Living Cultures

The Makishi Masquerade

2009Ep551 mins

In the village of Kashushu, in western Zambia, Patrick has five sons approaching manhood. Perpetuating the traditions of the Luvale culture is expensive, and Patrick has to sell two of his best animals to pay for his sons’ initiation. In the springtime, the Makishi demons, the spirits of the ancestors, return to earth during the initiation. Wearing extraordinary masks, their bodies covered in a knitted costume, they kidnap the young village boys for four months. During the final festival that brings all the villagers together, the Makishi appear in full regalia. Their dances enchant the crowd, and a new generation of men appears in the village. Patrick, the main organizer this year, has to raise money for costumes, food and for the 4 months of initiation. But the celebration is so expensive that Patrick struggles to meet both ends. He fears for the future of the Mukanda, and without the help of an organization like UNESCO, it will certainly disappear.

Video Language: English