Nyau dancers from Machesse village

Today I was reviewing my photo-archive and found this picture of Nyau dancers from Machesse village in Mozambique. I didn’t include it to my project Nyau. Gule Wamkulu – The Great Dancers, but probably I should. Really like this photo.

Nyau dancers wear “mukuta” – the feather masks. Machesse village, Tete province, Mozambique.
Nyau is a spiritual society of the Chewa people, who are well known because of their masquerade dances, called Gule Wamkulu – The Great Dance. They appear in the villages during public holidays, anniversaries and funerals and dance the night away.
Since 2005 the Nyau culture is protected by UNESCO. This Chewa tradition exists only in the Tete Province of Mozambique, Malawi and in Mozambican border areas with Zambia and Zimbabwe.

I took this picture in October 2010 during the spiritual ceremony in Machesse village, Central Mozambique, where I went to find  out how to document life of this secret community. They were ok with photographing their dances, but denied my presence in their sacred places, even without my camera. Later I decided to join the group and became Nyau myself. But it took me much more time until the People of Mask started to trust my camera and allowed me to photograph their sacred rituals.


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