The Wagenya (Enya ethnic group) live in Kisangani, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They are known and famous for their fishing technique. Fishing and the Congo river are a central part of Wagenya life. Wagenya boys undergo circumcision around the age of 12, the ritual is done on the banks of the Congo river and the foreskin is thrown into the river after the ceremony has concluded. The Wagenyasay the Congo river is the river of their ancestors, legends states that a Wagenya can never die in the river because their ancestors’ village is located under the falls and it protects them. Fishing is part of Wagenya culture, the knowledge of how to build tolimo-s is passed down father to son. The tolimo-s are a collective symbol of Wagenya culture and identity. This tradition has existed hundreds of years before Henry Morton Stanley first observed them in 1877.
[Images by: Ghassen Marzouki, Pascal Maitre and Andrew McConnell]