The Surma people reside in a far off part of southwestern Ethiopia, practically untouched by the contemporary world. These Surma stay near to the boundary with Sudan however the international frontier implies little too many people – particularly those who stay from the area’s sole road.
Because of their geographical remoteness, they are in a position to conserve a unique as well as rich culture, residing in a nomadic existence within an almost terrestrial heaven. these proud people possess an excellent perception for beauty as well as expression, their creativity exhibits itself inside the complex designs that they – mainly the men – adorn their bodies to draw in the two sexes, for ceremonies and particularly for the stick-fighting donga, the foundation for complicated as well as competitive social structure in which the aim is to set up a champion or a encouragement of the combined violence before attacking their an enemy tribe. Married woman put on amazing large lip plates in which the size is associated with wealth.
The Surma possess a macho culture, and have an obsession for stick-fighting known as donga offering great prestige to the men – it is particularly crucial when looking for a “bride” – and they’re extremely competitive, in the risk of severe injury and infrequent death. Their males are frequently shaved bald and quite often put on little if any clothes, also throughout stick fights.
At a early age, to adorn themselves for their marriage, the majority of women have the bottom teeth taken out and their lower lips pierced, and later stretched, in order to allow enable the placement of a clay lip plate. A number of women have stretched out their lips to be able to insert clay plates of up to 5 inches in diameter. The children are at times painted using white paint that may be scattered on the body or on the face.
Village life is largely communal, sharing the produce of the cattle (milk and blood, as do the Maasai). Though their chief (styled komaro) wears the fur crown of a pagan priest-king, he is merely the most respected elder and can be removed. Few are familiar with Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, and their literacy level is very low, the Surma are very peaceful, serene people who are in love with their own lifestyle. They believe that god has given them everything, and the cattle they own are probably the best in the world.
Each year following the harvest, the Surma men plus women do enjoy a peaceful courtship period, having days near the river; paint their bodies using gorgeous patterns to make themselves attractive to others.