Monday, September 25, 2023

The lip plates of the mursi people of Ethiopia.

Being able to maintain originality and not being swayed by technology and western civilization is nice. There are many unusual African cultural practices and the Surma people, consisting of three ethnic groups; the Mursi, the Suri, and the mekan people. The Suri and the Mursi people share a similar culture, and the lip plate of the Mursi people of Ethiopia happens to the one.


As they prefer to call themselves, the mun is the most popular in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia, a Nilotic pastoralist ethnic group that lives in southwestern Ethiopia. The majority of them live in Southern nations, nationalities, and people’s regions.

The lip plate, which can also be called a lip disc or a Lip plug, is a form of body modification in which large discs. Usually made of clay or wood, inserted into a pierced hole In either the upper or the lower lips, some of them penetrate and put the plates in both mouths.

Women may have their lips cut and stretched at 15 or 16 years of age, and larger plates will be inserted as time goes by, the cut is initially held by a wooden plate till the wound of the cut goes, which takes about three months before it does. They can persevere and carry plates that are as long as 12 centimeters. Her worthiness before and after her marriage is somehow attributed to the plate she is carrying, therefore, the larger the plate, the more she is worth. If a woman has a small plate, her dowry will be 40cattles, and if she had a big plate, it would be 60cattles, so the how big the plates, determine how rich the father will be after she is being married. The lip plate depicts self-esteem, and the size represents the size of a woman’s self-esteem.

Initially, people believed that they wore the plates to save themselves from the slave trade; it made them look ugly and turned the slave trader’s eyes away. Still, studies and researchers found out that the claim reeks of falsity were, therefore, rejected. It was found out that they wore plates as a symbol to express their social status.

The whites claimed that it was for slave raiders, the journalists that came and noticed that they were being pierced, and out of assumption, they made a claim without checking deep for the meaning and the main reason behind the practice. It has been proved that just Africans did not uniquely practice lip plates, it was also practiced in some tribe in Brazil and Ecuador. Just that, in Brazil, only men got pierced.

This tradition has been considered as untouched and then attracts so many tourists. The Mursi people, however, in a bit in grow their economy, and with the many demands of photographs. Each woman expects to be paid 2 Ethiopian birrs for each picture that is being taken of her. They use the money to buy salt, then goat skins for making skirts.

African cultures are beautiful and unique.

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