Segments in this Video

Afar People (01:15)


The Afar people of Ethiopia are a highly aggressive and spiritual tribe of nomadic warriors. Terrain and rituals are harsh. Fatuma is being forced into marriage; some women commit suicide to avoid this fate.

Burial (01:57)

The Afar warriors bury a man. The Afar are resilient and deeply religious.

Forced Marriage (02:14)

Honor is more important to the Afar than life. Warriors guard Fatuma to keep her from running away before her arranged wedding. She hides in her hut, refusing to interact.

Suicide and Forced Marriage (02:08)

Afar brides can avoid a forced marriage only by escape or suicide. Fatuma's father wonders whether she has such plans. Her mother was forced into marriage but says she is now happy.

Fiance Awaits (01:48)

Ali is Fatuma's first cousin, which allows him to choose her as his wife. Even if she escapes, he is prepared to wait for her to come back. If she disobeys her father, it will bring shame on her family.

Afar Honor Code (02:35)

The Afar embrace Islam, but their more ancient traditions survive and involve honor and violence.

Afar Society (01:26)

Cattle are the mark of wealth for the Afar. An Afar man may marry his first cousin or give her to another man.

Circumcision and Afar Girls' Lives (02:39)

Afar boys and girls are circumcised. Girls are available for marriage from age ten.

Dragged to Altar (02:36)

Two Afar girls are dragged to the altar and knocked to the ground as a ceremony goes on around them. Resistance is part of the ritual, so that it is difficult to distinguish genuine from ritualistic resistance.

Social Pressure (01:37)

Fatuma emerges from her hut; she is very young, and is fighting her entire tribe alone against her arranged marriage. It is still unclear what she will do.

Afar Fights (03:47)

The Afar have fought against nearby tribes, and clans fight each other over water. Today, aggression is channeled into a brutal game whose object is unclear to outside observers.

Afar Marriage Customs (02:33)

Fatuma and her mother inspect a hut being built for her wedding night; armed guards continue watching. Afar husbands and wives live apart for the first year of marriage.

Bride Interviewed (01:01)

Fatuma, a girl being forced into marriage, talks to the filmmakers. She is defiant and frightened.

Circumcision Ritual and Toughness (03:33)

The Afar insure that their tribesmen will show the necessary cruelty to their enemies by making them be cruel to those they love. Boys must not cry as they are circumcised and have pepper thrown in their eyes.

Preparing for Circumcision (02:37)

To begin circumcision rituals, boys run to near exhaustion. They then sit in line and prepare mentally. We see a pocket knife opened and a small boy held in place and crying.

Brutal Circumcision (03:31)

Mohammed is circumcised. The knife is blunt, making the operation take a long time; he struggles and yells, taking the knife as the pain becomes unbearable, but avoids crying.

Rituals After Circumcision (02:37)

After circumcision, boys return home, where the ceremony continues with feast and celebration. Boys are confined to one hut for four days as they heal.

Changing Norms on Killing (01:40)

An old Afar warrior whose goal in his youth was to kill has become ashamed of his deeds; the outside world has intruded and killing is now frowned upon.

Preparation for Wedding (01:26)

Afar prepare to sacrifice an animal for a wedding. Groom Ali does not know for sure if Fatuma will run away before he marries her.

Marriage Ritual (02:05)

Fatuma could not escape her marriage. She is forced to her knees to show subservience to her groom.

Afar Wedding (02:13)

Afar weddings take place during full moon. A friend leads Fatuma on a slow walk from her home to Ali's, completely covered, in a ritualistic display of resistance to marriage.

Feelings on Forced Marriage (02:10)

Ali's and Fatuma's marriage has created new union between Afar camps. Fatuma's spirit is unbroken, but her husband expects she will accept her marriage.

Clan Leadership and Cultural Preservation (01:18)

The clan leader has led his people through very difficult times. His oldest son will take over upon his death, becoming responsible for preserving culture against change.

Hopes for Happy Marriage (01:11)

Fatuma hopes she will come to love her husband; they do not know each other, she says.

Credits: The Afar Tribe: A Bride's Story (01:08)

Credits: The Afar Tribe: A Bride's Story

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The Afar Tribe: A Bride's Story

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
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This program provides an introduction to the Afar by recording two major life events: the arranged marriage of a most reluctant bride and the initiation of a nervous would-be warrior. Can Fatuma, daughter of the clan chief, steel herself to marry her first cousin Ali, or will she seek escape—perhaps through suicide? And will Mohammed be able to retain his stoic poise during his ritual circumcision? The Afar belief system, a blend of Islam and ancient traditions that underpins these crucial events, is explored. (64 minutes)

Length: 65 minutes

Item#: BVL11798

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9354-4

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.