Photographer's Note

Mursi women

The Mursi tribe are a Nilotic pastoralist ethnic group that inhabits southwestern Ethiopia. They principally reside in the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, close to the border with South Sudan and in the lower Omo valley of southwestern Ethiopia, 100 km north of the Kenyan border. According to the 2007 national census, there are 7,500 Mursi,

In a very secluded area in southern Ethiopia, only a few Mursi villages are left: the women still wear large lip-dishes and the men are fierce (and feared) warriors.

The Mursi are survivors whose isolated geographic location, combined with the crises of drought, famine, war, migration, and epidemic diseases has shaped their identity. Cattle raids and civil instability between bordering ethnic groups is merely a means of survival. Every aspect of daily life revolves around cattle and crops, which set the economic standard among the Mursi. When they trade in the market, crops and cattle are exchanged as money. When a young Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is pierced so she can wear a lip plate.

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Additional Photos by Michel Detay (mdetay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 487 W: 1 N: 1045] (4929)
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