Remember looking at National Geographic magazines as kids and every once in a while they would have pictures of nude tribal women?  Then among the saggy tits with babies clung to them we spied one girl who was younger and kind of cute?  Remember how it made us feel?  Horny, confused and a little ashamed?  Let’s get those feelings back for a little while.

Click any image to enlarge


These females are from all over the African continent.  Many are Bantu.  Bantu peoples is used as a general label for the 300–600 ethnic groups in Africa who speak Bantu languages. They inhabit a geographical area stretching east and southward from Central Africa across the African Great Lakes region down to Southern Africa. Bantu is a major branch of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by most populations in Africa. There are about 650 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages.

Tribal Nudity

 


Umhlanga, or Reed Dance ceremony, is an annual Swazi and Zulu cultural event. In Swaziland, tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdom’s to the Ludzidzini Royal Village to participate in the eight-day event. The young, unmarried girls were placed in female age-regiments; girls who had fallen pregnant outside wedlock had their families fined a cow.  As part of the ceremony, the young women dance bare-breasted for their king, and each maiden carries a long reed, which is then deposited as they approach the king.  If the reed should break before the girl reaches that point, it is considered a sign that the girl has already been sexually active.

Reed Dance Ceremony


Tribal Body Paint & Decoration


ggg


In the spirit of education and gratitude for these young women who let us leer at their tits, we will learn what some of these loveliest of Africans interpret as beauty, fashion and custom.  

Ethiopian and Sudanese tribes show off their intricate raised patterns created using thorns.  From delicate swirls of raised flesh to intricate dotted patterns, the scars that decorate the bodies of Ethiopia’s Bodi, Mursi and Surma tribes are more than just the sign of an old injury.

For these aren’t just any scars: They’re an elaborate part of local culture and signify everything from beauty to adulthood or even, in some cases, are simply a mark of belonging.   But Ethiopian tribes aren’t the only ones to embrace scarification. In Uganda, the Karamojong are famous for their elaborate scar patterns.

Now the stunning scar markings of Ethiopia and Sudan are the subject of an incredible set of photographs by French snapper, Eric Lafforgue, who travelled through the country observing cutting ceremonies and meeting the locals.

During a visit to the Surma tribe, who live in the country’s remote Omo Valley, he witnessed a scarification ceremony, which involved creating the patterns using thorns and a razor.

The 12-year-old girl who was being cut didn’t say a word during the 10-minute ceremony and refused to show any pain, he revealed. Her mother used a thorn to pull the skin out and a razor blade to cut the skin.

At the end, I asked her whether having her skin cut had been tough and she replied that she was close to collapse. It was incredible as she didn’t show any sign of pain on her face during the ceremony as that would have been seen as shameful for the family.

What’s more, he explained, despite the pain, the girl herself initiated the ceremony as Surma girls aren’t obliged to take part. ‘Scars are a sign of beauty within the tribe,’ he added.

Children who go to school or convert to Christianity don’t do it but the others see the ability to cope with pain as a sign that they will be able to cope with childbirth in future. To me it is another indication of Christianity being one of the more modern religions.  By modern I mean that when certain ancient customs didn’t seem to work anymore or became largely unpopular they were scrapped.

Pic 1 of 3 Ritual Scarring
Ceremony: A Surma scarification ritual using thorns and a razor is carried out on a 12-year-old girl who volunteered to be scarred.
Pic 2 of 3 Ritual Scarring
Painful: Although the process isn’t without pain, Lafforgue says the girl kept a straight face throughout in order not to shame her family.
Pic 3 of 3 Ritual Scarring
End result: After the initial cut, scars have organic sap or ash rubbed into them in order to make them heal as raised bumps.
Scarring up close. and a boob
Close-up of scarring.  Also, a boob.