The Elongated Head of Mangbetu People

Here is an interesting historical fact of an elongated/portraits and ethnical believes indoctrination of a tribe in Africa.

The MANGBETU people are of central African presently in the northeast of Democratic Republic Of Congo. This tribe is uniquely known for the practise of skull strain.
Historically, The process of elongating the skull began at birth. The baby’s head was tightly wrapped with a cloth until the desired shape had been achieved. This practice was also traced to the Mayan and Egyptians.

Furthermore, the wrapping of the infant babies commences weeks after birth, before the head becomes consolidated. And it’s completely leave for the duration of ONE YEAR So as to give the baby a laid,portrait and elongated occipital head. This deformation usually didn’t affect the brain. As long as intracranial pressure remains the same as that of a normal person, the brain should be able to adapt and grow into the new shape of the skull, resulting in no damage beyond cosmetic changes. The brain grows (expands) in the shape it’s given.

In conclusion and according to their believe, it’s means sign of beauty and intelligence. The custom of skull elongation, called Lipombo by the natives, was a status symbol among the Mangbetu ruling classes, it denoted majesty, beauty, power and higher intelligence.

The practice started to die out in the 1950s with the arrival of more Europeans. It was also outlawed by the Belgian government, who ruled over colonial Congo.

Salaudeen Olayinka

A lover of history

2 thoughts on “The Elongated Head of Mangbetu People

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