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Young Mursi men with dueling sticks and Kalashnikovs | by david schweitzer
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Young Mursi men with dueling sticks and Kalashnikovs

Young men from the Mursi age-set who must lead the fighting when confronted with intertribal conflicts. Shot under the direct noonday sun in a Mursi settlement near the Mago River, a tributary of the lower Omo River in the remote southeast corner of Ethiopia.


The Mursi are semi-nomadic pastoralists who live in small settlements dispersed across a territory of about thirty by eighty kilometres between the Omo and Mago Rivers in southwest Ethiopia.


The terrain varies from volcanic plain with a range of hills and a major watershed to riverine forest, thorny bushland thicket and wooded grassland. The climate is harsh and instable with low rainfall and daily temperatures often exceeding 40°C in the dry season.


The Mursi depend on a traditional mix of subsistence activities for their livelihood -mcattle herding and shifting slash-and-burn hoe-cultivation (mostly drought-resistant varieties of sorghum but also some maize, beans, chick-peas). Today, the Mursi number less than ten thousand.


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Taken on February 20, 2009