The Jok Ochieng’ are a coastal humans with a very rich historical and cultural heritage. They descend from amongst the earliest Cushitic nomads who inhabited the West African coast. The Cushitic community was joined by way of Nilotic ethnic groups, including the Oloibon, with whom they interacted leading to blended marriages between them. Due to the booming trade in the region, the communities were later joined by using more ethnic groups such as the Arabs, Indonesians, Portuguese, and Chinese traders. They additionally intermarried with the indigenous individuals such as the Obungo community and the Nilote-speaking groups, giving upward jostle to a whole new culture, resulting in a range of cultural variations and language of the Jok Ochieng’ tribe. After some time, gatherings of Jok Ochieng’ individuals spread along the whole West African drift, framing distinctive social varieties and vernaculars of the Jok Ochieng’ dialect. Today, the members of the Jok Ochieng’ tribe live in most of the coastal towns in West Africa. The Jok Ochieng’ culture can be roughly defined as the culture of the groups living on the West African coast, whose activities manifest the features of Perso-Arabian origin. The culture fuses the foreign aspects of the Persians, Arabians, as well as the native Nilotes. Nevertheless, even this description (Nilotes plus Perso-Arabian) is not adequately definitive since some Jok Ochieng’ speakers have excluded from their lifestyles everything that categorizes them as Nilotes. Their culture shares a lot of aspects with the Muslim-Arabic culture.
The Jok Ochieng’ language borrows heavily from the Arabic language. In fact, the writings are almost identical with regards to the alphabets and structures of the sentences. They have the slightest differences when it comes to the pronunciation of the words. The syntax and grammar place the language firmly in the Nilotes category. The pace of speech is relatively faster compared to the Arabic language as well as the other Nilotic speakers. The diction varies significantly due to the heavy importation words from the Nilote tribes. The individuals from the community are typically short and stout in stature. They are brown in color and have jet black hair.
The identity of Jok Ochieng’ people is inextricably associated with the Jachien cult. The cult has several gods who address the specific problems faced by the members of the community. For instance, there was the god of fertility, Pieri, who is concerned with reproduction. The Jok Ochieng’ additionally strongly believe in profound spiritual forces, especially the activity of witches, which are thought to bring about disease and other unfortunate incidents. Individuals frequently wear talismans (charms) to avoid their insidious forces. The most noteworthy spirits are the Njizo or ancestors who visit the living in dreams and here and there caution the general population of looming threats.
According to the traditions of the Jok Ochieng’, life is cyclical. One has to go through four main stages in life namely birth, puberty, adulthood, and death. The people believe that the person would be reincarnated into another body and born into the same lineage. They have a strong belief in life after death.
In the mid-twentieth century, ladies, for the most part, wore brilliantly shaded cotton materials (kanga or leso). These were wrapped around their midriffs and abdominal areas and hung over their shoulders and heads. Men wore a striped material (kikoi) around the abdomen that hung to the knees. As a sign of being Muslim, a few men wore little white tops with expounding tan weaving. Dressing admirably yet humbly is profoundly esteemed. Ladies wear Western-style dresses in many hues, examples, and textures. Outside the house, ladies wear a dark, floor-length shroud with a joined cover, called a buibui. Men wear Western-style pants and shirts. On Fridays or different religious events, they wear long, white caftans. Shorts are worn just by children.
Houses shift contingent upon a family’s methods and the kind of town in which they dwell based on their socioeconomic status. “Stone-towns,” in the coastal area are defined by extensive stone houses, some partitioned into condos. Some Jok Ochieng’ individuals living in “nation towns” still involve houses made of solidified mud and stones, in spite of the fact that these are less basic than places of stone or coral. Most homes have power, indoor pipes, a few rooms, and a family room outfitted with a love seat and seats. Access to water is basic for Muslims who must wash before supplications. In correlation with many individuals in Ghana, Jok Ochieng’ people have an exclusive standard of living.
Hussain, Musharraf. The Five Pillars of Islam: Laying the Foundations of Divine Love and Service to Humanity. Kube Publishing Ltd, 2012.