Bijago fire-eating dancer from Bijago Archipelago in Guinea Bissau.

Bijago fire-eating dancer from Bijago Archipelago in Guinea Bissau. Bijagos have a staunch belief in reincarnation. Death is for a Bijago` nothing more than a short sleep. They also believe that if they die far away from their land they will return to it after death. But such returns depend on the degree of kinship with the family in which the return occurs, because the soul of the dead may rise again shortly or long after the death of a child by the same family, another tabanca (village) or a another island.
How is the identification of a reincarnated child done in Bijago tradition? Here the fetish priests (orase-male/Okinka-female) consults the oracle/deity and the children themselves, before they can speak fluently, begins to narrate his origins, his mother’s name, specifying among the women of the father, if he is a polygamist, and the name of the village to which he belongs.

BY: Kweku Darko Ankrah

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