What is the Mingi killing, exactly? Is this still going on?
January 13, 2022
The Omo River valley is home to some of the most incredible culturally pure traditions that characterize the hundreds of indigenous Omo groups who follow ancestral customs and have for so long upheld tribal traditions passed down from ancestors many years ago.
Some of the surprising survivors of these rituals include the Hamar tribe’s bull leaping, the extraordinary ornamentation of the Muris/Suri tribes’ enormous lip plate, gladiatorial stick fighting, and the Kara tribes’ exquisite ceremonial body painting.
However, in today’s ever-changing society, not all tribal traditions are appreciated.
Some of these age-old practices, such as FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), beating women at bull leaping rites, and Mingi baby slaughter, have come under growing criticism from educated tribe members and people worldwide.
Mingi (ritual impureness) is a broad social control rite used by Omo tribes like as Hamar, Bana, and Kara that requires individuals to conform to ancestral ritual tradition and social standards.
Ritual impureness is caused by negative effects such as human disrespect for ritual and social standards or transgression of taboos, which causes persons, places, or things to be referred to as mingi. A mingi is seen as a threat to the tribe’s survival, and as such, it must be ritually annulled, completely condemned, or primarily let to perish in the bush.
A child born from an unmarried couple or without the ritual preparation for conception, as well as a child whose upper teeth grow before the lower teeth, a man who has lost even a fraction of his penis, and a woman who has lost even a fraction of her breast, are all considered mingi, are thought to have an evil influence on the rest of the population, and are thrown away in the bush to die. Sadly, mingi practice is still maintained in some remote Hamar and Bana tribal communities to this day.
Lale Labuko, the founder of Omo Child and one of the first educated Kara tribe members, has been working relentlessly to abolish mingi practice throughout the Omo Valley, and has so far successfully eradicated the practice in the whole Kara community. Today, more than 50 rescued Mingi children are receiving safe shelter and education at Omo Child, each of them with incredible story.