Friday, July 9, 2010

The Kendwi Devil

the above photos show Mama Hokey on the left in the red docket (blouse) and green head dress leading as the Kendwi Devil is paraded around Tokpombu.
© by Chad Finer

This photo was also taken in Tokpombu - a village very close (within one mile) to where we lived and a roadside village (on Dama Rd) south of Kenema. This was taken proximate to the ending of the Bondo activities for that year (1970). The Kendwi Devil was a bit mysterious (to me) but given its appearance and its "personna" it clearly symbolized (as I saw it) the ending of Bondo Devil activities for that season. As I remember it (my Mende friends will correct me if I am wrong) soon thereafter the Bondo girls came out in all their finery and pranced around the area. However The Kendwi behavior was fascinating. Women carried this stretcher-covered devil around Tokpombu almost in a trance-like and swaying behavior, swaying to and from as they paraded with Kendwi around the village. I remember there being either song or something similar as this went on. No one ever talked to me about this aspect of the Bondo - so most of what I observed was left to my own interpretations rather than any input from my friends. This coming out of Kendwi did seem more solemn than when the Bondo Devil was out. Taken in early 1970

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