Makonde Female Initiation Dance - 1

Makonde - female initiation dance

Female initiation ceremony (Unyago), from Niutchi (?), Makonde Plateau, Tanzania. Unyago is a Kiswahili word used to describe the dances and other ceremonies connected with the initiation of both boys and girls into adulthood (and thus full tribal rights). The word is also used to describe other masquerade dances. The word kinyago describes the masked dancer (not visible in this image). This is the beginning of the dance. The drummer is playing a long and thin dance drum, which he holds between his legs.

Credit: image scanned from Karl Weule's Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse meiner ethnographischen Forschungsreise in den Südosten Deutsch-Ostafrikas (Berlin, Mittler, 1908). Thanks to Paula Willey at the American Museum of Natural History for the photocopies.


Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003

also by Jens Finke
Chasing the Lizard's Tail - across the Sahara by bicycle - fine art photography