Segments in this Video

Introduction: Two Ethiopian Tribes (01:29)


The viewer sees scenes of the Hamar and Karo tribes in Ethiopia. The host tells a folklore story of how the elders removed the curse of Mingi and saved the village.

Mingi and Human Sacrifice (01:28)

The Omo River Valley in Ethiopia is home to the warrior tribes, Hamar and Karo, who share a belief in Mingi and strive for perfection.

Pride in Appearances (02:53)

Hamar boys fight to resolve a problem, then forget their differences. We see daily activities in the Hamar village. Men and women take pride in their appearance. They paint themselves with an ocher and butter paste.

The Metalsmith and the Power of the Eye (03:33)

The girls and women wear heavy metal bracelets and chokers, but the metalsmith, Bora, lives outside of Hamar society. He has the fatal power of the eye. Bora's assistant explains this power.

Hamar Wealth (02:23)

The Hamar beekeeper steals honey from a wild beehive to be made into a potent wine for ceremonies. Boys herd goats. Cattle are a family's wealth and payment for a bride.

The Bullah and Marriage (03:07)

In the Bullah rite of passage, the youth jumps over bulls. The bride learns wifely skills from her mother-in-law during a month of chastity. Although the tribe is sexually open, pregnancy outside of marriage brings Mingi to the village.

Mingi Sacrifice (02:51)

Mingi brings disasters to a tribe so the Hamar elders must throw an illegitimate child or twin in the river. Even the coming in of top teeth first is Mingi. The Karo are even more strict.

The Karo Tribe (04:12)

The under populated Karo tribe live in one village and loses ten people a year to Omo River crocodiles. A Karo medicine man chases away the crocodiles the old way. The Karo now use rifles to hunt.

A Karo Warrior (02:33)

Ari, a Karo warrior, brings the marriage cattle to the Hamar groom after walking two days. Cow blood sustains him on his journey. Ari explains that rifles are supplanting traditional ways and talks about warrior scarification.

Karo Diplomacy (04:02)

At a village meeting, Karo warriors and elders decide to make peace with an enemy tribe across the river. They hope intertribal marriage will cement the peace.

The Season of the Bullah (02:50)

When seasonal change causes the the Omo River to overflow its banks, the Bullah can begin, allowing a young Hamar to become a man and marry. A young girl prepares for the Bullah beating.

The Bullah Ceremony (08:54)

Female relatives of the Bullah youth march and dance, blowing horns and drinking honey wine. The women incite the stickmen to beat them--leaving scars for life. The youth jumps the cows six times and becomes a man.

All Members of the Tribe Must Be Strong (05:29)

Young Karo men and women play a tag game. Karo and Hamar women are strong and proud. In a ceremony, a baby is covered with ocher powder and butter and presented to the tribe. Tradition is the top priority.

A Mother Talks of Mingi (02:17)

Although women refuse to talk about Mingi, a mother tells how the old men threw away her only daughter because of Mingi. She believes the consequences of Mingi and accepts the tradition though it pains her.

Scarification of a Karo Warrior (02:57)

Karo and Hamar have the same traditions. Ari, a Karo warrior receives his scars in a ceremony. Women grind rock to a white paint for body decoration while Ari's skin is cut.

Smiling Portraits (00:55)

We see the strong and smiling faces of the Hamar and Karo people.

Credits: The Hamar and Karo Tribes: The Search for Mingi (01:56)

Credits: The Hamar and Karo Tribes: The Search for Mingi

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The Hamar and Karo Tribes: The Search for Mingi

Part of the Series : The Last Warriors: Seven African Tribes on the Verge of Extinction
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Ethiopia’s closely allied Hamar and Karo share many practices that help to sustain their traditional lifestyles. This program enters the world of these warrior peoples through their attentiveness toward mingi, or imperfection, and the bullah, a coming-of-age ceremony in which a young man hurdles a group of tethered bulls after a female relative, in a demonstration of respect for him, has invited other male family members to whip her. The role of the village metalworker, whose craft is prized and yet who is required to live apart from Hamar society, is also examined. (54 minutes)

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL11795

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9351-3

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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