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The guiding thread is the red bead

Kirdi girls - Cameroon. Purchased from a private collection.

The guiding thread for the three headdresses is the red bead. Red, a vital color that radiates passion, passion that leads to many fantastic encounters.

In 2017 I worked on an agricultural project in Mali. The various syllabi prepared by agricultural engineers were rewritten on sheets, with many pictures and simple wording, so that even illiterate farmers can integrate the new farming techniques into their business. I visited Koulikoro, Mopti, Ségou and Sikasso where I led didactic workshops. During the tour in the Kalpak, a poster, Sikasso, la verdoyante, depicting typical dances is shown.

The Songhai live in Eastern Mali (among others Timbuktu, Gao, Hombori). The Songhair Empire was an Islamic kingdom in West Africa that existed from the 14th century to the late 16th century. The center of the empire was the Niger. In the past they were fishermen and hippo hunters, nowadays they are arable farmers. They mainly grow millet and sorghum and in the wet season also rice.

The headdress in the photo was worn at a wedding ceremony.

In 2018 I met the Masai in Kenya. The Masai people live semi-nomadically and according to ancient traditions. The Masai wear a kind of poncho, their appearance is decorated with beautiful brightly colored African jewelry. Each color has its own meaning. At the Masai in Kenya you do not have to tell if you are married and how old you are. The special jewelry tells it. Red represents life and deters wild animals, symbolizing something sacred. Blue symbolizes the sky / peace and orange is the color of friendship.


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