Some videos and articles about current issues affecting West Africans.

Above: streets of Conakry, Guinea.

Above: a brothel in Mopti, Mali.

TRIBAL SCARS: Elaborate patterns of scar tissue are encountered in West Africa, especially in the back country. These tribal scars are created using sharp blades in painful rituals when a person is quite young.

Each design or pattern represents a tribal identity.

A Kaplika woman.

A Dahomey girl, 1967. Photo by Irving Penn.

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A style of scarring found in central Burkina Faso.

Africa, c. 1943. Photo by John Atherton.

Photo by John Atherton.

Countryside near Ouagadougou in Ivory Coast.

Nigeria. From "Return of the Tribal", by Rufus Camphausen.

(Photo by Jean-Michel Clajot)

A Mbembe woman in the 1930s.

A Fulani woman, Nigeria. (Photo by Peter Holmes)

Tools used in scarification. (Photograph by Jean-Michel Clajot)

Watch a video about scarification in the countryside of Benin:

Did you like that documentary by Belgian filmmaker Jean-Michel Clajot?

Below: some extreme cases of tribal scarification that were prevalent in the past.


Read more about scarification on Leonie Orton's blog:

Togolese cinema: a teacher making an issue about a student’s skirt length.

Above: a Vodun initiate in Benin.