Kasangu (Warrior Mask)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


The Mugongo society of warriors is responsible for the protection of Salampasu communities; society members protect against invasion from rival clans or other external forces. To become a member of Mugongo, Salampasu boys must be circumcised and pass through its various initiation sub-societies, the highest of which is the society called Matambu (within which the highest initiate level is called the Mukish).

Each initiation sub-society has an associated mask type which the boys gain access to upon completing the initiation level and paying an initiation fee. Associated with the Ibuku initiation level, kasangu masks are only available to warriors that have killed and decapitated an enemy in battle.

Distinguishing Features

  • Headdress made of balls of cane
  • Carved of wood and painted
    • Sometimes painted white with kaolin clay
    • Others have surface painted, red, black or divided into black and red sections
  • Domed forehead
  • Sunken eye sockets
  • Tubular ears
  • Large, broad triangular nose
  • Pierced nostrils
  • Aggressive mouth
  • Pointed teeth (depicting filied initiate teeth)
  • Pointed chin
  • Headband and chin pierced with holes to fix headdress and beard

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