Despite the amount of effort which anthropologists have put into ethnographic studies, there can be no question that they have conveyed to the informed public a very unfortunate and erroneous impression of the nature of cultural differences in African countries. They have allowed continued use of the concept of tribe in a falsely reified sense and have failed to make it sufficiently known that many of the units so referred to are actually of recent, colonial, and administrative origin rather than primeval traditional entities. 1 As an antidote, I would stress the importance of studying cultural borderlands and transition zones within nations, recognizing that they have no long-term unity. The borderland or transition zone to be explored by way of illustration here is that between Bantu and Nilotic speakers; the Alur and their Nilotic neighbours, with extensions to the Sudanic Madi and Lugbara, on the one hand, and the Nyoro and their Bantu neighbours, on the other.