1998.204.14.19

Photographer: Missioni della Consolata, Turin
Date of Photo: 1920 circa
Continent: Africa
Geographical Area: East Africa
Country: Kenya
Region/Place: Nyanza
Cultural Group: Luo
Format: Postcard black and white
Size: 140 x 90 mm

Description

A postcard portrait of a practitioner of Luo medicine, with numerous adornments. It is very difficult to differentiate between types of Luo traditional medicine practitioners, such as magicians (jabilo) or diviners (ajuoga) since these functions were often fulfilled by the same man or woman. This postcard notes this man to be a 'witch doctor' which could mean a jandagla or jabilo. But from his overall adornment, this man could also be one who is spirit-possessed (jalang’o or jajuogi). He would appear to be a very powerful witch-doctor, owning several expensive items such as a cowrie shell belt, an ostrich eggshell (tong udo) and necklace (rek), hippo tusks, antelope horns and several Colobus monkey tails (kondo bim) both on the head and on the thigh. A number of long gourds hang out from his clothes, possibly containing charms. [Gilbert Oteyo 21/04/2005]