An Interview about FGC  


Photo 45: Beldam





Photo 46: a haraté





Photo 47: Lago II




Photo 48: akka, a grandma





Photo 49: Lago on the field




Photo 50: my bamira





Photo 52: Sirba




Photo 51: ummo - children




Photo 54: scare birds




Photo 53: sweet snack




A.P.: How many cattle does the fiancé have to pay?

ingo: He gives 10 goats and sheep to the bride’s father. And in addition, 4 cattle. 4 more cattle are distributed among the utanté family. During the sud ceremony, all 8 cattle are slaughtered. The father gets 4 bags of coffee. The eldest of the clan gets 8 calabashes of honey, from which daadi (a kind of mead) is later brewed. The fiancé also has to buy his bride golden (brazen) bracelets for her upper arms.

A.P.: When is kandyi (the cutting)?

ingo: In the afternoon, because night-time is for slaughtering. Look, there, my girlfriend Go’o has cut the utanté Galle.

A.P.: Why Go’o? Is she a Cutter? Was her mother a Cutter?

ingo: Go’o is a Cutter. Her mother has not cut. We Arbore women learn the cutting by watching, and those who aren’t afraid can become a Cutter. If they want to, they just say so. The village of Gandarab has 4 Cutters.

A.P.: Tell about the custom of utanté! What happens?

ingo: Kandyi is here in the hut of the bride, at the bara. It is full, full of people. Full of women. The mother goes away, far far away. She hurries, she is afraid. The neighbours hold the bride. The bride drinks daadi, the holders drink. Then the Cutter also drinks. The bride is drunk on daadi. But harrake (high proof alcohol) is bad. Her head is covered with a shawl, her mouth too so that nobody can hear her crying. The hut is full of girls and women. They laugh aloud and drink daadi.

A.P.: Is the bride sitting on the ground?

ingo: No, she sits on this small chair, with legs to the front.

A.P.: Like this? (I take a seat on the stool and straddle with outstretched legs.)

ingo: Just like that. Yes, exactly like that. (Laughter) (To a neighbour: Look, ege Till knows how she has to sit). The arms are held at the back. (Ingo and the neighbour demonstrate this on me. Meantime children and other neighbours gather in the hut. It is as if we are performing on stage.)

A.P.: What do you do with the cut flesh, with hooli (clitoris, the naked)?

ingo: Beside the fireplace at the bara is a hole. This is the grave of hooli. The bride sits with sprawled legs in front of the hole and hooli and the blood fall into the grave.

A.P.: Are the girls afraid?

ingo: Yes, they run away. But they come back. After all, everyone wants to get married. Alone outdoors, they would die or become fuuga (a bitch).

A.P.: What happens after the cutting?

ingo: The cut is tested. After this all uta go into the hut of the eldest of the clan. The new bride is carried into the hut of her parents in law. She will not leave the hut for 1 month. Her legs will be bound together, in order that the wound will heal well. Her excrements are buried in the hut. After that is the slaughtering and dancing. All uta are drunk. They slaughter the cattle of the young husband [...]

(Gandarab, diary of field research 11th April 1999. excerpt of Chiffrierte Körper - Disziplinierte Körper)