Mophungzuket "leper"

Scope and Content

B&W photographic print. 'This image of a grave hung with the deceased person's possessions could be interpreted in various ways. "Leper'' in inverted commas on the back of the photograph may indeed mean that the person who died was a leper, in which case the death is considered in some villages as accursed, bringing disgrace and ruin upon his family. They would have to kill all their livestock and abandon their house and all their possessions, being reduced to destitution and reliant on the charity of their neighbours. But, in that case the grave would have no roof or Ornaments for the next world. This grave, however, has a rough Christian cross in front of it, although this is painted with various non-Christian symbols such as snakes and stylised hornbills. Though Christians bury their dead rather than expose them on corpse platforms, they often roof over the grave and display the possessions just as the non-Christians do. Perhaps the deceased was converted to Christianity before dying of leprosy, thus avoiding the calamity for his family of an "accursed" death.'

Access Information


Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

9.5 x 7 cm

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by J.P. Mills