The People Of The Songye Tribe Essay

916 Words Sep 23rd, 2015 4 Pages

The Songye Tribe & the Kifwebe Mask
Whitney Chester
Morgan State University

Kifwebe Mask 2 The people of the Songye tribe can be traced back to the 16th century. Their history is closely related to the Luba with who they are related to by common ancestry. People of the Songye tribe are well known for their unique masks that they wore which were referred to by the term kifwebe. This mask was unique because it stood out and was a prominent part of the Songye culture. The kifwebe mask was significant in the art and culture of the Songye people. In the Songye language a kifwebe is referred to as a mask. The term was used when referring to masks that represented spirits primarily supernatural spirits. In the Songye and Luba tribes there was a secret society called the kifwebe society. "Kifwebe masks were made for the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe association, a type of policing society that provided a means of controlling social behavior and neutralizing disruptive elements within the group” (Felix 1). The Kifwebe society used them to scare off disaster or any means of threat. According to the article "Beauty and the Beasts - Kifwebe and animal masks of the Songye, Luba and related peoples " by Marc Felix there were at least 30 different mask names to date with names ranging from animal names to diseases and sicknesses such as leprosy. There were many different versions of the kifwebe mask. They were all made out of wood and came in…

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