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Witch Doctor

Author: Mom_of_Four

This is a “witch doctor” and a young girl from a village near our house. I believe the girl was a maiden, and was painted with white paint so she would be invisible to men. I remember my father giving the witch doctor some money to allow him to take the picture.

Year Taken:
1972
Genre:
snapshot
Region:
Montserrado
Subject:
people
Related Keywords:

4 Comments

  1. Rebe Ehrich says:

    She looks like she is in the Sande Society. That was a secret society that girls entered as a pubertal rite of passage. There was also a white clay people would put on their kids and sometimes themselves when they were ill as they believed the clay had medicinal properties.

    Reply

  2. Cheryl Sweeney says:

    I lived in Liberia from 1975 – 1977 and remember what I think you might be calling “white clay people” because they weren’t dotted like the girl in this photo, but they were streaked with white mud all over their body (they were wrapped at the waist) and I remember mostly kids but also some adults. I saw them walking around at night (we lived near a river) and it was scary because the older kids in our expat community would say that when you saw them (the white clay people) you would soon see the witch doctor who would take us children away – we didn’t wait to find out. I have been scared of that for 40 years …. am so glad these photos and Liberian websites are opening up and explaining things. There’s really no one to talk to about it all, unless you go back I suppose.

    Reply

  3. Timothy Nevin says:

    Nowadays we say “traditional healer” or “ritual specialist” instead of witchdoctor. The term sounds really colonial / old fashioned.

    Reply

  4. hmmm says:

    what we used to call iyan titi

    Reply

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