Africa: Ceremonies

ambience: Yorere tribal sounds


We’re listening to one of the traditional songs of the Wodaabe tribe, in the African nation of Niger. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. The Wodaabe rituals are among many remarkable ceremonies witnessed by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher. They spent years photographing sacred rites throughout Africa, and in this varied tapestry of ritual there are valuable common threads. Photographer Carol Beckwith.

“These ceremonies move individuals from one stage of life to another, giving them a sense of what’s expected of them, and their responsibilities. They have the benefit of transmitting the knowledge and wisdom of the elders from one generation to another.”

In the spirit of sharing that wisdom, Beckwith and Fisher have compiled some of their most striking photographs in a book called “African Ceremonies”.

“If you follow us through the ceremonies, through our images, you arrive with a sense that we’re all sharing the same emotions, and the same desire to find meaning in our lives. And the same feeling that we have a great commonality between us, no matter how different we are in terms of religious beliefs, body adornment, whether we wear clothes, whether we don’t wear clothes, who our gods are. We come to find we have an extraordinary common ground.”

Our special thanks to David Bradnum for the recordings. Please visit our website at nationalgeographic.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by Dupont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Africa: Ceremonies

Two women who have lived among African tribes for 30 years are sharing their images of rarely-seen rituals, in a new book called African Ceremonies.
Air Date:08/22/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: Yorere tribal sounds


We're listening to one of the traditional songs of the Wodaabe tribe, in the African nation of Niger. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. The Wodaabe rituals are among many remarkable ceremonies witnessed by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher. They spent years photographing sacred rites throughout Africa, and in this varied tapestry of ritual there are valuable common threads. Photographer Carol Beckwith.

"These ceremonies move individuals from one stage of life to another, giving them a sense of what's expected of them, and their responsibilities. They have the benefit of transmitting the knowledge and wisdom of the elders from one generation to another."

In the spirit of sharing that wisdom, Beckwith and Fisher have compiled some of their most striking photographs in a book called "African Ceremonies".

"If you follow us through the ceremonies, through our images, you arrive with a sense that we're all sharing the same emotions, and the same desire to find meaning in our lives. And the same feeling that we have a great commonality between us, no matter how different we are in terms of religious beliefs, body adornment, whether we wear clothes, whether we don't wear clothes, who our gods are. We come to find we have an extraordinary common ground."

Our special thanks to David Bradnum for the recordings. Please visit our website at nationalgeographic.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by Dupont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.