Ngorongoro, Grandpa


Mamoya, our Mang'anti guide, has allowed me to photograph his grandfather's burial mound, called a bung'et. The bottom part of the mound was built up with wood, which was ultimately smeared with cow's dung. Each month, a higher layer of wood was added until the mound would be completely enclosed at the end of six months. The grandfather had recently died, probably three or four months before this picture was taken. The grandfather's body had been wrapped in the skin of a freshly killed black "male cow," and his head smeared with cow fat. A mound was then prepared in a circle of Trees (stakes?), and the grandfather's body was put inside it in a sitting position, and covered with earth. For thirty days, no work was done by the family, as the extended family came to mourn. After a month, beer was made from honey, and a celebration held. Then the family must move from its houses out of respect to the grandfather. This elaborate ritual is not carried out for every death, for in addition to the killing of the black bull for the burial robe, sufficient cows must be killed and honey procured to provide the visitors with meat and beer for a month.

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