THE BUKUT, Casamance, August 2016. The Casamance is the southern and more animistic area of Senegal. People have a strong faith in God an...
THE BUKUT, Casamance, August 2016.
Summer time in a small village of Casamance, the southern and more animist area of Senegal, where predominate the Jola ethnic group. This is time of Bukut, a celebration for the men's secret initiation, before all the men of the same village enter into the holy forest to endure one month of physical tasks and survival techniques without absolutely any contact with civilization, women and uninitiated men.
The Casamance is the southern and more animist area of Senegal, here predominate the Jola ethnic group (Diola, in French transliteration), migrated from southern Egypt into the Senegambia region around 13th - 14th century.
Jola people have a strong faith in God and the spirits of nature, they usually pray and respect the hard rules imposed. They practice with amulets, dances and magic baths to protect themselves from animals, bad luck and any kind of danger. They use to spend summer time at the family village, even if they are used to live abroad, to attend the typical celebration of the Bukut, the men's secret initiation.
All the men of the same tribe have to go into the forest to endure one month of rituals, physical tasks and survival techniques without absolutely any contact with civilization. All the women and not initiated men will be waiting and praying for them patiently in the countryside family house. Just the little girls has the special permission to get closer to the boys in the forest to bring them some food and communicate with them.
Before to enter in the forest the whole village, neighbors and families that arrive even from abroad, celebrate together.
The event, which only happens once every 30-40 years in each small village, is designed to turn boys, children and men into real men, they will return initiated at their own home, blessed and purified.
What happens in the holy forest it's sworn to secrecy and nobody, except initiated men, can't know about it.
Four guys died and where buried secretly in the forest this year.