The rare process and ceremony of mato oput is undertaken only in the case of intentional or accidental killing of an individual. The ceremony involves two clans bringing together the perpetrator and the victim in a quest for restoring social harmony.
Mato oput begins by separating the affected clans, mediation to establish the ‘truth’ and payment of compensation according to by-laws. The final ritual, ‘drinking the bitter root’ is a day-long ceremony involving symbolic acts designed to reunite the clans.
The photos below illustrate the ‘beating of the stick’ followed by the sacrifice and exchange of sheep by both parties; the mixing of the bitter oput root with kwete and blood to be drunk by both parties as a symbol of washing away the bitterness; and the eating of the liver, to restore good relations.
The ceremony is followed by a celebration and restored relationships.