Concerning Visual Representations of Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone

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Concerning Visual Representations of Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone
Lynch, Ashleigh P
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[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (66 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( M.A.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Art History
Art and Art History
Committee Chair:
Rovine, Victoria
Committee Members:
Sow, Alioune
Poynor, Robin E
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
African art ( jstor )
Amulets ( jstor )
Art museums ( jstor )
Civil wars ( jstor )
Clothing ( jstor )
Photographs ( jstor )
Photography ( jstor )
Soldiers ( jstor )
War ( jstor )
Weapons ( jstor )
Art and Art History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
child -- guy -- leone -- sierra -- soldier -- tillim
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Art History thesis, M.A.


My thesis examines images of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, focusing on a series of portraits taken by South African photographer, Guy Tillim, as well as other visual representations from the film Blood Diamond and the autobiography A Long Way Gone.  This research will consider the conflicting narratives of child soldiers—as both victims and perpetrators, and how this complex perception translates to ambiguous readings of such images.  Supported by visual and historical analysis, my thesis also looks to the trope of the warrior/hunter in African art in order to draw out themes of power and masculinity in connection to the appearance and violent acts committed by child soldiers during the war in Sierra Leone.  This approach demonstrate show the identities of these young combatants, exhibited through the appropriation of various types of dress and adornments from the past, may have been constructed through another figure of authority, the paramount chief.   The first chapter of my thesis will give historical background on the Civil War of Sierra Leone(1991-2002), highlighting particular political and military figures, as well as combatant groups and ethnic populations most affected by these events.  This introduction will describe some of the social, political and economic factors to give the reader a broad context for the local and international impact of the conflict.  Attention will also be given to addressing the representation of child soldiers as icons—symbols who generate a greater discourse in relation to wars erupting in different countries across Africa.  The second chapter will consider the trope of the warrior/hunter. Focusing on dress as a means to communicate themes related to masculinity, initiation, and secret knowledge, I analyze the history and garments worn by paramount chiefs of Sierra Leone in connection to Kamajormilitias.    The third chapter of this thesis will center on a series of photographs of CDF (Civil Defense Forces) child soldiers by Guy Tillim, from his joint project with fellow South African photojournalist Omar Badsha, entitled Amulets and Dreams: War Youth and Change in Africa (2001).  In analyzing these images I will consider Tillim’s oeuvre and how photojournalism as a medium straddles both news and art—text and image.  Pinpointing the aim of the project, I will question themes related to humanitarianism and the staging of photographs. Chapter 4 will examine the portrayal of child soldiers in Sierra Leone through the media of film and literature.  Looking to Blood Diamond (2006), I will explore the appearance of RUF (Revolutionary United Front) child soldiers.  The longer analysis of Blood Diamond will be coupled with a brief examination of Ishmael Beah’s autobiography A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007).  Providing a local narrative, Beah’s account will demonstrate how child soldiers in the SLA (Sierra Leone Army) dressed.  Both the RUF and SLA held similar initiation practices and based their appearance on American hip-hop and military personalities.  This chapter demonstrates that Kamajors, discussed in the preceding chapters, and the RUFand SLA had discernible codes of dress during the Civil War. Suspending the term “child soldier” in quotation marks, I hope to draw out the construction ofa universal type that is located in many developing countries across the world—especially in Africa.  My conclusion will draw my analysis together, arguing that although the child soldier is a popular icon, forged by local and global media, his identity is complex and historically situated. ( en )
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Adviser: Rovine, Victoria.
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by Ashleigh P Lynch.

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2 2012 Ashleigh P. Lynch


3 To my Mother and Father M y mentors, my life


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I offer m y sincerest gratitude to Dr. Victoria L. Rovine She has committed her time to guiding me thr ough this thesis recommending invaluable feedba ck and support for which I am truly grateful Thanks also given to Drs. Robin Poynor and Alioune Sow who likewise invested their time and energy to see me through this research project Broadly I thank the e ducators who have challenged me, and those who continue to impact my per s pective in regards to h istory and humanity Gainesville colleagues keep on. I take your friendship s with me. Devin Tuzenguruke isi F amily I love you Your ceaseless support is ever humbling


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE CIVIL WAR IN SIERRA LEONE ................................ ... 10 Political Figures and Their Constituents ................................ ................................ .. 10 ................................ .................... 12 2 THE TROPE OF THE WARRIOR/HUNTER IN AFRICAN ART .............................. 14 Conceptualizing Power and Masculinity Through African Art ................................ .. 14 The Kamajor as Paramount Chief? ................................ ................................ ......... 23 Kamajors: Initi ation and Secret Knowledge ................................ ............................ 29 3 ....... 35 ................................ ................................ ................................ 35 Amulets and Dreams: War, Youth, and Change in Africa ................................ ....... 36 4 REPRESENTING THE RUF AND SLA IN FILM AND LITERATURE ..................... 45 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 57 APPENDIX: FIGURE CITATIONS ................................ ................................ ............. 60 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 61 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 66


6 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S AFRC Armed Forces Ruling Council APC CDF Civil Defense Forces DDR Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegrat ion DRC Democratic Republic of the Congo ECOMOG The Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group NPRC National Provisional Ruling Council OAU Organization of African Unity OBHS Organized Body of Hunting Societies RUF Revolutionary United Fro nt SAHO S outh African History Online SCSL Special Court for Sierra Leone SLA Sierra Leone Army SLPP UNAMSIL United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone UPA


7 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School o f the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts CONCERNING VISUAL REPRESENTATION S OF CHILD SOLDIER S IN SIERRA LEONE By Ashleigh P. Lynch August 2012 Chair: Victoria L. Rovine Majo r: Art History My thesis examines images of child soldiers in Sierra Leone focusing on a series of portraits taken by South African photo grapher, Guy Tillim as well as other visual representations from the film Blood Diamond and the autobiography A Long Way Gone This research will consider the conflicting narrative s of child soldiers as both victims and perpetrators and how this complex perception translates to ambiguous reading s of such images. Supported by visual and historical analysis, my thesis also looks to the trope of th e warrior/hunter in African art in order to draw out themes of power and masculinity in connection to the appearance and violent acts committed by child soldiers during the w ar in Sierra Leone. This approach demonstrates how t he identiti es of these young combatants exhibited through the appropriation of various types of dre ss and adornments from the past, may have been constructed through an other figure of authority, the paramount c hief. The first chapter of my thesis will giv e hi storical background on the Civil War of Sierra Leone (1991 2002) highlighting particular political and military figures, as well as combatan t groups and ethnic populations most affe cted by the se events. This introduction will describe some of the soc ial, political and economic factors to give the


8 reader a broad context for the local and international impact of the conflict A tten tion will also be given to addressing the representation of child soldier s as icon s symbols who generate a greater discours e in relation to wars erupting in different countri es across Africa The second chapter will consider the trope of the warrior /hunter Focusing on dress as a means to communicate themes related to masculinity, initiation and secret knowled ge, I analyze th e history and garments worn by p ara mount c hiefs of Sierra Leone in connection to Kamajor militias. T he third chapter of this thesis will center on a series of photographs of CDF (Civil Defense Forces) child soldiers by Guy Tillim from his joint projec t with fellow South African photojournalist Omar Badsha entitled Amulets and Dreams: War Youth and Change in Africa (2001) In analyzing these images I will consider and how phot ojournalism as a medium straddles both news and art text and image. Pinpointing the aim of the project, I will question themes related to humanitarianism and the staging of photographs. C hapter 4 will examine the portrayal of child soldiers in Sierra Leone through the media of film and literature. Looking to Blo od Diamond (2006), I will ex plore the appearance of RUF (Revolutionary United Front) child soldiers The longer analysis of Blood Diamond will be coupled with a brief examination of autobiography A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2 007) Providing a local l demonstrate how child soldier s in the SLA (Sierra Leone A rmy) dressed. Both t he RUF and SLA held similar initiation practices and base d their appearance on American hip h op and military personalities This chap ter demonstrates


9 that Kamajors discussed in the preceding chapters and the RUF and SLA had discerni ble codes of dress during the Civil War. I hope to draw out the construction of a unive rsal type that is located in many develop ing countries across the world especially in Africa. My conclusion will draw my analysis together, arguing that although the child soldier is a popular icon, forged by local and global media his identity is comple x and historically situated.


10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE CIVIL WAR IN SIERRA LEONE March 23 1991 marked the beginning of a prolonged period of conflict in Sierra Leone. 1 The Civil War which lasted nearly 11 years, officially ended January 18 2002 W hile drastically transforming the social, political and economic landscape of the nation the war was responsible for i nnumerable people being wounded and far more than 50,000 lives being lost Several other West African countries were involved in the conflict, especially those closest to Sierra Leone. This widespread involvement in national affairs reflected not only goodwill on the part s of those offering international assistance, but also ill will from those who sought gains such as resources and political c lout. This moment in history can also be referred to as the Mano River War when linking the conflicts of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. T he first shots purportedly rained from Liberia onto Sierra Leone under the auspices of f ormer President Charles Taylor 2 of neighboring country Liberia, indicating early cross border, cross cultural entanglement s Political Figures and Their Constituents Sir Milton Margai of became Sierra t president following independence from England on April 27 1961 He was Congress (APC). During these two separate administration s had steadily eroded. In 1977, student revolts broke out signaling not only a general 1 The histor ical context I provide comes from a variety of sources especially (Badsha 18 19). For additional texts that supply thorough narratives of the Civil War in Sierra Leone I suggest Ferme, Hoffman and Richards. 2 On April 26, 2012 the SCSL (Special Court for Memmott).


11 educational system, which impacted wartime youth recruitment In 1985 Major General Joseph Momoh r eplaced the 80 year o ld Siaka Stevens as president While Momoh continued operating under the authoritarian, militant and corrupt leader ship of his predecessor Stevens and the APC, Foday Sankoh, an ex army corporal prepared a cross border attack in Liber ia. This armed insurgency erupted in 1991, backed by Sankoh and the Revolutionary United Front ( RUF ) the rebel force staged with the help of Captain Valentine Strasser, who announced the overthrow of 1992, under the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC). As a result of political instability and violence seventy percent of the population became homeless or refugees. In this state o f vulnerability, civilian populations began to organize themselves into units in order to provide protection and security against both the RUF and the government army These grassroots militias were considered part of the Civil Defense Forces (CDF). The CDF was comprised of different groups such as the Kamajors, who were prominently located in the south and east (the high est percentage of CDF forces were from this group), and the Donsos and Gbethis of Kono, from the north. In 1996, multiparty elections were held once again Ahmad Tejan Kabbah assumed presidency under the amnesty of the RUF; however, this agreement lasted only briefly. Johnny Paul Koroma was soon recognized as leader of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) with Sankoh as his deputy. United, the army and the RUF were


12 West African States Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) intervened in order to restore the democratically elected Kabbah yet the fighting continu ed capital of Freetown in which 63,000 people were murdered, 3,000 children were abducted and a third of the population was left homeless. On July 7 1999 RUF leader Foday Sankoh and President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah signed the Lom Peace Accord, which granted all participants in the conflict unconditional amnesty, but this treaty too was soon reneged upon in 2000. In 2002 the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) carried out a succ essful operation that implemented the peace a greement, thereby demobilizing and disarming over 45,000 rebels, and finally bringing an active end to the w ar in May. How to Position Estimates vary on the number of child combatant participants. By w ar t he National Committee on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) had formally demobilized 6,845 child combatants 3 of whom 529 were girls ( Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers 97 ) 4 Since 2 001 image s of child soldier s have bee n highly visible in mass media outlet s including newspapers, magazines, film, television and the I nternet (Denov 1). Such visual representation s present a paradox, for young combatants can be viewed as both victim s an d perpe trators D esperate circumstances 3 This n umber ranges up to 9,000 (Badsha 10). Note these numbers fail to differentiate between willing volunteers and o thers who were forced into conscription 4 Note this research focuses on the perspective of adolescent male combatants. For informatio n regarding female child soldiers see Bush Wives and Girl Soldiers: Women's Lives through War and Peace in Sierra Leone (2009) as well as Susan McKay Where are the Girls? Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique: Their Lives During and After War (2004).


13 spur many child soldiers to commit violen t acts, while age marks their innocence. As children are n ot fully developed members of society they are not held entirely responsible for their actions. Oftentimes child soldiers are portray ed as smug and armed with AK 47s. Images such as these lead to categories that reflect set personalities generated by the media. Seeking to generalize the multiple narratives and character types of child soldiers, Denov uses categorie s ov 7). These brackets appear to highlight some of the stereotyp es surrounding child soldiers One may consider how some media sources compo und information in order to capture and transmit news more succinctly. One may contemplate even further how this method of transmission may affect the overall representation of child soldiers, as images oftentimes supersede the particular realities from w hich they arise sometimes leading to e rasure or amalgamation of distinct historical contexts In turn by generalizing the child soldier he becomes part of a universal type a popular icon. And so quotation marks f or a moment to indicate the problematic nature of the term.


14 CHAPTER 2 THE TROPE OF THE WAR RIOR/HUNTER IN AFRICA N ART The figure of the warrior/hunter is a common trope in African visual culture Through a broad analysis of select works of African art and adornment, this chapter seeks to address themes relate d to power and masculinity that typify the con struction of the warrior/hunter type. After considering the representation of the warrior/hunter, I will then examine clothing worn by p aramount chiefs in Sierra Leone focusing on weaponry, hats, and tunics laden with amulets 1 The latter half of this chapter aims to draw out a conceptual shift during the war in which child soldiers began styling themselves after paramount chiefs, signaling a subversion of power. With the gerontocracy threatened Kamajor youth began to perform the identities of their elders who had traditionally projected power and masculinity, traits apparent in the warrior/hunter type in African art. Conceptualizing Power and Masculinit y Through African Art Power is not a latent force that can be exercised or held in check; it exists only in its dramatization and is evaluated according to its capacity for excessive (and often deliberately incoherent) public display ( Hoffman in Stovel 223 ) Icons: Ideals and Power in the Art of Africa at the conception of power and masculinity in African art history. Identifying key visual featu res related to social hierarchy in African art, Cole highlighted the warrior/hunter as a prominent and central figure to the structure of African communities, dedicating a 1 Amulets are ornaments inscribed with Koranic text th at function as a sort of spiritual protection for the wearer.


15 (Cole 92 115). For the purposes of this project, it is important to outline some of the main attributes of the warrior/hunter in African art in order to understand how themes like power and masculinity apply to the image of male child soldiers in Sie rra Leone. Cole succinctly describes the different social roles of men and women which are apparent in African art: 2 Women are often accompanied with their children, as mother nurturers, a de piction held in dialogue with the male provider who is often shown alongside weapons and animals While females are commonly portrayed as mothers and wives, men are depicted as powerful and even violent. These di stinct social roles are expressed through a variety of media including wooden sculpture and metalwork, as well as through textiles. The artistic conventions employed for the sake of the warrior/hunter in African art aim to commu nicate his strong social standing, across numerous cultural and hist orical contexts. A copper alloy sculpture dating from fifteenth or sixteenth century Benin shows a man with legs akimbo carrying an antelope on his shoulders (Fig. 2 1). He holds a bow while simultaneously grasping the legs of the dead animal with both h ands At his feet is another animal, which may have aided him in the hunt. Diagonally across his chest i s an open container, perhaps a horn for medicines 3 special substances meant to help the hunter during his dangerous pursuit. The close fitting hat f astened around his chin is a common article of clothing found in most warrior/hunter costumes though head coverings take on a variety of different forms. A universal feature appearing across all 2 As this research focuses on male child soldiers, the discussion of the warrior/hunter is limited to representations of men, although examples of female warrior/hunter types exist in African ar t, Bamana Jo figures from Mali for instance. See (Cole 103) and (Blier 111) for additional examples. 3 Like amulets, horn s can contain special medicines meant to protect hunter s from harm.


16 representations of the warrior/hunter in African art is t he display of a weapon. In the Benin example, from southern Nigeria a bow, but other representations of warrior/hunters may exhibit other t ools to imply his occupation The presence of the dead animal emphasizes the hunting c ontext of the work in addition to the valued skill of the hunter who has successfully procured food for his community Later we will see examples emphasizing the role of the warrior who protects the community from enemy threat. Artwork created by the Edo people of the Kingdom of Benin (1440 1897) came from the southern region of present day Nigeria. Existing up until the late nineteenth century, Benin reached great artistic advances, especially between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Local cour t records and accounts made by early Dutch travelers indicate d that the palace courtyard of the oba or king, was decorated with hundreds of metal plaques ( Ben Amos 31 32 ). Approximately 900 plaques survive today in public and private collections ( Ezra 11 7 ). 4 Serving as a sign of status as well as a record of court life, these plaques show narratives that include numerous battles and hunts. 5 Like the sculpture in the round of the Benin hunter (Fig. 2 1), several of the Benin reliefs depict warriors carry ing bows and wielding swords. Archery seems to have been a particularly vaunted skill to the court of Benin, as many plaques portray archers with their bows, engaged in hunting activities. 6 M ilitary attire is distinct and could indicate 4 These plaques, together with around 2,000 objects from Ben in, were brought to the West as a result of the Punitive Expeditions led by the British in 1897 (Stepan 76). 5 For examples of Benin plaques which specifically present warrior/hunter themes see (Ben Amos); (Blier 63); (Ezra 117 142); ( Kaplan 44); (Kotz 81 ); (Poynor 103); (Stepan 75); (Willett 181) 6 In addition to archery, leopard hunting was a specialized skill. According to Ben Amos, the leopard is considered the king of the bush and therefore references the oba in Benin art. Plaques from the sixte enth


17 the heightened p o sition of warriors within the social hierarchy of the Benin court. For instance, e arly accounts suggest ed that court officials wore imported horsetail headdresses which Dapper in Ryder 40, Freye r in Kotz 81). According to Boniface Obichere, hunters were principally made up from a middle age grade of mature adults and warriors, the ighele who had assistants and probable succ e ssors in the youth age grade, iroghae ( Obichere in Kaplan 51) Hunter s were privileged members of society who could advance socially with honorific titles at the village or court level through hunting large game such as elephants, leopards, and larger species of antelope ( Obichere in Kaplan 51). It was believed that the hu nter had without losing his life ( Obichere in Kaplan 51). upon as special, like those of artists, and thus deserve d special treatment and respect ( Obichere in Kaplan 51). The socio political context informed by classical works of art from Benin of warrior/hunter s forms a discourse in relation to child soldiers from the war in Sierra Leone. Just as the ighele relayed their knowledge o f the hunt to the younger iroghae age grade, so too were the children of Sierra Leone indoctrinated by older members of society. Later m y analysis will emphasize the import of t he warrior /hunter costume adopted by child soldiers that include headdresses, w eapons and other adornment s that speak to an innate sense of power inscribed by special materials Not only is it important to consider the subjects depicted, but also the material from which they were created. These plaques, and other art objects wh ich often portray Amos 10).


18 metal weapons, point to the significance of metal as an artistic medium as well as a symbolic commodity. Numerous metal sculptures created by the Fon of the Kingdom of Dahomey (1600 1900, located in present day Benin) depict the personif ication of t he god of warfare and iron, Gu 7 Typically he brandishes weapons in both hands, especially long ceremonial swords. The swords (referred to as basagla or also gubasa ), recall nce continues not only highli war rior like nature, but also seems to promote a divine lineage of violence and masculinity Representations of Gu are usually in the round and his l imbs are often elongated, thereby stre ss ing the import ance of his human form. One example, attributed to Ganhu Huntondji, portrays Gu without clothing (Fig 2 2). Commissioned by King Glele, this brass cast sculpture was purportedly composed of spent bullet shells (Blier 31). Furthermore, g unpowder was said t o be ceremonially applied to its surface before war (Bli er 31). This example underscores the ritual significance of certain materials in A frican art, as well as how weaponry is crucial to representation s of the warrior/hunter Animals, like the antelope slung across the shoulders of the figure in the Benin sculpture (Fig. 2 1) are important to the trope of the warrior/hunter and can materialize in different ways through different media. For example, rather than appearing along with na turalistic depictions, animal parts can be applied to garments Claws, horns and pelts of beasts are often exhibited on garments worn by different African hunter s groups, as in the example of a type of protective garment ( keghefshio ) from the Oku 7 A paralle l may be drawn in Yoruba cosmology with Ogun, god and patron of warriors, hunters and craftsmen


19 regio n in Northwest ern Cameroon (Fig.2 3 ). 8 Gowns of this sort are worn by keghefshio a group that oversee s healing and anti witchcraft activities to make life in the community more secure (Roy Si eber in Cole et. al. 4 ). The shirt s hunter s wear make public their knowledge of the bush, for the materials attached to the ir garment s basi ) that he has accumulated over time from the wilderness ( McNaughton:1982 54 55, Nooter 100). Further m warriorlike mentality of the wearer for the accumulations of animal parts display his triumph ov er nature or rather his ability to harness the powers found in nature T unics are not merely worn in the bush for personal p rotection but are also worn public ally, thereby communicating their special social status to the entire community ( Arnoldi & Kreamer 123, McNaughton 1982:58 59 ) While exhibiting slain animals parts through dress reveal s success p ublically, amulets and the c harged substances in which such garments are dyed are perhaps less overt expressions of protection and power (Bravmann 36 37) More specifically, in Muslim cultures, through Koranic inscription is concealed by means of wrapped fabric, casing, or other binding Therefore the trope of the warrio r/hunter displays power through revealing masculinity through conquering the physical world with weapons, while at the same time concea ling the spiritual defenses that has led him to his victory. Whereas some 8 For more examples of hunting ga rments from different areas and groups in Africa see (Bordogna & Kahan 23, 51) [Mossi, Burkina Faso], [Yoruba, Nigeria]; (Kreamer et al. 137) [Loma, Liberia] (McClusky 62, 68) [Maninka, Guinea], [Bamana, Mali]; ( McNaughton:1982) [Bamana, Mali]; (Nooter 104 ) [Bamana, Mali].


20 hunting tunics prominently exhibit animal parts, others tend to exaggerate power through the display of amulets. shirt ( batakari ) and helmet worn by Akan Paramount Chief Nana Diko Pim III of Ejisu provides an example of a military uniform worn by high ranking Asante army officials ( Fig. 2 4 ). 9 In the late 1970s Batakarikese ocumented bein g worn by Asante paramount c hief s at the funerals of Asantehenes ( King s of Asante) and other important men (Cole & Ross 214). The abundant presentation of amulets i n this example (Fig. 2 4), which encase Koranic verses meant to protect the wearer, leaves no visual space for the eye to rest. As one might guess amulets are especially important accessories in times of war, but they are equally important items at birth since newborns require protection as well Children from Islamicized parts of Africa have always worn amulets (Victoria Rovine), so it is interesting that child soldiers seem to accumulate and display them lavishly. Folded mostly in triangular and rectangular shapes, the amulets in this photograph (Fig. 2 4) appear in a variety of colors incl uding green, red and yellow ( ) and are covered in different materials such as leather and metal. Reminiscent of sculptural representations, the ruler holds a musket in his hands which symbolizes his power and prestige The weapon, as well as the striking number of adornme nts attached to his shirt, emphasize s the paramount c influential social and political position again recalling the figure of the warrior/ hunter. 9 For additional examples of war shirts from Ghana see (Arnoldi & Kreamer 14); (Clarke 27 ); (Cole & Ross 18 20);


21 Animals may be presented in whole or in parts to suggest hunting, and in turn, parts of humans may be utilized to indicate the hunting of people the warrior conquering his enemy. Several sculptural examples portray severed head perhaps symbolically referring to victory in battle ( Cole 98). Indeed the head bears a significant conceptual role i n parts of Africa In some contexts the head may reflect the base of human intelligence and emotions (Arnoldi & Kreamer 12), thereby the literal or metaphoric taking ses his or her socio political power 10 are diverse, o ften times the warrior is portrayed with one hand upon the severed head while the other clutches the weapon used to achieve his feat 11 In con sculptures and the war in Sierra Leone, one may contemplate how dismemberment relays power, especially in times of great instability. During the Civil War, militias committed public acts of violence such as amputating body parts p articularly arms in order to promote a sense of fear among the civilian population. Combatants enacted their masculinity through acts of physical dominance. As amputations were usually conducted to wound rather than kill the victim, one considers power a s a symbolic display, for those handless citizens were at once reminders of an impending threat a 10 For more on the significance of the head in relation to Yoruba art see "Or: The Significance of the He ad in Yoruba Sculpture" (1985). 11 Ikenga sculptures from Nigeria are kept in shrines by Igbo men in order to promote personal success via religious offerings, whereas in the Cameroonian 99).


22 As mentioned, the responsibilities of both the warrior and hunter in African so ciety overlap at times, translating to the conflated image of the warrior/hunter. One last example, highlighting the intersection of the various attributes that set the standa rd for the warrior/hunter type in African art is Chibinda Ilunga. 12 The Chokwe people, concentrated in northern Angola and the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, are known to have produced sculptures dating between the nineteenth to twentieth centuries of the mythological hunter and cultural hero, Chibinda Ilunga. According to oral traditions dating back to the 1600s, Chibinda Ilunga was a Luba prince and expert hunter who married a female Lunda chief named Lueji. Chibinda Ilunga was said to have innovated hunting techniques through the introduction of new weapons and huntin g charms, and also to have establish ed divine and sovereign rule to the Lunda court. Used in a courtly context Chibinda Ilunga statuettes are usually carved from wood and possess multiple key traits including a flintlock gun ( uta wa mbanze ), a weapon in troduced into Angola during the eighteenth century. Another typical accessory is the hooked staff ( cisokolu ) on which containers ( mukata ) for hunting charms can be placed. Antelope horns that hold special medicines ( mbinga ya kai ) which are believed to protect the hunter are depicted in so me representations of Chibinda I lunga T ortoise shells were used for the same purpose ( kafulu ). Additional a small calabash for gunp owder ( musase wa fundanga ). A small machete with a triangular blade ( kasau 12 General sources I use for Chibi nda Ilunga include: ( Manuel Jorda n 29 37 ), ( Wastiau 119, plate captions ), (Mack 138 139) and (Stepan 32)


23 Mwanangana 13 Chibin royal status is indicated by his headdre ss, a winged crown referred to as mutwe wa kayanda when turned upwards or cipenya mutwe when facing backwards. Finally an additional narrow headband made of beads ( kaponde ) is present in some representations. As demonstrated, the representation of the wa rrior/hunter in African art appears across differen t media and historical contexts. I provided specific examples from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, and Angola created from materials such as metal, wood, and fabric layered with animal parts and amulets to substantiate this pattern Taking on different form through a variety of materials, the dress and adornment associated with the warrior/hunter indicates his social and political power. In the next section, I will analyze how the trope of the warrior/ hunter is reflected in the appearance of paramount chiefs. The Kamajor as Paramount Chief? From the inception of paramount c hiefs in 1896 to the conscription of Kamajor child soldiers into the Civil War up until 2001, this part of the chapter chronicles the changing role of the archetypical figure of the warrior/hunter in Sierra Leone. Focusing on dress as a means to communicate themes related to masculinity, initiation, and secret knowledge, I analyze garmen ts worn by paramount c hiefs and the uniform ad opted by Kamajor militias i n order to identify a specific historical and conceptual shift the transfer of power from the old to the young a subversion of past authoritarian structures. B efore child soldiers began utilizing dress as a means of conveying th eir violent, masculine identities, paramount c hiefs had already appropriated aspects of the warrior/hunter costume at the onset of English colonization Utilizing 13


24 photographic portraits of paramount c hiefs taken by Vera Viditz Ward in Sierra Leone around 1986, I make comparisons regarding the military regalia adopted by child soldiers, captured in images taken by South African photographer Guy T illim near the end of the war. Often f orced to participat e in the revolution, c hild soldiers employed convention al modes of dress inscribed with power, traceable through the trope of the warrior/hunter and through the history of Sierra Leone. By the fifteenth century, Sierra Leone was divided into numerous kingdoms governed by members of society who held autonomous power over their separate regions these people of power were the warriors, hunters and traders of the community (Little 83 84 175 ). authority within their separate domains until 1896 when the British declared Sierra Leone a protectorate, thereby jeopardizing the political sovereignty of local rulers (Little 89) Upon establishing a relationship with Sierra Leone, British officials vested power in those who had already been in control by designating th ese local rulers, these warrior/hunter s, with the honorific title of paramount c hief (Fyfe 114 :1979 ). 14 Although the paramount c hief was still the highest ranking personage in his domain, he now shared his r ole as leader with a British distri c t commissione r who oversaw many chiefdoms (Fyfe 129 :1979 ) While the distri and hiefs were responsible for enforcing local laws, recruiting labor for community projects a nd coll ecting taxes (Fyfe:1964 253 254 6). Hut 14 It sh ould be said that the title of p a ramount c hief i s not unique to Sierra Leone, s ince other African countries possess leaders with this same honorific title. Furthermore, though beyond the scope of this research, female paramount c hiefs in Sierra Leone have been given special attention S chapter on Women as Chiefs (Litt le 195 6).


25 taxes imposed upon local populations to pay for administrative costs led to protests in Sierra Leone in 1898. 15 Paramount c hiefs joined these tax rebellions which were led by Bai Bureh in the north and by th e Poro secret society 16 in the south (Fyfe:1979 114 123) Ultimately unsuccessful, British forces eventually put down the revolts Beginning in the 1930s the administration of the chiefdoms had gradually changed so that by the 1950s power was more disper sed Not only did paramount c hiefs share the ir authority with members of their administration s and other lower ranking officials, their positions also became salaried, thereby negating the custom of tributes in the form of money, products and service. In 1961 Sierra Leone became independent and in 1971 it joined the British Commonwealth. The relationship between Sierra Leone and her former co lonizer resonates today as the paramount c hief system continues. Certain adornments directly reflect this share d past, as British officials once presented local leaders with ornamented canes intended as objects of display signifying the symbolic power of the chief (Roslyn Adele Walker in National Museum of African Art 6). An image of Paramount Chief Alimamy Salifu Mansaray (b. ca. 1896 d. 1990; crowned August 22, 1930), taken in 1986, shows an example of one of these objects r esting across his lap (Fig. 2 5 ). One may compare these wooden canes to scepters, since they are t opped with brass knobs and often bear the British coat of arms. Showing s uch canes are public ic power. In sum, the 15 A hut tax was a type of taxation introduced by British colonists in Africa. These taxes were collected for every household within in a community. 16 Poro initiation will be discussed at greater length later in the paper, but for more infor mation see (Alldridge 124 135) and (Little 183 185)


26 role of p aramount c hief shifted over time from hunter, to colo nial interlocutor, to rebel, to local functionary. The history of p aramount chiefs in Sierra Leone those who once revolted against the economic injustices of the coloni al system of governance, generates an interesting parallel to child soldier s who likew ise rebelled during the contentious socio political economic climate of the Civil War. Perhaps one of the most visually striking ways to communicate power is through dress. Beginning in the thirteenth century, Mandinka traders and warrior kings traverse d the Sahara bringing Muslim inspired garments into northern Sierra Leone (Roslyn Adele Walker in National Museum of African Art 7). Paramount c hiefs wear special gowns for ceremonial occasions that are made of locally woven and dyed cloth or of imported textiles ( Lamb 133 ) The type and quality of material can indicate the For example, returning to the photograph of Paramount Chief A l imamy Salifu Mansaray (Fig. 2 5 ), t he cut and design of the tunic indicate that it is a huronko Huronko is a Limba term used to describe a kind of garment with a triangular neckline and large single pocket sewn to the front, pressed with dark stamped motifs of various designs onto yellow or brown colored fabric (Lamb 124). huronko rendered in a geometric style with linear bands in addition to star like and circular patterns, would have take n a long time to manufacture, since the complicated process for dying the fabric requires the retrieval of plant material from three specific trees including the kubara tree, the roots of the mahogany tree ( kyordo ) and the bark of the ekuwere tree in order to achieve the red ochre color (Lamb 124). Such gowns are believed to ab sorb the special medicinal


27 substances that protect the wea rer from negative forces (Lamb 125 127 ). Therefore, huronkos can be viewed in relation to the efficacy of hunting costumes which were believed to secure the protection of the wearer during his tim e in the bush because of the special substances it was imbued with (McNaughton:1982 55, McNaughton:1988 71). Paramount c hiefs in Sierra Leone also wear head wear that varies according to ethnic group and gender. Hats not only function in a practical sense providing protection from the climate, but also symbolically as social markers revealing information about the identity of the owner (Arnoldi & Kreamer 13) For example, hats hiefs often wear hats with attached Koranic amulets, as shown in a photograph from the 1974 induction of Pa ramount Chief Bai Fork (Fig. 2 6 ). Indeed, one of the most widespread styles of headwear in West Africa derives from the fez, a flat topped conical hat form that can be traced back to the introduction of Islam in North Africa ( Lamb 141 ). However, for the purposes of this paper the most important hat form, made from locally woven cotton and still worn by both the Limba and Temne today, is the tri cor nered hunter cap ( kokon da ngba ) (Fig. 2 7 ). When worn, the two outside corners project laterally from the sides of the brim while the third hangs forward and to one side (Lamb 145). Typically the corners of the hat are topped with large pom poms, as seen in the image The hat was originally meant to mimic the horns of animals that would have assisted hunters in deceiving prey and averting the potential threat of other dangerous forest creatures (Lamb 146).


28 Paramount c hiefs display other emblems of statu s, especially on ceremonial occasions. Such accessories may include necklaces made of beads, cowry shells, animal teeth or Koranic amulets, as well as flywhisks made of palm fiber and hair (Fig. 2 6 ). The elaborate materials used to create these various heightened status (Arnoldi & Kreamer 112, Cole & Ross 230). For instance b eads were once highly valued import items and cowries were previously exchanged as currency before colonization (Hogendorn & Johnson 101). Furthermore as alluded to earlier, those who possess and display materials such as animal teeth, hair, and plant fiber may be seeking to announce their power (Ru bin in Berlo and Wilson 7) and especially in the case of the hunter, his hunting skills or communion with nature Although adorn ments can be for public display in order to convey to the community they can also provide personal, spiritual protection in the case of Koranic amulets. As previously mentioned, paramount c hiefs were offered imp orted canes as symbols of local authority as well as colonial loyalty. But chiefs often replaced imported government staffs with locally made canes or walking sticks ( Kup 163 ). Weapons were also ex hibited, perhaps recalling the traditional role of paramo unt c hiefs who were once warrior/hunters who protected the community through civil defense. A portrait of Paramount Chief Fayra Morlu Jabba III taken in 1986, s hows hi m brandishing a sword (Fig. 2 8 ). The numerous amulets sewn onto his tunic, and the mu sician who sits behind him speaks of t he continued status enjoyed by p aramou nt c hiefs at this time. The musician in the photograph with Chief Fayra recalls a tradition among the Bamana hunters of Mali who had their own distinct group of bards ( donsonjeli w in Mande


29 language ) who sang praise songs and epics narrating tales belonging to their particular some still do) ( McNaughton:1982 55 ). 17 The next section of this chapter will analyze the re imaging of power in Sierra Leone as children be come chiefs hoisting automatic weapons on their shoulders and wearing amulets around their necks and chests. In a way, these Kamajor soldiers take on the role and appearance of their elders, the warrior/hunters of the past. Kamajors: Initiation and Secr et Knowledge From the start of the w ar the SLA began utilizing local hunter s for reconnaissance missions because they knew the landscape (Ferme 75, Wlodarczyk 57). At the same time, local communities organized civil defense groups to counter the threat o f rebel advances thereby supplementing the underfunded and poorly equipped army with more manpower (Ferme 75, Wlodarczyk 57). Although it is difficult to ascertain a precise timeline the first hunter militia believed to have participated with the SLA ar e th e Tamaboro a predominantly Kuranko group from north ern Sierra Leone It was not until 1995 that the K amajors, an ethnically Mende group from the south and east of Sierra Leone, became involved in the w ar. Broadly aligned with the SLA, the Kamajors we re considered allies under the auspices of the Civil Defense Forces (CDF) providing the greatest number of defense personnel (Ferme 74 Wlodarczyk 62). 18 In addition to the Tamaboro and the Kamajors, other civil defense groups included: Donsos, Kapra, Gb ethis and the Organized Body of Hunting Societies (OBHS) in the Western area (Ferme 75, Wlodarczyk 62). Although these different hunting associations reflect 17 293). 18 It is estimated that the number of Kamajors at the time of disarmament was around 37,000 (Wlodarcz yk 62).


30 certain ethnicities and specific geographical loci, the degree to which they remained ethnically separate, maintaining particular identities, rem ains uncertain (Wlodarczyk 62). Kamajors were Mende hunters from southeastern Sierra Leone. 19 Kamajor is T he Mende language is open to a variety of interpretatio ns and Kamajor can thus also be translated several ways For instance, kama and joi Wlodarczyk 94). Though the accepted definition is simply hun ter, kamajor thoroughly connotes mystical powers mystical powers that may recall amulets referenced in the garments worn by warrior/hunters in African culture Before the w ar, Mende hunters comprised a small number of individuals who were charged with the protection of the community, primarily from wild animals but occasionally from human enemies as well ( Wlodarczyk 94 ). Protecting the community is paramount to the role of warrior/hunter, but he must also safeguard himself, and this is achieved through s ecret knowledge. research on Mande hunters who wear simila r clothing for similar purposes provides a compelling analogy: medicines for healing ailments as well as to harness sup ernatural energy, the hunters of the forest to satisfy their needs, Mande hunters are c apable of spending an extended amount of time in the bush Hunters are perceived as dangerous for their secret 19 s of Ferme and Hoffman as they have described Kamajors


31 knowledge, which allows them to overcome the supernatural forces of the wild. 20 This ability to survive the threatening bush gives their personalities an aura of mystery and intimidation. T hey are also revered as heroes by t heir local community for providing food and protection (McNaughton 54). Kamajor units, comprised mainly of Mende hunters, were likewise charged with safeguarding their local communities from rebel attack. They defended civilians by intimidating rebels wi th their appearance. Their costumes declared who they were initiated men with secret knowledge, men of power. Mende cosmology describes the transference of power from the nonmaterial realm to the physical world : All life and activity derives from the Supreme God, Ngewo Ngewo not only created the universe but also invested it with nonmaterial power, which has eye but manifests itself in various ways and on special occasions in human Ngewo is referred to as hale signify something much wider. It is that (material objects animate and inanimate) which can be used to secu re ends through nonmaterial by virtue of its power ( Little 217 218, 227; Wlodarczyk 94) A group of herbalists and Koranic scholars began a Kamajor initiation society to assist in strengthening the power of local defense forces in Bonthe district around 199 5 (Wlodarczyk 62, 102). The kamoh (initiators), who possess specialist knowledge of the Koran and mori magic 21 were responsible for the initiation of new recruits (Wlodarczyk 102). Poro, a long Leone and Liberia which functions to set behavioral codes for local communities, had been responsible for regulating phases of maturity through age grade ceremonies. T o 20 278). 21 A mori man is a practioner of medicine ( h ale ), who holds influence in Mende spiritual life (Little 273).


32 become a Kamajor, the recruit was supposed to have already undergone initiation throug h the Poro society; however, younger children were being conscripted and therefore hastily initiated during the war (Wlodarczyk 102). Kamajor initiation began supplanting secret societies at this time T he period of the Civil War redefined the institut ions responsible for ushering transition s from childhood to adulthood Boys passed through stages more rapidly, and as a consequence boys were recognized as men at an earlier age than before. Kamajor initiation functioned along similar lines as Poro 22 wi th groups learning both secret information and surviving tactics. Like Poro there was a designated space for conducting Kamajor rituals apar t from the military encampment S patial boundaries were circumscribed by time as initiates were only allowed to move outside of the bush and back into the villages during daylight ( Wlodarczyk 84). At this time combatants coated themselves with white clay in order to announce their presence to the community perhaps recalling rites associated with Poro As in the p ast, initiation helped tie members of groups together through shared experience. Kamajor militia s were instilled with routin ized training (as is the case with most child soldiers) during initiation. Initiators sought to rouse child soldiers, inspiring th em to act courageous ly Wlodarczyk 104). The idea of remaining brave in battle is a key element to the success of the warrior/hunter, who wants to appear masculine in the eyes of the community and fearsome to his enemy Maintainin g camaraderie among members of the same age set during initiat ion was 22 H unting fraternities ( donson ton ) are organized similarly to Poro. According to McNaughton, donson ton of communities in a formal s and sometimes stage group hunts (McNaughton:1982 54).


33 equally as important as fostering a sense of loyalty within particular militia units. Bonding through the process of initiation had changed as a result of the war. Since m any combatant s lost relatives during the span of the conflict militias operated as substitute families rather than a s a sort of temporary convocation ( Wlodarczyk 104). As alluded to earlier, specialists were called upon to initiate members of Kamajor society during th e war T hese Islamic experts referred to as mori men utilize d their comma nd of the Koran, harnessing power through ritua l s. Power was obtained through of written Koranic passages, blessings, prayer, time and sp Wlodarczyk 88), which were conducted through a variety of forms: Koranic texts can be written on note paper, folded and tied or placed in a pouch as a charm. It can also be written on a board ( wala ) with black ink or a piece or burnt wood from the luba tree, then washed off to create a dark liquid called nesi The liquid into which the words have been dissolved retains their magical properties and can then be drunk or smeared on the body for magical effect. The Koran can also be used for divinatio n ( fal ) and guidance ( istikhara ). Once the power object was imbued with medicines or the written word, it had to be concealed in some way (often wrapped with material) from both the wearer and those with who m he may come in contact ( Wlodarczyk 89). 23 Dur ing the war, as in the past, amulets were believed to provide both spiritual and physical protection in the context of hunting and military combat. Broken codes of conduct during wartime were believed to weaken the efficacy of power objects such as amulet s (Ferme 75). For instance, warriors pierced by bullets were considered to have participated which resulted in their failed protection ( Wlodarczyk 115). With the completion of the disarmament phase i n 2002, the war in Sierra Leone war wa s officially declared over. 23 Poro and Bondo (a men and sociation, respectively, active in Sierra Leone) masks can also be inscribed with Koranic verse and mori magic ( Bravmann 44 45 )


34 At that time, the new order prohibited the display of weapons and hunting regalia par ticularly clothes, headdresses, or protective amulets. The justificat ion provided was on the culprit The begi nning of the chapter addressed the trope of the warrior/hunter in African art, and then traced the history of paramount chief s in Sierra Leone in order to draw a connection between their powerful social positions and sim ilar manner of dressing The accessories and attire banned at the end of the war which included weapons, amulets, different types of headwear, and hunting tunics describe the costume of not only the warrior/hunter and the paramount chief but also Kamaj or child soldiers images to be discussed in the following chapter The second half o f this chapter focused on Mende Kamajor hunters and t he ir initiation practices during the war. Parallels were made to Mande hunters from Mali and to the Poro secret socie ty through the theme of secret knowledge. Pointing to a transfer in governance, the Kamajor replaced the long established Poro society as the predominant institution for initiation during the war Although some of the rites and rituals remained similar, the pace quickened and attitudes changed. McNaughton has argued that Mand e shirts abstractly reflect the bush as well as the desire to control his personal environment (McNaughton:1982 58) in turn, one may con sider how Kamajor militias reflect ed power through conventional modes of dress at a time of great in stability. Perhaps dress was a means for ordering a chaotic political environment for figures in the community who had long signaled authority the paramount c hiefs who were wa rriors and hunt ers in the past were being eliminated by rebel forces. 24 24 Sixty four chiefs had been killed by rebels or died from other causes during the war (Stewart 184).


35 CHAPTER 3 CHILD SOLDIERS IN SIERRA LEONE This chapter focuses on photographs of young combatants from Sierra Leone taken in 2001 by South Afr ican photojournalist Guy Til lim. Elucidating briefly examine the multiple aims of photojournalists who may drift between disciplines as artists, reporters, and humanitarians. A close formal analysis of a select group of Amulets and Dream s will reveal how the garments and accessories worn by CDF child soldiers recall the dress of paramount chiefs Images of child soldiers can evoke tensions related to violence and to victimhood. By exploring how image and caption function as part of the work I consider the specific contextual framework provided by Amulets and Dreams as well as the overall humanitarian angle of the project In order to analyze photographs of Sierra Leonean child combatants, it is importan t to view these images in relationship to his collective body of work. Tillim was born in Johannesburg in 1962. According to Stevenson gallery, which represents Tillim, his formal career began in 1986 with the Afrapix collective, a group of South African photojournalists with whom he was associated until 1990. During this time Tillim worked as a freelance photographer for foreign media outlets including Reuters, an international news agency headquartered in London (1986 1988) and Agence France Presse ( 1993 1994) (Stevenson Gallery) Tillim is known for creating black and white images that poetically ill uminate places in Africa that possess a sense of desolation, poverty, and conflict. His photographs seem inherently ambiguous, open to multiple inter pretations due to the aestheticization


36 of these serious themes. 1 Commenting on this tendency to produce attractive images Of course, there is always this: to change what is ugly and brutal into something sublime and redemptive. So I hav e photographs I like for reasons I have t hrob). A list of exhibitions and publications reveals the variety of places he has traveled, many of them areas of conflict. These include: Departure (2003), Kunhinga Portraits ( 200 3, these photographs of displaced peoples were taken in the Angolan province of Bie during the final month s of the Angolan Civil War ) Soldiers (2003), Leopold and Mobutu ( 2004, which documents a Mai Mai child soldier training camp in Beni near the eastern region of the Democrat ic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ), series (2004), Petros Village, Malawi (2006), Congo Democratic ( 2006, these images surround the contested presidential election in 2005 of Josef Kabila and Etinenne Tshisik edi ), Avenue Patrice Lumumba ( 2009, taken in Mozambique, DRC, Madagascar, Angola and Benin, 2008), Roma, citt di mezzo and most recently Second Nature I: French Polynesia and Second Nature II: So Paulo (2011 and 2012). Amulets and Dreams: War, Youth, and Change in Africa Omar Badsha entitled Amulets and Dreams : War, Youth, and Change in Africa was published in 2002 by South African History Online (SAHO) in cooperation with Unisa Press and the I nstitute for Security Studies. According to their website, SAHO was with the mission of offer ing an extensive encyclopedia of South African History. This outlet which aims 1 ly attractive due to his skillful framing and lighting.


37 (SAHO), is an interesting platform in relation to the Sierra Leone project, a country likewise compelled to undergo the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and estab lish truth and reconciliation committees in order to promote peace and justice. Images from Amulets and Dreams are no longer a ccessible through the SAHO website and publication s of the project seem limited to hardcopy form; therefore, it is difficult to d iscern the intended audience. Furthermore, I came across no reviews while conducting this research. author on the project, pr esents a poem at the open ing nzas hedges of thorn and men with AK s,/ wrapped dying cultures/ in ancient parchments ( Ba d s ha 1 ) Here, h e highlights amulets, the bush or nature, and the gun. Emphasizing the re curring visual aspects that comprise the icon of the child soldier, the text functions artfully in Ba how he and Tillim relate to the project as South Africans. He notes that these images are not meant are instead intended to encou rage change and healing in Africa (Badsha 3 ) The forward by Amara Essy, who at the time of publication was the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, emphasizes the humanitarian aims of the project (Badsha 5)


38 After this preamble, Julia Maxted provides a narrative for understanding how child soldiers broadly relate to the unfolding struggles in Africa with the section Children in War (Badsha 7 13) This overview is broken down into six essays which give more specific facts and figures related to child soldiers from different countries in Africa. The six sections i nclude accompanying photographs begin ning with Sierra partner Badsha), and B urundi. The Amulets and Dreams underscores the most obvious attribu te of the costume worn by CDF child soldiers. Their cultural identity is i nscribed upon their clothing: Instead of uniforms or fatigues that serve t o camouflage fighters, the tende ncy is towards emblems of power . For the Kamajors the points of reference were more exclusively traditional, and fighters are generally covered in amulets, charms, and specially prepared protective clothing ( Wlodarczyk 120) which supplement the image. In the first set of im ages, the description reads: CDF soldiers, demobilization camp. Koidu (Badsha 28) (Figs. 3 1 & 3 2). These CDF soldiers wear staple adornments of the Kamajor costume recalling earlier images o f p ar amount c hiefs Though it is difficult to tell from the photographs, these combatants wear button up shirts and jackets that have been elaborated with multiple amulets, which are wrapped in layers of t hread, or covered by strip woven fabric with geometric motifs, or secured using thick raffia cord. Their headdresses vary One conical and towering hat features bulbous amulets, whereas another shows a simplified band with amulets neatly organized and pa cked. Materials such as co wry shells appear sewn onto leather amulet s or braided i nto necklaces, again recalling the garb of paramount c hiefs. Draping down like the floppy


39 ears of an animal, one headdress could recall either the form of the kokon da ngba which intimidate s threatening bush creatures, or the pharao nic style headcovers which similarly drape down to cover the neck of the wearer (Lamb 146 ) O ne boy dons a headdress securely framed around his face with amulets and dangling fibers Lamb expla ins that headwear with long swathing can allow for additional support of amulets and charms, while also adding which could be considered highly desirable for ceremonial occasions (L amb), and in this ca se, war Arguably the most mo dern, important, and widespread accessory depicted in the hands of child soldiers is the AK 47. Gberie has remarked on weaponry which t But w hereas paramount c hiefs held decorated canes or musket s as adornments as symbols of prestige, child soldiers hold guns in the vein of the warrior/hunter, for genuine defense, off ense, and intimidation. of the viewer The range of expressions conveyed through the eyes, postures, and expressions of these child soldiers seem s to relate to a stateme nt made by Maxted concerning visual represe ntations of child Maxted in Badsha 7). This line of questioning corre s ponds to the ambi They hold weapons and confront us with their gaze and so in this respect we may interpret these child soldiers as aggressors. Conversely they are children who may likewise appear timid and vulnerable.


40 The photographs are quite res t r ained. T he bodies of the youth are neatly cropped within the borders of the frame. The narrow space presses them toward the center, limiting their range of motion and therefore their pose s They may hold weapons, but the vertical orie ntation of th e composition pushes them out into the periphery and away from t he viewer. Metaphorically, the boys and their weapons have been amputated by this half length portraiture convention which may also read like a mugshot. Sontag describes the visceral nature say, this does And that that is what it does, too. War tears, rends. War rips open, eviscerates. War scorches. War dismembers. War ruins bold my emphasis ). But these are not hacked limbs. There is no indication of blood or gore. These are boys in a state of inaction, still and standing not presently engaged in combat Instead of criminalizing mugshots, we may instead approach these formal por traits as humanizing, for they bring us closer to the subject through detail and composition. Although portraiture conventions in West Africa during the 1960s and 1970s brought more versatility, with sitters taking a more active role in their self presen tation ( Lamunire embrace established studio techniques as the frontal pose, compositional centrality, and incorporation of backdrop and accessories seem to suggest th e t heatrical staging of actors. E ach image appears beautifully lit and well composed. The d ark and light tonalities illuminate the child soldiers from the backdrop of a solid curtain 2 which isolates the subject thereby augmenting the intensity of the image Re flecting the modern theme of individuality photograph s became a vehicle for self definition ( Lamunire 39), however, i t is important to recognize the 2 For a brief discussion of backdrops in studio photography see ( Lamunire 32 33).


41 inherent difference between commissioned studio portraits and the documentary nature 3 One must consider control over t he construction of these shots of child soldiers for a s a ph otojournalist he straddle s realms as r eporter and artist. Indeed, c aptions function to report on contexts beyond the surface of these photographs The captions accompanying some of the image s reveal that these child soldier s are based at a demobilization camp. T hey have traveled to this particular location to surrender their guns as part of the process of DDR. And yet they still br andish weapons in their portraits. So one might ask why they still hold their weapons? Denov has provided evidence regarding the tendency of child soldiers to be portrayed in this manner political point, ex child soldiers ha ve bee n asked to pose with guns [and] humanitarian organizations have been known to comply with requests from film ma kers and journalists to talk to This observation seems accurate given Till photographs, which show ex soldiers posed with guns. However, u nlike some images of child soldiers that have been removed from their historical context s which help supplement our reading of the image s For instance, without the text, these image s may give the impression that these child soldiers are still active combat ant s. We solely from their portraits that they are in the process of demobilization i n Sierra Leone 3 Yoruba Photography: How the Yoruba See Themselves comparison relate d to self presentation and Yoruba portraiture conventions.


42 The argument for the significance of captions in interpreting the overall aim of the project is perhaps more compelling in the case of another pair of photographs in which boys are captured in an active set t ing (Figs. 3 3 & 3 4 ) These photographs show two CDF child sol diers against a backdrop of lush vegetation. The thi ck forest surrounds them, as the garments they wear seem to camoufla ge them against the ir natural environment. In one of the photographs, a group of young combatants progress forward (Fig. 3 4). One of the boy s pauses for the camera while a line of combatants steadily trail from behind lending the photograph an impression of spontaneity. The caption s inform the viewer of their specific whereabouts, in Kono State, n ear the village of Meiya. In another photograph, another boy appears isolated from the group (Fig. 3 3). Eyes nearly closed, he displays his weapon for the camera by brandishing his gun across his chest The captions note the ages of the aforementioned boys who are 11 and 16 respectively. A name is even provided along with one of the images 16 ye ar old Sahr Alibbie, pressing the AK 47 across his chest, is no longer an anonymous vi ctim (Fig. 3 3 ). Badsha claims at the outset of the project: The only an s wer that we can offer is that t he images in this book are informed by our determination that people in a time of displacement and loss, and living under the reigns of terror unleashed by competing elites, should Therefore, the proje ct advocates documenting the events it presents in a responsible and sincere manner for the purpose of creating a record, for the very act of remembering. Badsha the unending wars, poverty, disease and the inertia of continent wide institutions


43 I mages of child soldier s function in this work then not only to remind us of their lingering presence across Africa but also to emphasize the child soldier as an icon Promoting global awareness the child soldier embodies the complex economic and political problems on the co n tinent, which have led to armed conflict and international intervention Furthermore, the humanit Amulets and Dreams seems to underscore how child soldiers are being exploited nationally and beyond Not wanting to contribute to the misuse of images of child soldiers, nor wanting to remain silent, Bad s ha recognizes th e predicaments of the project stating: of that generation of South Africans who had to grapple with another burdensome question: how do we ensure that our photographs do not become the musings of voyeuristic travelers who know no b orders, are wedded to chance encounters, and are commentary as well as the context provided by Maxted and the supplementary help situate information in order to control any disingenuous engagement with this serious subject. A popular icon all over the world, the child soldier figures prominently on the continent of Africa. I mage s of young combatan ts appear alike at times H e will typically hold a weapon usually an AK 47 and he will most likely be a young he (where are the girl soldiers of Sierra Leone in Amulets and Dreams ?). In this sense, geogr aphical boundaries are sometimes erased and histo rical context s are synthesized Many of the child soldiers from Sierra Leone photographed by Tillim wear unique headgear, display an abundance of amulets, and carry weapons. The set of photographs discussed in


44 Amulets and Dreams are of CDF Kamajor child soldiers in the process of demobilization and some have names and ages Such discrete information is re layed via captions. As a photojournalist, composed and can be viewed as confrontational for the subjects directly attrac Indeed the photographs are meant to confront the audience, for this project emerges from a humanitarian effort to bring awareness to the crime of employing child soldiers These images are open to multiple interpretations and o ne m ay view these photographs and pass judgment on the child soldier, questioning the degree of his innocence But one must be concerned with this line of reasoning, for the child soldier is not a mere univers al type. H is identity is multivalent as are the circumstances that have brought him to participate in war.


45 CHAPTER 4 REPRESENTING THE RUF AND SLA IN FILM AND LITERATURE While the prec eding chapters have focused on Kamajors and the visual representation of the CDF thr ough dress, Chapter 4 seeks to estab lis h how child soldiers of the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) and SLA (Sierra Leone army) have been portrayed in film and literature An analysis of the 2006 film Blood Diamond alongside a more abbreviated account of Ishmael Bea A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier indicates a pattern in the representation of these child soldiers. While CDF forces wore clothing and adornments making reference to past modes of dress, the RUF and SLA adopted a separate appearance informed by American hip hop, pop culture, and military personalities. As an autobiography, Beah speaks directly about his experienc e as a former child soldier in Sierra Leone. His story begins in 1993 when at the age of 12 he was first 6). for understanding the war in Sierra Leone. Unlike the film Blood Diamond which projects an American (or perhaps even more broadly Western) non fiction. Supplying the reader with b its of context on the background of the Civil War, the author seeks to establish his credibility as a child looking back on past events, telling remember details of the day to details he strives for a sense of authenticity (even including a chronology in the back of the novel, as well as a map in the front), lending the novel a more concise historical lens that may recal l the background context made available in Amulets and Dreams


46 Blood Diamond directed by Edward Zwick, was released in the United States on December 8 2006, four years after the re establishment of a centralized government in Sierra Leone The film, se t in 1999, tells the story of a Mende fisherman, Solomon Vandy (played by Beninois actor Djimon Hounsou). Vandy yearns to be reunited with his family from whom he was separated War. 1 ughter and newborn end up in a Guinean refugee camp, he is captured by rebel forces and is then sent to work sifting diamond s The two other main characters are Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Zimbabwean ex mercenary who smuggles diamonds and Maddy B owen (Jennifer Connelly), an American journalist to reunite Solomon and his son Dia Vandy (Kagiso Kuypers) who was abducted by the RUF. A review published by The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis on the opening day, explain s how the film addresses the medium of photography Dargis implicates Maddy in the following excerpt in order to simultaneously problematize the moral aims of the film and photojournalism: easy to laugh off. But both are insulting because they transpire against a backdrop of human suffering, suffering that Maddy sternly lectures Danny for exploiting even as she snaps anothe r photograph of the very same might be directly engaging the contradictions involved whenever misery becomes fodder for entertainment, is answered by the documentarylike images of children roaming a mound of garbage, by the blank looking men and women sitting in trash strewn streets and by the periodically brandished arm and leg stumps. The horror, the ho rror (Dargis) 1 Blood Diamond Beah also describes being separated from the rest of his family during a similar chaotic scene.


47 The shock of wartime imagery forces audiences to confront dire situations taking place abroad, but as Dargis remarks bearing witness to suffering also becomes a form of warped entertainment. In her analysis, Dargis seems to pla ce blame on the manufacturers of images of suffering, those who take the photographs like Maddy However, in recalling Amulets and Dreams it is important to re s claims. Here, she and the character Maddy seem to overlook the efforts of photo journalists such as Badsha and Tillim w ho do not utilize violent imagery to relay the con flict in Sierra Leone Indeed, Amulets and Dreams is a project which consciously sought not to contribute to the kinds of images of suffering that Dargis details abov e. Furthermore Maddy is critical of her line of work in the film, while at the same time Badsha in the preceding chapter (Lynch 35). For example, when Danny mocks Maddy for writing about the image she took of Solomon reuniting with his wife and children at the Tassin refugee camp in Guinea, she replies at length: those infomercials Y ou know with t he little black babies with swollen bellies and flies in their eyes. And severed limbs B A nd it might be enough to make some people cry if they read maybe even write a check. B oing to be enough to make it stop. I am sick of writing about victims all I can fucking do, beca use I need facts. I need names. I need dates. I need pictures. they knew it cost s omeone else their hand. B get facts that can be verified which is to say, until I find someone who will go on record. Maddy is critical of her audience and also her profession. Her speech vocalizes some of the setbac ks she experiences as a photojournalist claiming that she needs to provide her audience with more information in order to move them to action


48 The film also places the camera in the hands of an apprehensive Solomon, perhaps unintentionally inverting the typical relationship between the photographer and the photographed. Danny instructs Solomon to pretend he is a cameraman so that they can travel more freely as members of the press. After compromising his honesty and eventually accepting the part assign ed to him, Solomon finds that he gains access to privileged spaces by carrying the camera equipment. In brandishing these powerful role as cameraman may recall the symbolic accessories of paramount chiefs who likewise relayed their power through the art of display nature of film. In other words, t he idea of an actor performing a role creates a parallel to the discourse of the child soldier, whose exaggerated b ehavior and appearance can be interpreted as a public performance. Claiming urban space, some child soldiers drive citizens away with noise and violence. Multiple scenes in Blood Diamond feature RUF child soldier s in the midst of disorder and recreation oftentimes accompanied by flames, gunfire and loud music. In this light, film can express the auditory component of As the film conveys, cameras are tools resonating power, for they are instruments that can capture d eath and conversely, save lives. When armed Kamajor combatants threaten Solomon, Danny, and Maddy, who are trespassin g through their territory, Maddy uses her camera to defuse the situation. In this initial exchange, Solomon shouts to the Kamaj ors that they are their friends and that they are not with the RUF or the government. Maddy interjects b etween Solomon and the lead Kamajor to say : Foreign Affairs magazine W as


49 wondering if I could take your pictu res G et my camera out d about your 2 A playful, impromptu photography session follows thereby alleviating tensions. She takes their photographs and even j oins them for a group portrait, which then appear s formatted for the audience in black and white, the choice color of reportage. The audience is given an intimate and literal close up of the Kamajors through these images recalling the black and white portraits taken by Tillim Before the impromp They are portrayed as quiet, steadfast heroes who reside in the forest, wear ing costumes that incorporate natural elements such as plant fibers and shells It helps that their garments camouflage them, since these Kamajor rely on subtle movement for their surprise attack, rather than the boisterous public display tactics of the RUF. After their exchange the Kamajors lead Danny, Solomon, and Maddy to a rehabili tation compound for former child soldiers 3 fact that CDF forces utilized child soldiers, Blood Diamond portrays the Kamajors (all 2 This scene is crucial to understanding the exchange betwee n the press, whose aim is to cover and announce important stories, and combatants, who wish to have their plight exposed to the greater public or to draw recognition and fame An essay by humanitarian worker David Snyder entitled recoun ts an episode in Sierra Leone detailing the eagerness of combatants to have the ir picture s taken their photos. I ready the camera reluctantly. One of the three slide s a pistol from the waistline of his dirty jeans. They all pose, stone faced, and place their hands on the weapon like a team with a trophy ( Snyder in is documented by Daniel Hoffman: A Kamajor in his unit cornered my assistant, demanding to know how much money I would be paid for images of one of the most fearsome, most respected, and certainly most notorious fighting forces in the world (Hoffman 349) This also highlights not only the consciousness of soldiers havi ng their photograph taken for an i nternational audience but also the economic transactions that transpire in relation to photographing conflict zones. 3 A connection can be made here to Beah In 1997, at age sixteen, he was removed from fighting by UNICEF and was placed in a rehabilitation center. From there he was flown to New York where he finished his schooling at the United Nation International School in New York followed by study at Oberlin College.


50 undoubtedly adult men ) as their custodians. In keeping with the Hollywood blockbuster formula, Blood Diamond clearly delineates M essage s of power communicated through the mutilation of the human body cuts across media including sculpture, film, literature and photography 4 Re visiting s review, she allude s to when rebels arrive at destroying property and dispersing and murdering people, recalls this popular method of intimidation utilized by the RUF for political ends 5 When a young man is asked in Blood Diamond whether he would prefer whe ther he would like his arm se vered above or below the elbow RUF leader Captain Poison explains to him : man, you must understand. The government wants you to vote, ok? And they said the future is in your hands. We now the future, so we take your hands. No more han ds, no more voting. Chop him. quoted earlier, describes photographs of people with severed limbs Hence amputation materializes as a me ans of political propaganda as well as a display of power based on physical dominance and fear, re calling the trope of the warrior/hunter As Kamajor initiation was discussed at length, it is important to consider the RUF and SLA initiation processes. After Dia is captu red by the RUF, he is shown lying 4 In Regarding the Pain of Others, Sontag notes the circulation of photographs of the children and adults whose limbs were hacked off during the program of mass terror conducted by the RUF, the rebel 5 Though estimates vary reg arding the number of people who suffered amputation, as many as two to three thousand people became victim in Sierra Leone, with more than half ultimately dying from their wounds (Gberie 199). Beah makes reference to amputation, specifying a method known where all of the fingers of the hand are severed, save the thumb (Beah 21)


51 naked in a pile wi th other kidnapped boys. Beah discusses his own abduction and recruitment, recounting similar privations related to hunger, exhaustion, and loneliness. In the film, the training process begins with the breakdown of familial relations. T hey are told that older RUF leader indoctrinate s the children through repetitive phrases urging th em to become masculine, reminding them that commanding office r says that respect is gained through fear and requires the boys to chant in unison same thoughts, they are made to repeat similar actions. They are all taught to use a gun by pra cticing on dummies before being blindfolded. Dia is called from the crowd to shoot. When he removes his blindfold he finds that he has killed a person. As the children go through the training process together, they face the same fears and humiliations. This indoctrination by the RUF, as portrayed in the film, breaks down memories and severs familial blood ties. Military commanders are shown step ping into mentor roles after gaining the trust and loyalty of youths In order to stand out among other memb ers of the military unit, child soldiers cultivate their own identities through naming and dressing. For example, one RUF member was documented wearing a t Officer Cut Hand), as he was known for cutting off both hands of his victims one at a time (Stovel 12). 6 With this example, one may consider the nom de guerre in terms of the gruesome performance enacted by child soldiers, thereby indicating his particular 6 A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone details other units whose names reflect particular crimes includin g the Burn House Unit, Cut Hands Commando, and Blood Shed Squad. Some of these groups had a trademark way of killing, such as Kill Man No Blood unit, whose method was to beat people to death without shedding blood or the Born Naked Squad, who stripped the ir victims before killing them ( Gberie 130).


52 role within his unit. Taking a nom de guerre has bee n a common practice in modern warfare, but the adoption of the practice by child soldiers seems to be more complex, perhaps indicat ing a shift in terms of institutional practice. Alldridge documented, boy has no real name until he goes to the Poro bush when it is given to him at h is circumcision (Alldridge 125). War names unlike names taken at circumcision, are meant to inspire fear. Evoking recognizable despotic leaders, 7 c hild soldiers draw on figures associated with mass terror and national dest ruction. Blood Diamond offers examples of the nom de guerre ceremony. F our recently initiated boys re introduce themselves to the audience between deadpa n scenes which are interspersed with live action shots of the ir training and daily routines. The s ignificance wrapped up in the display of weaponry is apparent in each of the f our vignettes, as the boys a re shown with guns or are handed one upon entering the frame. first boy, standing upright and staring blankly into the camera, presents himself as iation practices or perhaps war paint more generally. The middle to the right of the frame reminding us of his constant presence. Another boy dubbed The f our boys are names signals the erasure of their former lives as well as their pas sage into manhood. Now they may bear arms, now they can take lives. In this sense, the namin g ceremony 7 Beah notes a soldier who called himself Corporal Gadafi (sic.) (Beah 110).


53 is not only a rebirth, but also a death of their former selves the final sta ge of their transformation. Between the silent stills of Blood Diamond are live action scenes In one of these segments, the audience is brought into the rebel camp Child soldiers cavort across a concrete slab with makeshift canvas tents and metal scaffolding One child swings back and forth on a rope through the center of the stage as others engage in drinking, dancing and smoking. Most wear hats of varying types i ncluding beret s, visor s and a knit hat with a giant pom pom, and many hold weapons. In another frame, t he camera zooms in on a man wearing a sleeveless leather jacket and cowry bracelet before panning out to reveal Dia. He is situated on a couch next to Commander Rambo whose eyes are shaded behind red sunglasses. Rambo tells the boy make you invisible to enemies. Bullets will bounce off you. This statement should recall th e use of amulets employed for similar purposes. Drug usage resonates across narratives of the child soldier. In A Long Way Gone mixture of cocaine mixed and gunpowder (Beah 121). In analyzing the camp scen e, Dargis notes a specific pop cultural reference: touristic fascination with images of black Africans, who function principally as colorful scenery or, as in the gruesome scenes inside rebel training camps, manifestations of pure evil. Pure evil that, incidentally, likes to listen to rap and, in one case, wears a Snoop Dogg T shirt along with his gat (Dargis) T his excerpt ha s many implications including the mainstream dress code adopted by rebels wh o take on gangster like personae 8 Snoop Dogg signals a connection to 8 See "Letter from Ivory Coast: Gangsta War" which parallels the discussion of the development of hip hop as a persona among young people in Ivory Coast.


54 American hip hop culture specifically, inferring a global connection. Wearing popular images of rap artists, coupled with the use of bandanas and gold jewelry, child soldiers intentionally make reference to figures associated with economic clout. RUF c hild soldiers not only wear hip hop attire, but they also include aspects associated with soldier uniforms such as cam ouflage, war paint, and berets. Rambo, a fictional American ex military man turned mercenary played by Sylvester Stallone, is a key American popular culture reference often cited by child soldiers through name, action, and dress. Blood Diamond marks this fascination through one of the lead RUF officers whose name is in fact Captain Rambo (the same character who wears the Snoop Dogg T shirt). Oftentimes young combatants style themselves after violent chara cters such as Rambo by mimicking the brutal scenes they have watched on TV or have seen at the movies ( Packer 11 ). More generally, Rambo represents bru te force and power. In film, the character effectively destroys his enemies, which makes him an ideal prototype for child soldiers. Just as Blood Diamond integrates references to American rapper Snoop Dogg and the action star Rambo Beah plots the same course This provides a segue to focus on dress in A Long Way Gone for the remainder of the chapter. I n his novel, Beah recalls a soldier who had donned a Tupac Shakur T shirt with the slogan (Beah 119) and watching movies including Rambo: First Blood Rambo II Commando that Beah seems to list off Rambo movies, he likewise names many American rappers 9 again signaling the conscious appropriation of recog nizable pop cultural figures. 9 Some rap groups Beah mentions are Sugarhill Gang, Eric B. & Rakim, (Beah 6) Naughty by Nature, LL Cool J, Run D.M.C., and Heavy D & the Boyz (Beah 15).


55 Beah describes attire worn by both RUF and SLA combatants in the course of the novel, typically cataloging each component of an outfit in a brief, non descriptive manner. Early on he notes two rebels whose wardrobes consist of baggy jeans, sleepers (flip flops) white T shirts, red han dkerchiefs, and guns (Beah 27). A few pages later, rebels are described wearing sleeveless army shirts and jeans, red cloths, jean jackets, backwards baseball caps, Adidas sneakers, and multiple expensive watches (Beah 31). Drawing on this distinction in color, one m ight recall how wore a red bandana around his forehead in the film, or perhaps conju r e the notion of gang rivalry in the United States. S quads us ed color as a means to discriminate between their own unit and the opposing side 10 But w hen Beah subsequently chronicles his own clothing as a member of the SLA, appearances become virtually interchangeable as RUF a nd SLA combatants seem to have draw n on sim ilar styles, l a yer ing hip hop references and brand accessories Accumulating jewelry and name brand clothing child soldiers conveyed their prestige through a conception of material wealth. More than once Beah refers to crapes (sneakers), and in this repetition one gets a sense of how important this particular item of clothing was to him at that time (Beah 7, 9, 18, 46, 110). Shoes not only denote status, but they also refl ect mobility reliance on his feet to take him away from contentious place s. He recounts one particular event in which all of his old clothes are burned upon initiation into the SLA Beah recalls his replacement crapes wer e distributed Some people got Adidas and others Nikes I got black Reebok 10 Scholars have noted red bandanas and shirts being worn by rebe ls thereby indicating a pattern (Gberie 103).


56 Pump and was happier about my new crapes than anything else that was going on which burned in the flames. By destroying possessions that signal memories of the pa st, the SLA and RUF ushered in a set of new b eliefs new clothing and personae founded on a fragile political motto


57 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The costume worn by child soldiers reveals much about their c omplex identities. Kamajors seem to recall the traditional dress associated with the figure of the warrior/hunter Through the incorporation of unique materials such as animal parts, plant fibers and dyes, cowries, and the abundant display of amulets, ch ild soldiers display their power. Amulets, which often contain sacred verses from the Koran, are especially important emblems of power and protection. The display of power resonates with the figure of the warrior/hunter who is perceived as mysterious for his special skills, mastery of medicine, and secret knowledge which aid him in the bush. H e obtains these skill s through a process of in itiation. Kamaj or groups adopted some of the institutional practices of Poro, and were mainly responsible for condu cting rituals during the Civil War. One important ritual they performed was ushering the transition of adolescence to adulthood. In the past, it had been important to announce such social transformation s to the community, as these individual s were now co nsidered responsible in the eyes of the public and were expected to fulfill a particular role within the community. W arrior/hunter s were traditionally responsible for providing food for the community and for protecting his community from danger During t he war, hunters were especially adept in safeguarding the community because they had the advantage of knowing the landscape, and were therefore able to anticipate rebel attack The political climate was extremely unstable throughout the war. Many paramoun t chiefs, who held the highest seat of local authority, were being targeted. The dress of paramount chiefs provide s an interesting parallel to the warrior/hunter, for each utilized


58 similar adornments including tunics dyed in special substances, unique hea dwear, and weapons or ceremonial accessories. Furthermore, it was the warriors and hunters men of great public power, who were given the title and position of paramount chief by British administrato rs at the onset of colonization; thus, at one point in t ime the warrior/hunter and the paramount chief were one and the same. The dress worn by warrior/hunters and paramount chiefs influenced the military garments worn by Kamajor militias. Photographs of CDF child soldiers taken by Tillim show the appropriati on of certain elements particular ly amulets headdresses, and guns. These accessories reveal co ncepts of masculinity that can be linked to the trope of the warrior/hunter in African art a trope which emerge s from separate historical contexts and differe nt media. But to consider displays of power in relation to visual representations of child soldiers is highly problematic. As can be inferred from the Amulets and Dreams project images of child soldiers are ambiguous since the subjects can be perceived as innocent and aggressive culpable victims Their age, coupled with their weaponry, creates a disturbing juxtaposition. While Kamajors adopted a more traditional mode of dress, the RUF and SLA tended to wear clothing that made more contemporary referen ces to American hip hop and military culture. These costumes use d familiar images of rap icons as well as bandanas, gold jewelry, flip flops, and sneakers. Name brand clothing and accessories helped convey a message of prestige during the war And t he g un, pa rticularly the AK 47, was perhaps the The child soldier has become an international icon A Long Way Gone underscores the popular ima ge of the child so ldier : at ar ms has


59 become a pop Bond movie and T he Last King of Scotland and is the k ey point of Blood Diamond Indeed, image s of child soldier s appear widely across various media outlets and national b oundaries He has become a symbol for the continent of Africa, representing dire and complex issue s. Projects such as Badsha and Tillim under score the humani tar ian objective instantiated by image s of child soldiers. Blood Diamond though a ge neralizing narrative, functions along similar lines. The film publicizes the conflict to a broad audience and utilizes the character of Maddy to reveal its altruistic me ta narrative As an autobiography, A Long Way Gone seems to issue a plea of forgiveness from his reader. Indeed, representations of child soldiers, across different m edia, are a call for concern. Their image supplies visual evidence to the violen ce and instability of developing nations The warrior/hunter who seeks to order his environment a s well as his costume in the midst of a chaotic bush may remind us of child soldiers who present themselves through modes of representation that have become familiar to them While Kamajor child soldiers turned more to the past, RUF and SLA chi ld soldiers looked to the present With these two different approaches to dress, it is clear that the child not only his political ties b ut also the diverse and oftentimes dangerous, cultural conditions that surround him.


60 APPENDIX FIGURE CITATIONS Figure 2 1. Cole, Herbert. Icons: Ideals and Power in the Art of Africa Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1989. pp92. Figure 2 2 Nooter, Mary H. Secrecy: Art that Conceals and Reveals New York: The Museum for African Art, 1993. pp192 Figure 2 3. Cole, Herbert M. et al. African Art: Permutations of Power Gainesville, FL: Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, 1997. pp4 Figure 2 4. Kreamer, Christine Mullen, et al. Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art Washington, D.C : National Museum of African Art, 2007. pp123 Figure 2 5 Viditz Ward, Vera and Roslyn A. Walker. Paramount Chiefs of Sierra Leone Washing ton, D.C: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1990. cover. Figur e 2 6 Lamb, Venice and Alastair. Sierra Leone Weaving Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire: Roxford Books, 1984. pp146. Figure 2 7 Lamb, Venice and Alastair. Sierra Leone Weaving Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire: Roxford Books, 1984. pp145. Fi gure 2 8 Viditz Ward, Vera and Roslyn A. Walker. Paramount Chiefs of Sierra Leone Washington, D.C: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1990. pp4. Figure 3 1 Badsha, Omar (Ed ) Amulets & Dreams: War, Youth & Change in Africa Pretori a: SAHO; ISS; UNISA, 2002. pp28. Figure 3 2 Badsha, Omar (Ed ) Amulets & Dreams: War, Youth & Change in Africa Pretori a: SAHO; ISS; UNISA, 2002. pp29. Figure 3 3 Badsha, Om ar (Ed ) Amulets & Dreams: War, Youth & Change in Africa Pretori a: SAHO; ISS; UNISA, 2002. pp23. Figure 3 4 Badsha, Omar (Ed ) Amulets & Dreams: War, Youth & Change in Africa Pretori a: SAHO; ISS; UNISA, 2002. pp22.


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66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ashleigh P. Lynch was born in Daytona Beach, Florida. She began p ursuing her degree in Art History at Florida State University before transferring to the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2009, with minors in both African and Asian Studies. From 2009 2010 Ms. Lynch wor ked as a Gallery Assistant at the Ormond Art Museum in Ormond Beach, FL before returning to the University of Florida to complete her Master of Arts degree in Art History in the summer of 2012 During her time at UF Ms. Lynch focused on African art under the supervision of Dr. Victoria Rovine, while benefiting from the guidance and scholarship of Drs. Robin Poynor and Alioune Sow. Ms. Lynch will be continuing her Ph.D. studies in Art History at the University of California at Santa Barba ra