TRIBAL (FACIAL AND BODILY) MARKS IN AFRICAN CULTURE
RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL PROTECTION PURPOSES
Though, markings are done on the face mostly for the purpose of ethnic identification, not all marks on the face are for the purpose of identifying an individual as belonging to a particular ethnic group. There are other reasons for facial markings; some are associated with spiritual or religious practices. In some Yoruba settings, children born as still = birth or a "reincarnated child" which is called abiku, a child believed to have been born twice or thrice are given marks on their face and body for several reasons.
It is believed that to take away the spiritual powers of the child, he has to be identified by the marks when he/she is given birth to again and to stop the death of the child at a tender age. It can also be used to wade away evil spirits ravaging around a certain group of people or family. In this case, the marks are not only on the face but other parts of the body as well.
In Ghana among most tribes reincarnated child mark known in Yoruba abiku are referred to as "Kosanma" and the marks on the face are known as "Kosanma" or "Donko" marks.
BY: Kweku Darko Ankrah