Inside the Ethiopian tribe who batter each other in brutal stick battle – with last man standing winning a WIFE
INCREDIBLE pictures show an Ethiopian tribe whose men batter each other in a brutal stick battle with the last man standing taking home a bride.
The violent and bloody display practiced amongst the Suri people is a rite of passage for the tribe’s young males.
The traditional stick fighting, the Donga, was a practice that was outlawed by the Ethiopian government in 1994 but many tribes still continue to take part in the ceremonies.
The winner is held in great prestige, with the battles becoming very competitive, sometimes even leading to severe injury or death.
Images show men wearing homemade helmets, whilst thrusting sticks at each other's bodies.
The fights are designed to train young men for violence, as the region has had a turbulent time in recent years.
Neighbouring tribes such as the Nyangatom, challenge and engage in battle with the Suri people.
The fights are moderated via a referee however,t eh sport remains dangerous with tribesman having guns seized in recent years due to spectators shooting at opponents.
Even though the practice was outlawed in the early 1990’s, they continue to take palace.
Photographer Xavier Gil Tabios, 62, from Barcelona, travelled to the Omo Valley to watch the traditional display and document the fights.
Tourists are not welcome to spectate and tribes have said previously that they find it offensive to be photographed without permission.
Tabios spent a week with the Suri people, observing the traditions taking place, he said: “They fight to demonstrate masculinity, for personal revenge, and to win a wife.
“The participants fight two by two until one winner emerges from the tournament.
“It can be an inhospitable place. You have to negotiate economically to access a celebration like this and you're always making sure that the violence doesn't get out of control.
“In the end, we had to abruptly leave as another clan arrived with guns looking for trouble.
“It's a complicated area but I'd still urge people to try this unique unrepeatable experience.”
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