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Index / Peoples /

Young Beja

Ethnic group of Sudan and Egypt, and Eritrea. They dominate in the Red Sea coastal regions of Sudan. In Egypt, they inhabit the southern part of the Red Sea coastal region, but there is also a Beja community in Kharga oasis in Egypt.
Their number is not set in any source, but with 2 million speaking their language, and smaller number being ethnic Beja but speaking other languages, they appear to count between 2.5 and 3 million. In Egypt there are about 106,000 of them.
The Beja are characterized by semi-dark to deep dark skin, facial structures close to Semitic and other dark Africans, brown eyes, and with small curtly, dark hair. Beja are known for growing long hair, to form a large crown around the head.
A great number among them have a nomadic lifestyle, but increasingly many settle in towns and cities. In the case of Sudan, there is only marginal difference between countryside and most of the towns.
Their language is Beja, of the Afro-Asiatic family.
A great majority are Muslims, but a minority of unkown size are Coptic Christians.

By Tore Kjeilen