Photographer's Note


The Surma live in the lower Omo River valley, north of Lake Turkana. They deny any relationship wit the Mursi and Meen, dispite the fact that they ahev similar custom and speak the same tongue. They are supposes to be Nilotic descendant. They could also come from the Bale who live in the Akobo river region, between Sudan an Ethiopia. Indifferent to religion, lacking an organized power system, self sufficient they live isolated in the wild mountains covered with forest and savanna. However, the Surma’s system of values has remained intact: cows continue to be considered symbols of wealth and social status. They also find and sale some gold to buy firearms and ammunition from Sudan and Kenya or Somalia. The Surma are formally under the authority of the state, but as there is not much road to access the region, they enjoy political autonomy. The Surma has never really been conquered.

The Surma are organized in clans based on the age-group principle. The older are highly respected but the do not have a chief as such.

The Surma hold physical beauty and grooming in high esteem and body painting is of the utmost aesthetic importance.

FYI: most of my infos come from the book Vanishing Africa of Gianni Giansanti who intensively photography the Surma and vanishing tribes of Africa.

trevormoffiet, mirosu, Pentti, patdeph, dawekato, kwekwekan ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

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Additional Photos by Michel Detay (mdetay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 487 W: 1 N: 1045] (4929)
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