teams from Lango. I also invite you to write a post yourself, if there are things you’d like to share on Murle cultural heritage, whether about Lango age-set or other topics. Thanks for your interest!

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