Kaligi (Arabic: Feroghe) is an ethnic group in South Sudan. Most of its members are Muslims.
The Feroghe or Kaligi of South Sudan are numbering 20,500 (Peoplegroups.org, 2023)
They are part of the Adamawa-Ubangi people cluster within the Sub-Saharan African affinity bloc.
This people group is only found in South Sudan. They live in Bahr el Ghazal.
Their primary language is Feroge.
The people were originally known as Kaligi.
The population of the Feroghe is about a few thousand. They inhabit the area around Raga and Deim Zubier up to Hofrat en Nahas. There are 7 Feroghe clans named after the sons of Hamad: Kara, Fartak, Osman, Taher, Abuzala, Aliga (Khalifa) and Abbakar.
The Feroghe country is hilly with forest cut by shallow valleys and streams draining from Central African Republic. The economy is agrarian based and the area has copper mineral deposits.
More than a century ago the Kaligi lived scattered widely over the area between the Bora River in the south and the Bahr el Arab in the north. Not being a closely united group, they eventually came under Sultan Hussein Fadul el Furawi of the Dar Fur. During the 19th century the Feroghe gradually moved southwards under the pressure of the Mahdist conquering such minor groups as the Indri, some Kreish and Mangaya.
Tradition has it that a certain Bornu, Hamad Abbas Himyar, probably returning from pilgrimage in Mecca, parted with his entourage on arriving in Dar Fur. He travelled southwards and came to settle among the Kaligi in Eirei and Tambili hills preaching Islam. Hamad Abbas did not reconnect with his people again. The local people therefore named him Ferogawi (Arabic word for somebody who separated from others). He married the daughter of the Kaligi headman and had three sons: Musa, Taher and Itman.
The Fur Sultan Fadul gave all the Mangayat hills to Musa, who had taken over the throne after the death of his father, and ordered them to pay tribute to his Sultanate. The Feroghe are predominantly Muslim from the Abbassia sect and are honoured by the Fur because the mother of Sultan Ali Dinar (the Sultan of Dar Fur, assassinated by the British in 1916) hailed from them. As tribute to this the Sultan of Fur presented the Feroghe with the copper drums which they still beat to date on every Idd day.
The Feroghe speak Kaligi language which is related to Shayo and Gobo languages.
The Feroge being Muslim are organised according to Sunna and Sharia. They have lost their original African culture and beliefs. They however, still retain their language, although they speak Arabic language fluently and pose as more superior to the other smaller groups in the area.
The Feroghe are related to Shayo (Shayu) or Clara. Formerly, the Shayo lived apart from the Kaligi, which means that the Shayo, Kaligi and Gbogo, probably formed 3 parallel sub tribes, speaking the same language, but each one having its own home, chief, etc.
They have however been brought under the rule of the same chiefs and this greatly accelerated their amalgamation into a single unit. The Shayo are divided into 2 sections: Shayo-Gutu (Gundu) and Shayo-Yaka, both called after the corresponding names of the hill, which double up as the home of their ancestors.
Like most ethnic communities of western Bahr el Ghazal, the Feroghe have been not integrated into South Sudan social and political process. Since 1989 and the launching of the civilisation project by the National Islamic Front (NIF), there has been a lot of distortion that it is not possible to undertake an independent study of the tribe.
Most of the Feroghe leaders have been sucked into the political system linked to the project. Their outstanding representative in the system is Ali Tamim Fartak, one of the grand sons of Hamad, the Bornu. It will be necessary to study the social structure of the Feroghe once there is peace in the Sudan.
There has been a lot of social and political disruption in western Bahr el Ghazal following the eruption of war 1983 and the rebellion of the fertit against the SPLM/A; the usurpation of power by the National Islamic Front(NIF) in 1989; the capture by the SPLA and recapture by the GoS of Raga and Deim Zubier in 2001 and the eruption of war in Dar Fur in 2003.
This will require more research work to understand and evaluate the impact of all these developments on the people of western Bahr el Ghazal and in particular, the Feroghe.