The Secret Behind The Mangbetu’s Long-Headed Beauty Tradition

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What is beauty? This is a question that has been debated for centuries, and the answer may vary depending on the culture, time, and place. For some people, beauty is defined by the shape of their head, and they are willing to go through extreme measures to achieve their ideal look. This is the case of the Mangbetu people, an ethnic group from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have a long-standing tradition of skull elongation.

The Mangbetu are known for their artistic and musical skills, as well as their distinctive appearance. They have elongated heads that are shaped by wrapping the heads of their infants tightly with cloth for several months. This practice, known as lipombo, is believed to enhance the beauty and intelligence of the person, as well as to indicate their social status and wealth. The longer the head, the more attractive and respected the person is.

The origin of this tradition is unclear, but some historians suggest that it may have been influenced by the ancient Egyptians, who also practiced skull elongation. The Mangbetu may have adopted this custom to differentiate themselves from other neighboring groups, or to emulate their ancestors, who were said to have naturally long heads.

The practice of lipombo has been declining since the colonial era, when the Belgian authorities banned it and forced the Mangbetu to adopt a more “civilized” appearance. However, some Mangbetu still continue this tradition in secret, or use artificial means to create the illusion of a long head, such as wearing hats or hairstyles that cover the forehead.

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The skull elongation does not affect the brain function or the health of the person, according to scientific studies. The brain adapts to the shape of the skull, and the cranial capacity remains the same. However, there may be some risks associated with the practice, such as infections, headaches, or deformities.

The Mangbetu people are an example of how beauty standards can vary across cultures, and how people can modify their bodies to fit their ideals. Their tradition of skull elongation is a unique and fascinating aspect of their culture, and a testament to their resilience and identity.

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Bueze is a versatile professional, excelling as a relationship writer and news reporter. He offers insightful relationship advice and analysis, guiding readers through the complexities of love. Simultaneously, as a committed journalist, he delivers accurate and compelling news stories, ensuring his audience stays informed. With a unique ability to bridge personal connections and world events, Bueze's work continues to inspire and educate.

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