Bright, loud and competitive these advertising boards depict the latest hairstyles in fashion. They are carried either by itinerant barbers or nailed to salon walls, enticing the passer-by to stop a moment for a fabulous grooming experience!
In 1937, Julius Lips wrote “the impression of the white man’s superiority did not last long. The natives began to know him better and ceased devising tales which would explain his superiority. They soon found that the white man was only another species of the human race. When they became familiar with him, they treated him to their mockery exactly as they did with any member of their own tribe, as soon as they recognized his weaknesses.”
In this third part of an article on African puppet theatre, I examine stage production, the manipulation of puppets and the type of controls used:
Talbot wrote “Amongst the Ibibio, if a puppet was dropped or its hidden mechanisms exposed, the offending puppeteer was slain and the rest of his troupe sold into slavery…”
This punishment was advocated at the turn of last century. Today things are a little different!
“…The purpose of playing… was and is, to hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure”
-Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 111, scene 11
This quote may well have been written to describe African puppet theatre, where characters are endearing, humorous and absurd, with a dialogue and content that is cutting and to the point.