Whipping of young women in Ethiopian Tribal ceremony
To the south of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, lies the tribal animist area. It stretches from Addis all the way to Lake Turkana, formerly known during colonial times as Lake Rudolph, which borders Kenya.
The italian historian Carlo Conti Rossini has described this part of Ethiopia to be a Museum of People’s as there are at least eight major tribal groups living here - numbering around 200,000,
who until recently were largely untouched by outside influences. But change is on the way, not least the impact of global phone technology - and the development of the country’s mineral resources by the Chinese.
The annual flooding of the Omo River has been the life-support for the tribal people of this region. For centuries the powerful flow and huge rise and fall of the river have provided up to three harvests a year for the indigenous people’s staple crop - the highly nutritious SORGHUM
But in 2006 President Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia commissioned the construction of the tallest hydro-electric dam in Africa. The project was never put to tender, the tribal groups never consulted,
and conservation groups today believe that the dam will destroy an already fragile environment as well as the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood.
One of the most spectacular ceremonies in the Lower Omo Valley is the UKULI BULA ceremony of the Hamar tribal group; it’s effectively a Rite-of-Passage from boy to manhood. And marriage.
To reach manhood, Hamar boys must undergo two rituals: circumcision and a leap over the bulls. This determines whether the young Hamar male is ready to make the social jump from youth to adulthood.
After a successful bull-jump - always naked - the Hamar boy, now a Maz - a mature member of the society - may get married.
At every ceremony around two hundred members of the Hamar (also spelt Hamer) participate in this life-changing event.
Hamar women ar