Photos The Kitenga mask traditionally dances at boys’ initiations and is considered one of the most powerful of Pende masks. Its large red disk face is surrounded by a halo of raffia fibers and kulu kulu feathers. A costume of tightly woven palm raffia with large raffia pom poms accentuates his frenzied movements.Chief Kibala arrives in his ceremonial regalia at the opening of his festival of masks held in the village of Gungu. His costume features hide skirts made of leopard, jackal, and serval, with necklaces of leopard teeth and glass beads imported from Italy and Czechoslovakia. The festival draws attention to the important role masks play in the passages of life and protection of his people.Chief Aristotle Kibala in his hyrax-fur cape stands in his private museum among his collection of fourteen thousand Pende masks and artefacts collected during his lifetime. He proclaims “Everyone must learn about our great culture and feel invited to come.”The Mbuya mask from the village of Lozo shows people how and when to cultivate crops during different seasons by throwing out grains that are due to be planted such as maize or ground nuts. The mask is positioned on the head in order to look up at the sky and predict the rain.Hundreds of kulu kulu feathers cascade down the back of the Kitenga mask. Its large red disk face, featuring white eyes on stalks, is surrounded by a halo of raffia fibers and feathers.Pende musicians play rhythmic music on the mdimba calabash xylophone and drums, performing pieces specific to each group of dancers.Pende drummers create pulsing rhythms to fuel the energetic atmosphere of the festival. They perform pieces specific to each group of dances.Tu-gangonga stilt dancers, called “Tall Men Walking,” come from their village to entertain Chief KIbala.With red-ochered bodies, women of an older age set, called Enya Giwila, dance while proudly swinging their black raffia hair. They guide young girls in the preparation for different stages of life.The Galungonya raffia-clad chameleon amuses the crowd by crawling along the ground and imitating a drunken man’s walk. The chameleon is regarded as a magical animal as he can roll his eyes in all directions and change his color at will. Muthatho masks, called “Angry Masks,” dance frenetically to amuse the crowd, wearing netted raffia costumes.Muthatho masks wear netted raffia costumes and swirling fringes attached to their wrists and ankles to dramatise their movements.The Minganji Mask is associated with mens fraternity, initiation rites and ceremonies associated with leadership. Its head covering takes a variety of hooded and disk forms featuring tubular eyes that suggest an all-seeing quality.Left: A Pende singer rings a bell to call the spirits, enchanting the crowds of celebrants. Right: Another singer accompanies himself on a home made guitar. The sorcerer known as Tudi Mala or “We Are the Men” wears skins, jewelry, seedpods, brass bells, and leopard teeth to indicate that he is one of the strongest of the sorcerers.The powerful sorcerer, known as Shabanzele, loves to dance with women and has earned the nickname “Chief of Women”.Two Sorcerers reveal their magical powers by displaying daggers or arrows piercing their cheeks. We were told that when their cheeks were pierced there was neither blood nor wound.The Gimbombi three-headed mask terrifies the crowd. They believe it holds the power to kill or even to eat a wrongdoer.The sorcerer’s messenger comes to demonstrate for the village the fate of wrongdoers.At midnight, the sorcerer’s messenger shows the village how he collect victims and brings them to the sorcerers. Left: A captured “victim” is carried by the messenger to the chief sorcerer. Right: The chief sorcerer wears a pangolin headdress, denoting his status.