Capturing a dying practice

2014-10-19 15:00

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Popcap is a prize for photographers taking photos in an African country or dealing with the diaspora of an African nation.

This year’s winners came from Ivory Coast, South Africa, Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our favourite winner is Joana Choumali from the Ivory Coast.

Through her lens, she looks at Hââbré, which in the Kô language from Burkina Faso means both writing and ­scarification.

The project documents a fading generation of Abidjan citizens with facial scarifications. Bearing scars used to be ­considered the height of fashion.

One Abidjani says: “Our parents did this so that they did not get lost in life.

When you went ­somewhere, you would not get lost.” The practice is becoming less common.

Choumali decided to create one of the only contemporary digital records of ­scarification.

Choumali says the traditional practice is disappearing because of the pressure of religion and state ­authorities, as well as urbanisation.

»?View the full collection of photographs at

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