Introduction / History
The Duri (also called Massenrempulu) live in Enrekang regency, a mountainous area with a cool climate in the middle of the South Sulawesi province. The Duri area consists of 17 villages spread among the districts of Baraka, Alla and Anggareja. This area is close to a major road which is passable by automobiles. The majority of Duri people live close to the main road, but several groups live in the high mountainous areas. The Duri, primarily men, have migrated to other areas. They speak the language of Duri which has two dialects: the more prestigious dialect spoken in a central area around the villages Cakke and Kalosi and a less prestigious dialect in the Baraka district. The Duri language is part of larger linguistic grouping called the Masserempulu which also includes the Enrekang, Maiwa and Maliwang.
What are their lives like?
The majority of the Duri live by farming, tending orchards, raising livestock and making handicrafts. Their main crops are red onions, coffee, rice and vegetables. The Duri also make traditional cheese, known as dangke. Cow or water buffalo milk is boiled and combined with sap from the papaya fruit or papaya leaves and then poured into small coconut shells. The resulting cheese is sold in the traditional market, packaged in banana leaves. The traditional market is held in specific locations once or twice a week. The Duri possess a family oriented attitude and practice gotong royong (mutual help and cooperation). In the past, they had layers of society, known as nobility, commoners and slaves. Those differences are no longer seen today. In society, social status is determined by education and/or wealth. Wealth is measured in terms of ownership of water buffalos, land, gold and houses. Generally, those who are educated move to the city. The Duri are very open minded toward education and other things that can raise their standard of living. The Indonesian language is taught in school. Both adults and children enjoy reading, though only a few books are available in their language.
What are their beliefs?
Almost all Duri are Muslim, combining with traditional animistic beliefs with Islam. This can be seen from their awe in facing spiritual powers. They trust in a dukun (shaman/healer/occultist) to heal sicknesses and cast out evil spirits. A small number of Duri still identify themselves as animists who practice Alu' Tojolo. A Christian minority is found in the villages of Baroko and Benteng Alla, at the border of Toraja.
What are their needs?
The Duri reap various crops, but none that are profitable for their economy. They need transportation infrastructure to expedite the distribution of crops to be sold. Around 60% of villages do not possess sufficient transportation infrastructure, the result being that the distribution of their goods is expensive and time consuming. Investment capital would help their agricultural efforts. Further training is needed for farming soil that is not fertile. The sale of dangke cheese could be expanded through industrial processing and more attractive packaging. In addition, health and nutrition for children needs attention. Because of their interest in reading, literature in the Duri language should be made available.
Text source: Copyright © IPN, 2011. Used with permission.