The Lotuko are bordered by the Lokoro in the North, the Bari on the West, the Acholi and the Madi in the South, and the Didinga and the Boya in the East. Their region is characterized by ranges and mountain spurs such as the Imotong mountain, the highest mountain in South Sudan with an altitude of 10,453 ft above sea level. It is divided into 5 major sub-regions: Imatong, Valley, Dongotolo, Lopit, and the Great Plains.
As agro-pastoralists, they keep large herds of cattle, sheep and goats, and supplement this with hoe-farming, hunting, and fishing. They engage in some subsistence agriculture; their main crops are sorghum, ground nuts, simsim (sesame), and maize in the plains, or telebun, dukhn, sweet potatoes, and tobacco in the hills.
Land is owned by no single person, but in trust by the community. In the mountains, after finding a site, the group decides the boundaries of each person's garden, with certain areas being fallow (for up to 10 years) and others open to cultivation (for up to 4 years).
Their primary religion is an ethnic religion based on nature and ancestor worship that is deeply rooted in their ethnic identity; conversion to another religion essentially equates to cultural assimilation. The chief god of the Lotuko is called Ajok; he is generally seen as kind and benevolent, but can be angered. In Lotuko mythology he once answered a woman's prayer for the resurrection of her son. Her husband, however, was angry and re-killed the child. Ajok was annoyed by his actions and swore never to resurrect any Lotuko again, and in this manner, death was said to have become permanent.
South Sudan is home to around 60 indigenous ethnic groups and 80 linguistic partitions among a 2016 population of around 12 million. Historically, most ethnic groups were lacking in formal Western political institutions, with land held by the community and elders acting as problem solvers and adjudicators. Today, most ethnic groups still embrace a cattle culture in which livestock is the main measure of wealth and used for bride wealth.
The majority of the ethnic groups in South Sudan are of African heritage who practice either Christianity or syncretisms of Christian and Traditional African religion. There is a significant minority of people, primarily tribes of Arab heritage, who practice Islam. Most tribes of African heritage have at least one clan that has embraced Islam, and some clans of tribes of Arab heritage have embraced Christianity.
Linguistic diversity is much greater in the southern half of the country, a significant majority of the people belong to either the Dinka people (38.8%) of the South Sudan population, and primary residents of the historic Bor and Bahr el Ghazal Region or the Nuer people (27.6%) of the South Sudan population living primarily in the historic Greater Upper Nile region along with a significant number of Dinka. Both peoples speak one of the Nilo-Saharan languages and are closely related linguistically. Dinka is a standard language in South Sudan; however, its dialects are not all mutually intelligible.
Historically, neither the Dinka nor the Nuer have a tradition of centralized political authority and embrace a cattle culture where land is held by the community and livestock is the main measure of wealth. It is common to conduct cattle raids against neighbors. The tribes are fragmented into clans of politically separate communities with customs against intermarriage among clans. Processes of urbanization are a source of significant cultural change and societal conflict.