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Current Issues


Some videos and articles about current issues affecting West Africans.

Above: a brother 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.

Scarification in Douala, Cameroon.

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A Bakongo woman.

Africa, c. 1943. Photo by John Atherton.

Photo by John Atherton.

A young Dinka man of South Sudan. Photo by Jean-Baptiste Sevette.

Central Burkina Faso.

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

(Photo by Jean-Michel Clajot)

A Mbembe woman, Cameroon, 1930s.

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

Girl from a Umm Bororo tribe. They are nomads with cattle with origins in West Africa.

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: