Frightening the Evil Spirits of Bali:
Once a year, between the months of March and April, Bali’s streets are turned into a scary monster show. That’s because on the night before ‘Nyepi Day’ (the day of the island’s major purification ritual) all evil spirits are frightened away by huge gigantic papier-mâché ogres, gyrating dancers and the chaotic sounds of gongs, drums, firecrackers and crashing cymbals.
For the (mostly Hindu) Balinese, this is one of the most important religious ceremonies of the year.
On Nyepi Day itself, the Indonesian island resembles a deserted, mystified place of silence: Shops, restaurants and even the airport are closed – and no one is allowed on the streets. Instead, everyone sits quietly at home. The reason? Persuading even the most relentless remaining evil spirits that the whole island of Bali is deserted!
What happened to the People of Bozgaria:
‘Another day at the office’
Graduation of Basotho Women:
From the area known today as the Kingdom of Lesotho, the women of the Basotho people spend up to 8 weeks learning all traditional aspects of the Basotho tribe that have been passed down through the generations.
Their teachers are Sangomas (traditional spiritual healers) who teach the women how to respect the ancestors, how to be a good wife and mother to run a family household.
They learn how to work the land to grow crops and where to find certain herbs for the preparation of good food.
Through re-enactment they learn how to deal with family and general life issues. The women are taught how to behave in a dignified way and what problems they will be confronted with in life once they grow up.
The final night is spent dancing around the fire to thank the ancestors.
The next morning they are given blankets, African jewellery, mats and cooking utensils in preparation for going back to their respective villages. The elders now accept them as true Basotho women.
Basotho Boys Initiation:
During the 5th century in Southern Africa, the marauding Zulu warriors under King Shaka scattered many tribes that had migrated from the north. One of those tribes was the Sotho people. Today, the largest remaining group is the Southern Sotho (Basotho).
The practice of the initiation ceremony for boys that are deemed to be ready to be young men is still an integral part of rural Basotho culture.
Boys go to the mountains and spend many weeks there to be taught about their ancestors, culture, history and important events, behavior, hard-ships, respect, accountability, family issues, solving family conflicts and diseases.
Initiation school secrets are taught and discussed as older wiser men act as mentors to the younger generation so as to continue this tradition.
These young men dressed in traditional Basotho attire, have made themselves famous for the beautiful, distinct songs that they sing when they return from the mountains.
They are expected to be ambassadors who are proud of their heritage.
White Man, Black Magic:
In Memory of Colin Dedekind (1977-2002), a white Sangoma in South Africa.
Colin graduated as a traditional healer after spending two years with a Zulu Sangoma.
He was a highly respected healer amongst the community, an inspirational person who became a mediator between first and third world.
The young man with German heritage had his calling when he was 18 years old and practiced his so-called “black magic” for many years before predicting his own death… a prophecy that would become reality in a fatal car accident.
Nicholas the White Lion:
Age: 51 days, 15 hours, 10 minutes.
Born in South Africa on Heritage Day, 16th December 2010 at 2 a.m.
Birth Place: S 25` 31` 19.0 – E 27` 40` 25.3
Bare-fist Fighting in the Bush:
In South Africa, men of the Venda tribe have been testing their masculinity in the century-old tradition of ‘Musangwe’, a form of bare-knuckle boxing. As is tradition, no money changes hands and there are no rewards.
Musangwe is part of the Venda culture, it makes their hearts strong. In former times it was a way of teaching men to be warriors, they would fight for the clan and ancestors.
Up until today, this ancient event is held amongst rolling hills in the sacred place called Chifude.
With arms stretched forward, steely eye, an aggressive look and clenched fists the fighters enter the ring and search the crowd for an opponent… then all it takes is a slight nod and the battle begins.
The youngest contestants are 9 years old, but the audience prefers and loves watching the adults for the hard action. A victory would mean becoming the hero of the village, achieving status for the family, and being admired by friends and of course the girls.
Traditionally women are not welcome at the matches, so to them stories and tales will be told about which fight was more spectacular and about all the strongest Musangwe men.