The Hamar people take part in the amazing ‘bull-jumping’ rite of passage every year in their Omo Valley homeland in southern Ethiopia
STUNNING pictures reveal the tribe where female relatives offer themselves to be whipped by men as part of a boy’s journey to manhood.
The incredible images show female members of the Hamar tribe with their distinctive features including dreadlocks and huge lip-plates.
Other striking shots show a mother from the Mursi tribe posing with her child in one arm and an AK-47 in the other.
The remarkable photographs were taken by project leader and amateur photographer 29-year-old Pongtharin Tanthasindhu in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, where both tribes live.
Pongtharin said: “What you can you see in these photos are two tribes that live along the southern part of Ethiopia.
“I am trying to showcase their cultures and lifestyles that have changed very little over the past centuries.”
He added that the Hamar are famed for their “bull jumping ceremony” which is “a key passage in a boy’s journey to manhood”.
First, female relatives dance and invite whipping from men who have recently been initiated.
This shows their support of the initiate and their scars will later give them a say in who they marry.
Pongtharin said: “Mursi are famous for their women wearing lip-plates to measure their prestige – the larger the size of the lips the larger the value of the bride, who is usually paid for with cattle.
“Guns are used as part of the tradition and possibly to protect themselves from tribal conflicts.”
The Thailand-born photographer also related a disturbing practice sacred in the Hamar’s religion.
A person – often a child – who is considered “mingi” or “spiritually impure” is killed by forced permanent separation from the tribe by being left alone in the jungle or by drowning in the river.
Pongtharin explained that he did run into some issues while trying to photograph the tribes, who are naturally sceptical of cameras.
He said: “Most of these people do not like their photograph being taken, so I have to either strike a conversation with them first or try my best to take pictures from far distances without them noticing.
“In addition, Mursi tribes can only be visited in the morning as they prefer to stay at home and drink alcohol in the evening, which can get really violent. This can make it somewhat difficult to control the light.
“Most people are shocked to find people who have not changed the way they live for the past few centuries.”