Connect the dots

Sunday, April 17, 2011


If this looks familiar, it is. This is the Betamaribe tribe on the Togo side. Their fort like structures protected them from European invaders and slave traders, leaving much of their traditional culture intact. With some minor differences, most of their traditions mirror their neighbors, the Somba, in Benin. Unlike most tribes in West Africa, who have adopted and assimilated either Islam or Christianity into their animist beliefs, they are strict animists. Typically, you will find large clay fetish structures where they sacrifice animals, bones hanging in front of houses and rags and bottles hanging from sacred trees. They were also one of the last tribes to succumb to clothing themselves, although you still often find the women bare-breasted.

Older woman with a stone in her lower lip from a now dying initiation rite and spinning cotton

Young girl with initiation horn hat

Ready to hunt

Inside a sacred baobab

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