Improving African Futures Using Lessons from the Past

Two carved wooden baboon masks, Bongase, 2019

A man holds up for view a male and female pair of carved wooden baboon (Mbong in Ligbi) masks during a 2019 interview with Ligbi elders in Bongase. The male mask (left) has a reflective silver cloth attached. A pair of bush cow (Siginjuru-ayna in Ligbi) masks lays on the table behind. Masks such as these have been used in masquerade dances celebrating special occasions like weddings and public festivals, including the end of Ramadan, the annual month-long period of Muslim fasting. Scholars refer to this masking tradition as "Do," while locally it is termed "Bedu." These same masks were photographed in 1967 by René A. Bravmann during the course of doctoral dissertation fieldwork. For additional details, see Bravmann, René A. (1974) "Islam and Tribal Art in West Africa" (Cambridge University Press), pp. 147-177. The baboon masks pictured here were worn and photographed in 1995 when Ligbi people from Bongase brought the masquerade to the commissioning celebration for the Banda Cultural Centre. A June 2019 performance of Mbong at a Banda Heritage Event can be viewed through a link below. Bongase, 11 June, 2019.
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University of Victoria Libraries
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Location(s) Facet:
Bedu; Banda Cultural Centre; Baboon; Banda Heritage Initiative; Do
Subjects Facet:
Wood carvings; Masks; Islam; Marriage customs and rites; Regalia; Rites and ceremonies
Dr. Ann B. Stahl
Dr. Ann B. Stahl
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Date searchable:
Digital image
Genre Facet:
Digital image
Bongase;8.236556, -2.276194
People Facet:
Dr. Ann B. Stahl
Geographic Coordinates:
8.236556, -2.276194