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Incredible pics reveal tribe where women offer themselves to be whipped as part of boy’s coming-of-age ceremony

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.

 A Hamar woman bearing the scars of the whipping ceremony across her arms and shoulders
A Hamar woman bearing the scars of the whipping ceremony across her arms and shoulders

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.”

 The Hamar tribe live in the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia
The Hamar tribe live in the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia
 A Mursi woman holding a child and an AK-47
A Mursi woman holding a child and an AK-47
 Hamar women are said to take part in the whipping ceremony so that they have a say in who they marry
Hamar women are said to take part in the whipping ceremony so that they have a say in who they marry
 There are around 46,500 members of the Hamar people
There are around 46,500 members of the Hamar people
 The amazing Mursi lip-plate shows a woman's status in the community
The amazing Mursi lip-plate shows a woman’s status in the community
 Hamar men relaxing outside a shop
Hamar men relaxing outside a shop

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.”

 A member of the Mursi tribe, who do not like being photographed according to Pongtharin
A member of the Mursi tribe, who do not like being photographed according to Pongtharin
 A Mursi woman showing off her distinctive markings across her arms and chest
A Mursi woman showing off her distinctive markings across her arms and chest
 The home of the Mursi people is one of the most isolated regions of Ethiopia
The home of the Mursi people is one of the most isolated regions of Ethiopia
 Two Hamar people with a small goat in the middle of their community
Two Hamar people with a small goat in the middle of their community
 In 2007 there were an estimated 7,500 Mursi people
In 2007 there were an estimated 7,500 Mursi people
 A scarred Hamar mother and child
A scarred Hamar mother and child
 Hamar women with their distinctive dreadlock-style hair
Hamar women with their distinctive dreadlock-style hair

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.”

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