Makonde Female Initiation Dance - 3

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; kinyago describes the masked dancer(s). This image shows a dancer on stilts. Although the photo is unclear, the dancer is most likely wearing a mask to conceal his identity.

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.

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

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