A Maternal Rite of Passage in Democratic Republic of Congo

In the lush forests that make up the Western reaches of the Democratic Republic of Congo, new first-time mothers from the Ekonda tribe follow a strict ritual meant to protect their newborns, elevate their spirits, and bring prestige to their families. For several years after giving birth, the young women live in semi-seclusion, separated from their husbands and cared for by other female tribe members. Covered daily in red powder made of Ngola wood, which is believed to ward off evil and...

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