Culture

THE HYENA MEN

1 Mins read

A hyena Man feeds meat to Africa’s second-largest predator while crowds of spectators, paying per head, watch on in awe. These men earn a living by performing in front of large crowds. The hyena men are nomads from northern Nigeria that catch hyena pups, snakes and baboons, and then train these animals in order to take them to the city to perform.

They claim that it is magic that is used to bring these animals under their control. During their usual street circus, they first drum to attract a crowd and then they put their head and sometimes hands in between the jaws of the hyenas. The baboons are dressed in costumes and asked to do flips and they put their faces close to the snakes and sometimes put the head of the snake in their mouths. Apart from people who pay to watch the circus, some others pay to receive the kind of magic and special powers that they hyena men use.

The job of a hyena Man is hereditary. It has been passed down to them from their forefathers and they also train their children to drink concoctions and stay with poisonous snakes and hyenas from a very young age. The relationship between these men is symbiotic. The hyenas depend on these men for food and the men depend on the hyenas for their needs too.

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