Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bondo at Tokpombu (Nongowa)

(double click on image to enlarge)
This photo taken in the small village near to where we lived, the village was named Tokpombu (in the Nongowa Chiefdom near Kenema Town). It was taken in early 1970. In it are two women playing the shake-shake or what in Mende was known as the segburreh. Comprised of a dried gourd, with netting and cowrie shells attached, the women would pull on the thread netting and provide a strong and loud beat and cadence to their singing or dancing. The Bondo spirit (or devil) is to the right in the picture. Made of a black, wooden, magnificently carved helmet mask, the body is enclosed in indigo dyed raffia which was obtained by peeling the leaf from the Raffia Palm. This was the symbol of the women's society in Mendeland. Most active and out and about during the initiation of young women, I had many opportunities to witness its behavior and activity.

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