Babba

Tribesman

In the same vein as a previous image (shoebill) I was going for the vaguely malevolent here. Certain African countries have histories of costume, both at times of war and peace. The First Liberian Civil War saw a rise in the practice of wearing wigs, gowns and other costumes amongst its child soldiers. Nigeria’s urban Gadawan Kura, captured by Pieter Hugo in his famous photoseries, have this weird threatening menace – the Africa Wild Dogs they have on chains have a decidedly brutal look to them in the urban environment. Also, the Mursi of Ethiopia have a unique adornment tradition. A pastoralist ethnic group, they are the ones with lip-plates, rope braids, metal cinches and animal horns hanging from their heads. If you do a quick Google image search, you’ll see them wielding AK-47s to ward off predators and bandits.

It might be culturally naiive to say do, but the forms of culture that the part-pastoralist, part-urbanised societies of African countries employ and display sure offer striking juxtapositions.

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