South West Bay { 45 images } Created 6 Oct 2010

South West Bay is a remote enclave on the island of Malekula, Vanuatu. It is separated from the rest of the island by mountains and dense forest. The only way to get there is by sea or air.

Until as late as the 1960s the 'Smol Nambas' tribes living in South West Bay and the rest of Southern Malekula engaged in cannibalism and tribal warfare.

The rise of Christianity resulted in the extinction of warfare and cannibalism, but it has also led to the disappearance of local cultures and customs around most of Southern Malekula. South West Bay is one of the last strongholds of the 'Smol Namba' culture. Here the locals embrace the religion brought to them by European missionaries alongside of their age old customs and rituals.

Some of the more prominent chiefs of South West Bay have been the keepers of their ancient culture and even today they are just as likely to partake in the traditional grade-taking ceremony, which involves the sacrifice of a pig and provision of food for their village to feast on, as they are to attend the Sunday Church service.
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