The Sere are an ethnic group numbering over 10,000 living in the South Sudanese state of Western Bahr el Ghazal.
The original homeland of the Sere lay on the Mbomu river north, between the Kere (west) and the Mboku (east). The Sere number more than 10,000 people. They are divided into 3 clans namely: the Bambi, the Kulabu and the Kumindi.
They are domicile in the area between Deim Zubier and Wau. Their main settlements are in Deim Idris, Deim Arbabi, Kayango and around Mboro.
The land of the Sere is hilly and dissected by several perennial streams draining from the Nile-Congo watershed. The climate is tropical with high annual rainfall. This greatly influenced the lifestyle of the Sere who are predominantly agrarian, practicing subsistence agriculture. Their main crops are sorghum, maize, cassava, groundnuts, simsim.
‘Seri’ literally means ‘man’. The Sere evolved under the rule of their first king Kalaga. King Kalaga admitted his failures to stop the continuous disasters that befell the tribe and one day he decreed that the Sere should not be ruled by a king any longer. Henceforth, the Sere refused to obey one person who wielded authority. This gave the Azande the opportunity to wage war on the Sere. However, this war took about 10 years without success because the Azande could not succeed to break the fierce resistance put up by the Sere.
The Sere have a language that has no similarity in their vicinity.
There is little information in print about the social organisation of the Sere. However, from legends it is possible to deduct that the Sere were socially well organised under some form of authority. This authority or King managed to organise his people to undertake great tasks like attempting to build a tower to the sky.
The Sere used to have a king. However, after his disastrous adventure this was abolished. Later, the Sere organised under Farajallah Zubier whom they made their de facto leader. Farajallah was effective in uniting the Sere and managed to secure the return of all Sere from Omdurman, as well as from the Azande captivity in Tambura.
The Sere believed in a supreme being and the spirits of the departed relatives. Unable to explain thunderstorms and thunderbolts, the Sere believed these were punishments meted on them for wrong doings by King (joki) in the sky. Many of the Sere have however converted to Islam and therefore subscribe to Islamic traditions and practice.
From legend, it seems the Sere society had artisans, carpenters, builders or stone cravers, musicians and others besides the agrarian cultural practices.
The Sere are neighbours to:
Their relations with their neighbours have been cordial except with the Azande whom they had wars for 10 years.
The spectacular episode in the lives of the Sere was the long running civil war. The 2001 incursion of the SPLA into western Bahr el Ghazal caused serious disruption and displacement of the Sere to the Azande land that rekindled old memories and animosities.
There is no information at present about the Sere Diaspora in any part of the world, although there could be Sere refugees in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).