Ethiopia: To the south of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, lies the tribal animist area and It stretches from Addis all the way to Lake Turkana, formerly known during colonial times as Lake Rudolph, which borders Kenya. Hamar tribe ceremony in which young women are whipped in order to show sacrifices they make for men is revealed in a series of photographs.
The Hamar tribe believes that the elaborate scars inflicted on women during the whipping ceremony, demonstrates a woman’s capacity for love. They believe that the scar allows them to call on those who whipped them for help when they become widow or in period of hardship and it is therefore impossible for the man to refuse her needs in hard times or emergencies.
As part of a Rite of Passage ceremony for boys; Women are whipped, when female family members declare their love for the young man at the heart of the celebration. After the ceremony the boy becomes a man, and is allowed to marry.
The brutal tradition is known as Ukuli Bula, and was captured by photographer Jeremy Hunter, which is held in the Omo River Valley, the women beg men to whip them again and again in other to demonstrate their capacity to love. According to the report, the women who are whipped are family members or relatives of the boy undertaking the rite.
For men, male decoration is simpler with the exception of their facial painting which denote status and progression up the social ladder, Hamar boys must undergo two rituals, circumcision and a leap over bulls to reach manhood which determines whether the boy is ready to transform from youth to manhood. The women trumpet and sing to declare their love for the boys and for their desire to be whipped. They coat their bodies with butter to lessen the effect of the whipping which is carried out by the Maza (men who have already gone through the rite of passage). Girls and women who are whipped proudly show off their scars as proof of their courage and integrity.
At every ceremony around two hundred members of the Hamar (also spelt Hamer) participate in this life-changing event.
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.
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Photo credit: Jeremy Hunter