Photographer's Note

Action in Combat - Donga stick fighting - South Omo Ethiopia

Surmas have more than ever to display their courage, their virility and their strength, and Donga (stick fighting) is a unique occasion to perpetuate their legend.

They have some protections around the head, knees, hands and the elbows. The stick is about 2 meters long and has a carved phallus at the end.

In most cases, stick fighting is a way for warriors to find girlfriends, it can also be a way to settle conflicts. On this occasion men show their resistance to pain, to the young women. The fights are held between Surma villages, gathering hundreds of warriors. Since stick fighting draws a large audience, it becomes a threat of danger.

Today it is said that 'there is another fight between indigenous people from the area and the Government so they can take their land and give it to foreign investors'.

If you want to know more you van have a look at survival international

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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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