Thur / Ethur

Thur / Ethur

The Thur people, pronounced eh-tour, live in northeastern Uganda, in the Abim District, a dry land with an undulating topography. More recently, they have also spread to urban centers. They are subsistence farmers who sell or exchange products with neighboring tribes. Some are potters and blacksmiths. Many are multilingual.

Population: 105,000 (2018) (

The Ethur language is called "Leb Thur".

The Thur are also called Jo'Abwor.

Thur people Map

The Ethur view their neighbors with suspicion because of ongoing cattle-raiding. As a minority among other groups, they feel insecure. They have neither an established system of leadership nor a writing system to defend their culture and language. Alcohol abuse and immorality are common problems.

Ancestors of the Ethur people came from Ethiopia and South Sudan. Many community members believe in ancestral spirits; they worship and fear big trees, old trees and mountains, believing they are sacred. About 40 percent adhere to this religion of the elders, which is called Ametho.



They originated from Bar-el Gazel in South Sudan and moved south to Northern Uganda during the 15th century Luo migration. Upon reaching Northern Uganda, they settled at Labwor hills in present-day Abim district. They are culturally connected to the Acholi tribe.
The Ethur belong to Thur región (part of Karamoja región) and are governed in a clan system.



The Ethur are agricultural people but also keep some cattle. They farm millet, sorghum, maize, sweet potatoes, upland rice, pigeon peas, groundnuts, sunflower, and vegetables. Their staple food is Millet, Sorghum and Maize. Millet is called "Kal", Sorghum - "Abir", Maize - "Onywagi". From millet or sorghum flour, bread is made. From maize, a drink called "Kwete" is made. The Ethur dress code is animal skin and a maasai shuka.



The Ethur dance is called "Myel bul" dance (drum dance). Myel bul dance is a celebration dance that involves men playing drums like those played by the Acholi, and women forming a circle around the drummers.



Men dress in animal skin, like Acholi, and women dress in a maasai shuka like the Karimojong.