Afar Tribal Mother
Here a mother Afar woman consents to be photographed with her two sons in her home. Afar women often have intricate frizzed and braided hairstyles, and wear bright colored bead necklaces, heavy earrings and brass anklets. Many Afar women cover their heads in public. This helps ward off the relentless sun.
Afar people are predominantly Muslim. They have a long association with Islam through the various local Muslim polities and practice the Sunni form of Islam. The Afar mainly follow the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam. Sufi orders like the Qadiriyya are also widespread among the Afar. Afar religious life is somewhat syncretic with a blend of Islamic concepts and pre-Islamic ones such as rain sacrifices on sacred locations, divination, and folk healing.Socially, they are organized into clan families led by elders and two main classes: the asaimara (‘reds’) who are the dominant class politically, and the adoimara (‘whites’) who are a working class and are found in the Mabla Mountains.Clans can be fluid and even include outsiders like Somalis.
In addition, the Afar are reputed for their martial prowess. Men traditionally sport the jile, a famous curved knife. They also have an extensive repertoire of battle songs.