The Hyena and Other Men

Images: Pieter Hugo


Sometimes you are reminded that the world is a much bigger place than the small blip your life occupies. Take these phenomenal images by Pieter Hugo for example.

Living in Nigeria’s shantytowns, the ‘Hyena Men’ are a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who use the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. This is a practice that has been passed down for generations and isn’t nearly as seedy as the Western myth surrounding these men – that they are drug dealers, bank robbers or bodyguards who use them for protection.

“The spectacle caused by this group walking down busy market streets was overwhelming…I realised that what I found fascinating was the hybridisation of the urban and the wild, and the paradoxical relationship the handlers have with their animals – sometimes doting and affectionate, sometimes brutal and cruel,” writes Hugo.

Is it just me, or do you also find these images uncomfortably compelling?


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