Makonde Female Initiation Dance - 2

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 dancers, of which there appear to be three in this photo (certainly the one in the centre with his/her back turned towards the camera).

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