Field-photo of the day: likishi Iya radio (Zambia, 2016)

Photo by Martin Vorwaerts, 2016.

This is a likishi (singular), an ancestral spirit from the vaka chinyama communities (Luvale, Mbunda, Luchazi & Chokwe people) from Zambia.. Makishi (plural) appear and perform usually around the mukanda boy initiation. There are more than one hundred different characters, each with its own role, history, and symbols. The one above, photographed in 2016, depicts a radio/cassette player, honouring the important role, mobile radios have played since their introduction to the Zambian people. The photographer, Martin Vorwaerts, documented the whole creation process and performance of this masquerade in 2016 during his field-research for his Ph.D. on these makishi masquerades.