South Sudan /

The Larim, known to their Toposa neighbors as Boyas, split from the great Murle nation after an argument over dinner. One Murle clan had invited another clan, but the other clan was not satisfied by how little gazelle meat was in the soup. They were offended and decided to migrate west. They settled in a mountainous area with plenty of water and fertile land. This is how the Larim tribe emerged, one of the most beautiful and unknown in South Sudan.

Boya Mountains, fortress of the larims. Mountain village, protected between the rocks. The larims protect the ancient sacred trees that surround their villages.

Joan Riera, anthropologist and founder of Last Places had indications of the existence of a traditional tribe around the Didinga Mountains, in the Province of Eastern Equatoria. It was in the Camp15 market, on the road that connects Torit with Kapoeta, that he saw a young woman, with a scarred face and arms and a hairstyle different from those he had seen to date, beautifully decorated with colored beads. Joan investigated and the locals told her about the 'Boyas', an untamed people who lived beyond the Kimotong River. He slept in the Catholic mission and the next day he crossed the river and reached the Boya Mountains where he met the larims. That was in 2012 and since then he has forged a good relationship with this town that he regularly visits with travelers from all over the world.

The Larims stand out from the other tribes of South Sudan for their craftsmanship. They decorate their homes with delicate details, they make spoons and gourd containers that they pyrograph and decorate with beads. Their traditional gazelle skin dresses are also embellished with metal pieces (obtained from old bullets) and glass and plastic beads. They are undoubtedly the great artisan tribe of South Sudan.

Traditional larim house with a roof built in layers of straw.

The Last Places project has put the larims in the collective imagination of travelers interested in the world's last tribal societies. Through a type of respectful and responsible tourism, the Last Places team is promoting the preservation of vernacular architecture in the 'larim country', the repopulation of forests (there is logging to expand the fields), the traditional culture and the improvement of the living conditions of the local population with projects related to water and health. The Larims are a unique tribal minority in Africa who inhabit fragile and precious territory. Last Places works with the larim so that their world does not disappear.

Some Larim houses are decorated with geometric motifs.

Detail of the decoration with earth snails of the roofs of a larim house.

Decorative motifs on the wall of the Larim house.

Larim people use natural pigments (clay and ground stone) to decorate their houses.

Young Larim woman with facial scarifications and metallic nose piercing.

Married Larim woman wearing the traditional gazelle skin (only for festivals and ceremonies) and nose piercing.

Decorative scarifications on the larim woman's arm

Young Larim woman with deeply scarified back with abstract motifs and figures of plants, animals and modern weapons (larims have also suffered during the Civil War (1956-2005).

This scarification symbolizes a hand grenade

Larim bride, ready for marriage. Marriages are arranged by the families and dowries are paid (cows, weapons and cloth).

Larim chief with giraffe tail hairs as a symbol of power.

Pumpkin used as a plate to eat beautifully decorated with the pyrography technique and with a handle covered with colored glass and plastic beads.

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    About the author

    Joan Riera

    Joan Riera (Barcelona, 1978) es licenciado en Antropología y Sociología por la Universidad de Richmond (UK). Está especializado en religiones animistas y procesos de recuperación cultural entre sociedades tribales. Cofundador de Last Places, Joan combina la investigación académica con la organización de expediciones etnográficas a los últimos lugares del mundo.

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