Published: March 2010

Omo River

Omo River

Africa's Last Frontier

Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is still a place ruled by ritual and revenge. But change is coming, from upriver.

By Neil Shea
Photograph by Randy Olson

Dunga Nakuwa cups his face in his hands and remembers his mother's voice. She has been dead nearly two years, but for Dunga's tribe the dead are never very far away. In the villages they are buried just below the huts of the living, separated from hearths and sleeping skins by only a few feet of dry, depleted soil. They remain near in the mind too. This is why Dunga still hears his mother: When will you take revenge on your brother's killer?

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