By Charlotte Grieg, Robert Lee Humphrey

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When a girl has been circumcised, she wears brass hoops and coils threaded through holes in her ears. Once she is married, she wears a lip plug. The Pokot are also renowned for wearing the hair of their ancestors threaded into their own hair. Pokot men’s hairstyles are a sign of their status. When they pass into adulthood, the wear a blue skullcap called a siliop decorated with feathers. More feathers are added as the man becomes a more important figure in the tribe. Jewelry from Pots and Pans In East Africa, tribal jewelry is made from all sorts of common metal objects.

Above this, several tight copper bands are worn around the neck; copper bands also adorn her arms and legs. In addition to wearing the rholwani, married women also cover their shoulders and their heads; to do this, they wear imported striped blankets and headbands of beads in many different styles. For males, there are few rules about clothing until the age of circumcision, when they have to wear an apron beaded in geometric designs. For ceremonies, the men carry round cowhide shields with thin sticks attached to the inside to make a handle; the sticks also make a rattling noise in battle.

56 Africa p50-59 CH05 19/09/02 16:12 Page 57 SOUTH AFRICA Among the Zulus, military traditions were once strong. The young men were initiated into age sets, groups of warriors who lived and worked together away from their families. Each age set became a unit of the Zulu army, controlled by the king. The men from an age set, or regiment, could only marry when the king gave them permission. The king was also responsible for the nation’s spiritual well-being, performing rain-making and other ceremonies in accordance with the Zulus’ religious beliefs.

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