Image of Chinkhombe
Photographer: Arjen van de Merwe



Chinkhombe is one of the characters used in girls’ initiation, and is danced by an elderly woman teacher called a namkungwi. Her face shaped like an owl, she delivers wisdom about how a girl should be prepared for the onset of her menses, and how proper hygiene should be maintained when in menstruation. As with other masks dealing with sexuality, Chinkhombe can feature sexual organs in the carving.