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Hamer woman in Turmi, Omo valley, Ethiopia

Hamer woman in Turmi, Omo valley, Ethiopia
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The Hamar (or Hamer) is a catlle herder tribe which lives on the Eastern side of the Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia. Honey collection is their major activity and their cattle is the meaning of their life. There are at least 27 words for the subtle variations of colours and textures of a cattle ! And each man has three names: a human, a goat and a cow name.
The Hamar have very unique rituals such as a bull-leaping ceremony, that a young men has to succeed in order to get married. The cow jumping is an initiation rite of passage for boys coming of age in Hamar tribe. Cows are lined up in a row. The initiate, naked, has to leap on the back of the first cow, then from one bull to another, until he finally reaches the end of the row. He must not fall of the row and must repeat successfully the test four times to have the right to become a husband. While the boys walk on cows, Hamar women accompany him: they jump and sing. Totally committed to their initiated sons, the mothers are whipped to blood, in order to prove their courage and accompany their sons during the test.
The Hamar are very preoccupied with their beauty. They have at times spectular haidresses.
Men use a wooden head rest which prevents the hair from touching the ground. You can see them walking with it everywhere ! It is used as head rest to protect the clay wig that some do on the top of the head, but it is also usefulas a seat ! Even if there is a chair close to them, they prefer to use the head rest !
Women know many ways to do their hair. The most famous hair style is when their hair is in short tufts rolled in ochre and fat or in long twisted strands. These coppery coloured strands are called "goscha", it's a sign of health and welfare.
They also wear bead necklaces, iron bracelets around their arms, and decorate their breast with lots of cowry shells, like a natural bra.
Around married women's necks, you can see "esente": torques made of iron wrapped in leather. These are engagement presents; they are worn for life and indicate their husband's wealth. One of the necklaces catch more especially the attention: it is called the "bignere". It's also an iron and leather ring, which has a phallic-shape end. But this jewelry can only be worn by a man's first wife.
I remember a woman I have met. On her neck, there were three necklaces. According to what I just explained about the bignere, the biggest one at the top means she was "First Wife". This is important, as her statut is the higher one in Hamer society. But as she has two more simple necklaces around her neck: that means her husband took two more wives... The Hamar women who are not first wife have a really hard life and they are more slaves than wives... During my trip, I could see some of these women, working like slaves for the men: their skin were covered with clay, butter and animal fat... So they were a little scary ! Another thing to know about these women: the more scars one has on her back, the higher is her status.
The young unmarried girls, for their part, wear a kind of oval shape plate, in metal. It is used like a sunshield, but it tends to be rare in the tribe. Some of them have fund their future husband, but have to wait in their house until the so-called prentender can provide all the money for the ceremony: he has to pay for all the cows the bride-to-be's family asks for. These girls are called "Uta" and have to wait three months, entirely covered with red clay... And no right to take baths or showers ! They cannot go out of the house, let alone the village.That's why it is very rare to see or take a photo of a Uta. A cruel tradition still has currency for some Hamar: unmarried women can have babies to test their fertility, but some of them are just abandonned in the bush. This tradition tends to disapear but NGO still save abandonned new borns. Abandonments are all the more frequent than some Hamar believe that a child born out of formal marriages has "mingi", as to say something abnormal and unclean. For them, it is the expression of the devil, which may cause disasters such as epidemics or drought in the village. So, illegitimate children are abandoned.

© Eric Lafforgue
Date: 2013-07-27 16:59:19

OMO13-8219 omo ethiopia woman cute beauty portrait head face africa ethiopie hamer hamar eyes Only women African Hamer bena woreda Day Bana Horn of africa Stick Ethnic Tribal Front view One person only Typical Pastoral 20-24 Years Bead Lifestyles Big eyes Omo river valley Color picture One woman only Horizontal Indigenous culture Traditional Cowry Omo valley Female Turmi Colour picture Photography South ethiopia Ethiopian Jewelry Cauri Outdoors Hammer Developing country Black people Beautiful woman African ethnicity Tradition True people One person One people Southern ethiopia Ethiopian ethnicity Midadult women

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AbhijeetRane 2013-07-27 17:02:06
fotartchive 2013-07-27 17:09:50
very nice portrait ! amazing eyes
cpcmollet 2013-07-27 17:14:58
Stunning beauty of the look of the eyes and the expression
Soledad Bezanilla 2013-07-27 17:17:30
amazing mate...
Alessandro Vannucci 2013-07-27 17:18:28
Melchita 2013-07-27 17:26:52
zet11 2013-07-27 17:50:29
Excellent portrait!
CarloAlessioCozzolino 2013-07-27 17:57:24
nice shot!
R.W.Drumm 2013-07-27 18:13:24
superbe photo, bravo.
combraille 2013-07-27 18:23:41

Amazing,epic photo,just beautiful and striking.
CatnessGrace 2013-07-27 18:31:17
The things that I like in this photo:

The calm serenity
The stunning range and intensity of color
The beautifully ambiguous sexuality
The natural? catch light in her eyes

Can't find anything I dont like so far, crop is good, exposure is good. Great shot!
.Eromi 2013-07-27 18:32:13
Fantastique portrait !
Patrick Denis 2013-07-27 18:37:40

From a friend of All Women are Beautiful
This wonderful image deserves an All Women are Beautiful Award
foto_morgana 2013-07-27 18:50:44
magnifique ! Quelle puissance dans ce regard !
GnondPomme 2013-07-27 18:56:17
Agi - Agnieszka Lewkowicz 2013-07-27 19:17:15
Amazing portrait!
werxj 2013-07-27 19:17:43
You are an inspiration for me to reach higher goals....
Mozambique - Moments 2013-07-27 19:26:20
What an amazing and powerful shot. Love it!
gbs photos 2013-07-27 19:50:20
musggo 2013-07-27 20:15:05
great shot
L'oeil et l'esprit 2013-07-27 21:17:43
Encore un portrait sublime!
Mario Feierstein 2013-07-27 21:59:09
Beautiful portrait
johey24 2013-07-27 22:03:57
oldbearchris 2013-07-27 22:21:20
Amazing info and photo!
[ blugiotto ] 2013-07-27 22:32:21
Quel travail !
Christian.Schwartz 2013-07-27 22:57:58
quelle fille!!
Eric Lafforgue 2013-07-27 23:00:14
Poldarkk 2013-07-27 23:31:44
Great photo and interesting documentary about the Hamer .
Colour is glorious and the girl is beautiful .

Great work .
Gavin Mills Photography 2013-07-27 23:32:38
Great shot as always. She is stunningly beautiful, and I so appreciate your interesting narratives.
PattiAnn2012 2013-07-27 23:35:04
superb !!!!
alexandros9 2013-07-28 01:06:29
Magnifique portrait !
.sl. 2013-07-28 01:13:05
perfecta, saludos.
antonio f. martinez 2013-07-28 01:16:01
Aku Biá!
jeroenvanaar 2013-07-28 01:26:19
Kelly D Wilson 2013-07-28 01:54:52
simply fantastic portrait ... colors, attitude, detail ... outstanding
James Scott S 2013-07-28 02:05:30
Stunning portrait! The colors are beautiful and her eyes are so expressive. Thank you for sharing so much interesting information about the tribe.
rt4babies 2013-07-28 02:39:26
famous yam 2013-07-28 03:27:00
so much power in this
~mimo~ 2013-07-28 03:56:01
Vu dans "Portraits du monde
JuhaOnTheRoad 2013-07-28 03:59:07
Es magnífica. enhorabuena. Un saludo
Inocencia Montes 2013-07-28 04:25:47
Again one of these enjoyable lessons, with a marvellous image.
Anna Schwensen 2013-07-28 04:39:52
Stunning capture, congratulations.
JB Artful Photo 2013-07-28 06:11:12
Absolutely stunning
A Work of Mark 2013-07-28 11:52:05

From a friend of All Women are Beautiful
This wonderful image deserves an All Women are Beautiful Award
HORACIO JOSE CAROL LUGONES 2013-07-28 12:27:26
SuperFoto............! :)
H. Eisenreich 2013-07-28 16:33:01
Très jolie avec des yeux en amandes.
Bourgeois Jean 2013-07-28 17:24:47
Brilliant portrait.
mayankpandey 2013-07-28 18:46:32
SUPER portrait.
N A Y E E M 2013-07-28 21:00:17
Peter Jennings 30 Million+ views 2013-07-28 23:06:04
Excellent portrait, as always !
Hannes Rada 2013-07-28 23:42:14
Encore un magnifique portrait !
PACHA23 2013-07-29 00:40:46
Amazing! Well done.
Mary T Moore 2013-07-29 01:00:50
Beautiful woman and portrait
b>Seen in:
Flickr Walkabout
FLOOR primus
Irene2727 2013-07-29 01:31:44
A really wonderful portrait.
The colors are awesome . . .
Jorge ARTeaga 2013-07-29 03:51:17
wow. What a deep subject, amazing colors. Thanks for sharing.
Contrary Cowboy83 2013-07-29 06:31:03
Vu dans "Portraits du monde
sharko333 2013-07-29 21:42:56
Gorgeous.. please consider joining the Maternova flickr group!!!
maternova 2013-07-29 22:40:04
magnifqque portrait!!!!!
ichauvel 2013-07-30 01:58:55
Seen in:
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solem specto 2013-07-30 04:21:19
Beautiful portrait... radiant.
janis kwasney 2013-07-30 07:33:15
johncpickens 2013-07-30 07:51:25
0000000000000 -- COMMENT CODE --- 00000000000000000000000000

Vu dans "Portraits du monde
Dana The PhotoSmith 2013-07-30 21:58:52
love those eyes, great portrait :)
elastic trucks 2013-07-31 03:54:03
I love Eric's portraits he's amazing at photography
tinkerloveone 2013-08-01 06:05:57
Wow !! great work
joe mattalil 2013-08-02 15:14:19
Thank you for this excellent portrait to my gallery!
EilaK: Visit my nice galleries too! 2013-08-04 06:55:03
Es un fantástico y bello retrato que has hecho con gran arte .. TE FELICITO

Saludos Eric
marthinotf 2013-08-14 03:00:49
Hi my name is Carol and I am the Lead Moderator of the P.E.G. Gallery and it is my pleasure to invite your work as it is incredible. P.E.G., has the highest standard on flickr for acceptance and it is my hope that you post your work to our gallery…your work has already been scrutinized and gauged as Professional. If you have my invite here, congratulations as your work has already been hand picked by me and passed by Howard who has the final say…..I look forward to seeing your work displayed and congratulations once more……….Carol (Lead Moderator)


[]Carol Etchebarren
cetch1 2013-08-22 20:27:07
peperoniverdi 2013-08-26 15:39:07
Jazz Sandoval 2013-08-26 16:00:46
Congrats my friend, marvelous photography !!!

Seen in "Best Of... Best Friends Photographers"
Olivier Simard Photographie 2013-08-26 21:32:17
Artypixall 2013-08-27 02:10:06
"Exceptionnal picture and tribute for world people."

Seen in "Best Of... People in the World"

Congrats my friend !!!
VanDeevin 2013-08-27 03:36:17
Fat Burns ☮ (gone bush) 2013-08-27 05:18:04
1crzqbn 2013-08-28 01:50:26
Fat Burns ☮ (gone bush) 2013-08-28 05:23:08
Hans Zitzler 2013-08-29 02:54:17
David Ruiz Luna 2013-08-29 23:10:07
Magnífico retrato!!!!
sigfrido2012 2013-08-29 23:36:56
Beautiful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seen in "Best Of... People in the World", sometimes on !! 2013-08-31 19:49:12
Whoo Hoooo!! Congratulations!
You have received 5+ Illuminations Awards

YOU ARE INVITED TO Illuminations Exposé
Fat Burns ☮ (gone bush) 2013-09-09 05:58:41
One of the most inspiring photos I've seen! 5 star!
JoelBitantesPalma 2013-09-20 07:05:50
janis kwasney 2013-09-20 07:39:31
Excellent portrait!
ilona912 2013-10-23 00:29:54
Opera Premiere Seal Of Quality
Definitely The most Art Work In Flickr

Admired in Opera Premiere
am_kaiser[ღ ஐ .-~*'¨ ¯¨'*·~-.¸ ღ ஐ .- 2013-10-23 15:04:41
Opera Premiere Seal Of Quality
Definitely The most Art Work In Flickr

Admired in Opera Premiere
Carhove 2013-10-23 18:10:29
Opera Premiere Seal Of Quality
Definitely The most Art Work In Flickr

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Richard Collier - Wildlife and Travel Photography 2013-10-24 04:56:06
Opera Premiere Seal Of Quality
Definitely The most Art Work In Flickr

Admired in Opera Premiere
LuigiMirto/ArchiMlFotoWord/Natura 2013-10-24 15:01:36
Great image! Excellent! This is a favourite.

Admired in Illuminations Exposé thank you for posting
Pana53 2013-10-25 01:01:35
Opera Premiere Seal Of Quality
Definitely The most Art Work In Flickr

Admired in Opera Premiere
Molly Dog Images (Not sized for printing) 2013-10-25 22:29:13
Great image! Excellent! This is a favourite.

Admired in Illuminations Exposé thank you for posting
Fat Burns ☮ (gone bush) 2013-10-26 10:44:09
Great image! Excellent! This is a favourite.

Admired in Illuminations Exposé thank you for posting
Ma Poupoule 2013-10-28 13:49:35
I'm revisiting this shot. It is just fantastic!

Great image! Excellent! This is a favourite.

Admired in Illuminations Exposé thank you for posting
Molly Dog Images (Not sized for printing) 2013-10-29 04:11:44
Great image! Excellent! This is a favourite.

Admired in Illuminations Exposé thank you for posting
stevo850 2013-11-03 08:53:33
Really beautiful !!!
A Work of Mark 2018-02-14 00:45:57
iandoo 2018-09-01 00:47:56

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