The Dama is the rite of passage for the men of the Dogon tribe. Conditions must be just right before a Dama can take place, and in the village of Tireli, in Mali, it is the responsibility of the oldest man in the village, the revered "Keeper of the Masks," to determine the timing of the Dama. In this video segment from the series Africa, young men in Tireli feel suspended between boyhood and manhood because there has not been a Dama in the village in 20 years. There is a conflict. A spirit told the village fortune teller that the next Dama would herald the village elder's death, and so the old man believes that if he organizes a Dama he will die.
Learn more about the Africa film, "Love in the Sahel."