Makunduchi Mwako Kogwa festival

11 images Created 9 Apr 2013

The Mwako Kogma festival takes place in the village of Makunduchi on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania each July. It marks the start of the of the Muslim New Year (according to the Shirazi calendar) and last four days.
The first day is the most spectacular with a ritual fight started when two brothers from the south of the village challenge two brothers from the north. Soon the whole male population of the village are fighting and running around the open field at the centre of the village, called the Kae Kuu, hitting each other with banana leaf stems. In the past sticks and clubs used to be the weapons of choice but too many injuries and deaths occurred. The fight is meant to ride the coming year of anger and animosity.
While the men fight the women, dressed in their finest clothes, dance around the them singing insulting songs.
Towards the end of the fight a small banana thatch hut is built at the eastern end of the Kae Kuu. A local man who is believed to have some magical powers goes inside and the the hut is set alight, At the flames engulf the structure he jumps out safely thus symbolising that no one will die in a house fire in the new year.
After the fight the ground is cleared and people enjoy music food and dancing until late.
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