Tag: DR Congo

Bird stories, Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)

Mbuti boys in the Congo under initiation are prohibited from eating most birds, except some common birds as greenbuls and weavers. These prohibited birds are also regarded as kuweri. By imposing such food restrictions on the initiates, the Mbuti conceptualize circumcision as a social birth of an adult. The birds play another special role in […]

Bird stories, Brown-chested Alethe (Alethe poliocephala)

There is a food taboo for this totemic animal of a particular clan of the Mbuti hunter-gatherers of the Congo. The clan members cannot eat this animal called ngini-so (things prohibited), or ngini-so-su (things prohibited to us), which symbolize their membership of a particular clan. Should one eat such a prohibited animal, his teeth would […]