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Omo Valley – Mursi tribe

The village chief with the lip plate in their lip from the movie “Black Panther”? This is a key feature of the Mursi  women. The Mursi women wear clay or wooden plates in their lower lips or earlobes. This is part of their traditional rites of passages for educational and disciplinary purposes. The Mursi women start wearing these plates when they are around 15 to 16 years old, when the girl’s lower lip is cut by her mother. The opening of the wound is held open by a wooden plug until it heals.

It will be up to the individual Mursi young lady to decide how big to stretch the lip apart, by inserting progressively larger plates over the years. It was believed that the bigger the plate, the more desirable and prized it will be for the lady’s value  in marriage.

The Mursi tribe have a reputation for being one of the more aggressive African tribes (I can testify for it) and are famous for their stick fighting ceremony called the Mursi Donga Stick Fighting. The brutal stick fighting is a traditional fight that the Mursi men must follows to prove their masculinity and maturity. Definitely not a fun acting wrestling to watch!

Culture

The Mursi tribe people lived humbly in huts called Doris, that can accommodate several family members. The women in the tribe are responsible for building these simple homes. They rely heavily on cattle for meat and milk for their food intake. They also harvest maize, chick peas, and beans

The Mursi tribe are also known for their elaborate body and facial paining, using body art as an expression of their social hierarchical class in the tribe. The colours, patterns and designs are used to designate position, for ritual or to ward off sickness, or even can be used to attract the opposite gender. Different designs for different events. Each design has a different meaning/reasoning and evokes different emotions and feelings.

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Posted by Habtamu Mideksa

habtamu@blackitetour.com


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