Ituri Forest Pygmies | Who Rules the Forest? National Geographic Magazine: Trio of Pygmy Boys waiting for Whipping | Ituri Forest, DR Congo

Trio of Pygmy Boys waiting for Whipping | Ituri Forest, DR Congo

Trio of Pygmy Boys waiting for Whipping | Ituri Forest, DR Congo

These are photos from Salate at the end of the nKumbi Pygmy manhood ritual.  The Pygmy boys have been secluded for 5 months… they are whipped every morning.

From my journal:

Paluku knocks on my mud hut door very early and we go up to the nKumbi area before the boys come out of their sleeping area in the woods.  They come in clumps shivering from the cold and what is to come on their last day.  The men don’t allow them by the fire—they are sent to sit on their little line of logs at the edge of the forest.  The boys’ shivering gets worse as the camp turns into a whip-production factory.  Men have cut about a hundred little trees and they are burning the centers in the fire where they want the whip to bend…. Above that bend point; they are twisting the limb to make them more flexible… into a more effective whip.  They make a set of large and small whips.

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