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Two Hazda men head out into the Tanzanian wild as the sun rises in the distance. Part of one of only three remaining groups of hunter-gatherers left in Africa, these Hazda men are being accompanied this morning by two intrepid female photographers.
After about an hour, two of the men will spot a black-faced vervet monkey and shoot it with their bows an arrows, stopping afterward to skin and cook the animal over an open fire. Later, they will search for beehives.
One of the hunters begins whistling back and forth with a honeyguide bird. The conversation continues until he finds himself directly below a beehive lodged in a hole high above in a baobab tree. He and others pound stakes into the side of the tree and climb straight up to the nest.
The bees are smoked out and the honeycomb extracted. All share in the bounty of sweetness and bee larvae. The honeyguide bird also feasts on the bees and wax. The remainder of the honeycomb is packed for the return to their small camp. The women have been collecting tubers and baobab fruit to supplement dinner.
The book is the culmination of a life-long journey of discovery by the two authors, who have crisscrossed the more remote parts of the African continent to record the lives and ceremonies of Africa's endangered indigenous peoples. Many of the peoples and their initiations have been pushed to extinction by the modern world since their ceremonies have been recorded and no longer remain as independent people living in traditional ways. Others remain independent but threatened by outside interests.
Among the many rites recorded are Pokot and Rendille coming of age ceremonies, Venda girls graduations, and courtship and wedding ceremonies of the Turkana, Barabaig, Samburu and Somali. The great coming of age ritual of the Maasai warriors, known as the Eunoto, is also photographed. And, that is just in volume one.
Volume two includes breathtaking images from the ceremonies of some of the much kingdoms of the Congo, Nigeria and Cameroon including images from the Voodoo Kingdom in Cameroon. Frenzied spirits with masks and outfits to match fill the pages and the cover reproduced below.
The trip back to our oldest societies with authors Carol and Angela will give you a spectacular look into the richness and diversity of traditional African society. It will also impress upon you the reality of humanity's vanishing past.
Many scientists believe we are firmly within the sixth great extinction on our planet. Think about it. Wildlife species are disappearing at historically rapid rate as climate change promises to accelerate this change. But so are the oldests of our societies.
Will modern societies be next?
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All text is copyright Clinton Richardson 2019. The images are from the book African Twilight - The Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies of the African Continent by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher and copyright protected. If you like these posts, please tell your friends about the Venture Moola blog at Readjanus.com.
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The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
Travel, history, and business with original photos.
Clinton Richardson - author, photographer, business advisor, traveler.
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