Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Ethiopian Mursi Tribe (01:52)


The program begins with images of Musi tribal practices: Donga stick fighting, mystical divination, ceramic lip disks and animal ritual sacrifice. They are Ethiopian warriors.

Anticipation for the Donga Competition (02:31)

We meet an old woman, a faith healer and astrologer, who sees a bad omen, but the youth continue to practice for the Donga stick fighting competition. The Mursi protect their cattle with their stick proficiency.

Scars of a Donga Champion (02:13)

A champion stick fighter of the Mursi shows his scars. The champion's brother is known for his singing and dancing but for the first time will fight in this Donga which occurs after a good harvest.

Mursi Elders in Open Debate (03:19)

The elders debate if this harvest is adequate to celebrate the Donga. The clan leader has the last say and is the ultimate judge. The discovery of a thief involves stepping over a sword. The Donga must wait.

Goat Sacrifice to Save the Cattle (03:40)

The herds of cattle supply milk and blood, payment of the bride price and ultimately a food source for the Mursi. Illness among the cattle requires the sacrifice of a white goat.

Bride's Gift: Ceramic Lip Plate (02:56)

The Mursi women prepare to move the village to the Omo River. A Mursi woman explains the procedure of enlarging the bottom lip for the ceramic disk, as a gift to her husband.

Life Stages of the Mursi (04:16)

A Mursi man plays an instrument of wood and metal. A Donga fighter prepares his stick weapon. We hear of the different stages of life which must be earned and approved by the elders at each level.

Rites of Passage (07:30)

Mursi elders, the Bara, enter the debate circle while the Tera prepare to ritually attack the Bara for their initiation into the next level, receiving their and becoming a man.

Mursi Faith Healer (03:22)

The old woman astrologer for the Mursi heals the sick of the tribe who bathe in the Omo River. The Donga elder decides the Donga stick fight may take place.

Two Rivals Prepare for the Donga (05:04)

A fierce stick fighter explains his tactics and his strength building diet of yogurt and blood. The scarred former champion also prepares for the Donga which will pit speed against size.

The Donga Day Arrives (05:58)

The Mursi contestants wrap head and body parts in cloth for protection. The former champion wears the jackal skin. A referee monitors each fight until the winner, the best fighter over the day, is declared champion.

A New Donga Champion (07:23)

An inconclusive battle between heavyweight fighters allows the championship to pass to a first time fighter, the chant leading brother of the last champion.

Optimism for the Future (02:09)

The success of the Donga inspires optimism in the Musi clans. They will move to more fertile land near the Omo River.

Credits: The Mursi Tribe: The Day of the Donga (02:07)

Credits: The Mursi Tribe: The Day of the Donga

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The Mursi Tribe: The Day of the Donga

Part of the Series : The Last Warriors: Seven African Tribes on the Verge of Extinction
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Much has changed in modern Ethiopia, but at least one thing remains the same: the Mursi are still among the fiercest warriors in Africa. This program, a study of life among the Mursi, features footage of a donga, a punishing yet graceful stick fighting competition through which young men display their bravery, establish their status, and perhaps even attract a young woman to marry. Mursi mysticism and faith healing are also considered, as well as customs such as the use of large ceramic lip disks by women as symbols of beauty and wealth. (54 minutes)

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL11796

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9352-0

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA.