by Rachel Ogbu
If you decide to marry into some Ethiopian ethnic groups, and you are a woman then you should get ready to consider some unique body modification.
A huge circle through the lady’s lower lip with no lower front teeth is still a sense of pride and identification in some tribes in Africa. Most times to be able to wear a lip ring, a couple of ones lower front teeth are yanked out.
In the modern world, it seems that the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia are battling a common dilemma. Their lip plates, and the cultural identity and political independence they signify, are a source of great pride for these people, but at the same time they acknowledge that this ancient practice, long since abandoned by other tribes, could point to their backwardness.
Today, many young girls have started to choose not to stretch their lips, despite being referred to distastefully as ‘Kwegu’ – the name of a poor neighbouring tribe – for doing so. Such young women may face difficulty in finding a Mursi husband, yet they seem determined to leave the practice behind for a changing world.