Whipping of young women in Ethiopian Tribal ceremony To the south of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, lies the tribal animist area. It stretches from Addis all the way to Lake Turkana, formerly known during colonial times as Lake Rudolph, which borders Kenya. The italian historian Carlo Conti Rossini has described this part of Ethiopia to be a Museum of Peopleís as there are at least eight major tribal groups living here - numbering around 200,000, who until recently were largely untouched by outside influences. But change is on the way, not least the impact of global phone technology - and the development of the countryís mineral resources by the Chinese. The annual flooding of the Omo River has been the life-support for the tribal people of this region. For centuries the powerful flow and huge rise and fall of the river have provided up to three harvests a year for the indigenous peopleís staple crop - the highly nutritious SORGHUM But in 2006 President Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia commissioned the construction of the tallest hydro-electric dam in Africa. The project was never put to tender, the tribal groups never consulted, and conservation groups today believe that the dam will destroy an already fragile environment as well as the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood. One of the most spectacular ceremonies in the Lower Omo Valley is the UKULI BULA ceremony of the Hamar tribal group; itís effectively a Rite-of-Passage from boy to manhood. And marriage. To reach manhood, Hamar boys must undergo two rituals: circumcision and a leap over the bulls. This determines whether the young Hamar male is ready to make the social jump from youth to adulthood. After a successful bull-jump - always naked - the Hamar boy, now a Maz - a mature member of the society - may get married. At every ceremony around two hundred members of the Hamar (also spelt Hamer) participate in this life-changing event. Hamar women are some of the most elaborately dressed of the region - with goatskin skirts decorated with glass beads, whilst their hair is covered with a mixture of grease and red ochre. Elaborate scarification of the body is also the custom of the Hamar. For men, male decoration is simpler with the exception of their facial painting which denote status and progression up the social ladder. A key element of the ceremony is the whipping of young women who are family members or relatives of the boy undertaking the Rite-of-Passage. The women trumpet and sing, extolling the virtues of the Jumper, declaring their love for him and for their desire to be marked by the whip. They coat their bodies with butter to lessen the effect of the whipping which is only carried out by Maza - those who have already undergone this Rite-of-Passage. Some whipping appears to be tender, others more aggressive. But once whipped, the girls proudly show off their scars - as proof of their courage and integrity. Itís a kind of Insurance Policy. The ceremony tends to unite the family and is a demonstration of the womenís capacity for love, and in later life - perhaps when they've become widowed - they will look to the boys who whipped them years before to request help.The scars on her back are said to be proof of her sacrifice for the man, and it is therefore impossible for the man to refuse her needs in hard times or emergencies. Hamar women of the Lower Omo Valley, Southern Ethiopia willingly submit themselves to be whipped during the ceremony of Ukuli Bula . It indicates their courage and capacity for love, and is a form of insurance policy. Should they fall on hard times in later life, they will look to the boy who whipped them to request help. Photo shows: Young Hamar women coat their bodies with butter to lessen the effect of the whipping. © Jeremy Hunter/Exclusivepix Media

Hamar: Women of this Ethiopian tribe are lashed to demonstrate dedication to their men

They are said to be abreast with everything happening around the world, even with football, but that has not stopped them from practising a rather bizarre culture of women proudly accepting beatings as part of an initiation ceremony for men.

image source: www.illuminaija.co

Located among the bush covered hills on the eastern side of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia, the Hamar tribe have unique culture and customs, one of them being a cattle-jumping ceremony where the beatings of the women take place.

The ceremony starts with all the female relatives performing a dance, during which they offer themselves as subjects to be whipped by men who have recently been initiated.

The women accept these beatings to show their love and support of the initiate, and their scars give them a right to demand his help in time of need.

The man must subsequently leap across 15 cows in order to be allowed to marry and once that is achieved a celebration is held to end the ceremony.

Beatings are not just ceremonial

Women in the Hamar tribe are subject to beatings even after the ceremony at any time the man pleases unless they give birth to at least two children.

The rules of the tribe also say that men do not need to explain why they are beating the women as they can do so as and when they feel is right.

This has created deep scars at the backs of the women which they proudly show off as beautiful.

Hamar tribe — Depositphotos

In spite of these, women in the Hamar tribe are expected to be strong like the men and are supposed to do all household chores, take care of the children and sow crops as well as keep the cattle.

Hamar men can also marry more than one woman, but the women who are not first wives are treated more like slaves as they do a majority of the work.

Original post: Face2FaceAfrica

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