Muscular and matriarchal Bijago fisherman from Bijagos Island in Guinea Bissau holding his initiation ceremony sticks and wearing ritual dress

Muscular and matriarchal Bijago fisherman from Bijagos Island in Guinea Bissau holding his initiation ceremony sticks and wearing ritual dress

Muscular and matriarchal Bijago fisherman from Bijagos Island in Guinea Bissau holding his initiation ceremony sticks and wearing ritual dress with bells and spiritual herbs tied to his arm and on his head during initiation ceremony for women. This Bijago man has an onerous duty to protect the female initiates during the ceremony. Bijago are the most mysterious or traditionalist community in Guinea Bissau, however their isolation allowed them to maintain cultural traditions strong and practically intact.Little is known about origins of Bijago, but the linguistic traits connect them clearly to present day inhabitants of then nearby continental coast. It is probable that they come from the region Buba on the continental part of the country.
"According to many inhabitants on the islands of Bubaque, nobody knows for sure when and from where all the Bijagós derive. It is a common belief among them, however, that it was Orebok, an intermediary between the Supreme Being, and the Bijagós, who began the world.
The first human being was a woman, called Akapakama also known as Maria. This name originated from the first word her son told her, while lying hopeless and naked on the seashore, ‘come, take me’.
Akapakama had four children, called Orákuma, Oraga, Onoca or Ogubane, and Ominka. They are the four mythological ancestors of the four matrilineal clans of the Bijagós. Most Bijagós can usually agree on these traditions. When asked, however, to specify more particulars, a variety of opinions, according to the provenance of the informants may be heard. (Scantamburlo 1978)"

Each of the daughters had several children who, in turn, received a special duty of her grandfather:
Orakuma, got the land and made the first statue of Iran in the image of God.
She was responsible for ceremonies held in the land. She also gave his sisters the right to do the ceremonies in balobas (shrines).
Ominka received the sea and their descendants have sought for fisheries.

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