Art and Initiation Among the Yaka and Suku
by Arthur Bourgeois
Professor Emeritus, Governors State University
Biteke (Yaka figures) are used to support or contain special concoctions for the treatment of a hereditary curse that has entered a lineage blood line. Originally the mbwoolo curse enters a lineage through the theft of some object placed under the charm's protection and becomes a hereditary affliction destined to reappear in future members. Its curative capacity can be induced by the one who first invoked the mbwoolo curse or by a special ritual practitioner qualified to activate it. Influence of this curse can "make-ill" or "make well."