Wife-stealing festival to be held in Sahara
They put a spectacular show to impress the tribe's women who can take them as their husband.
The tribe's women can have sex with whoever they want before they are married and have numerous husbands. Wodaabe are the world's vainest people and believe they are the best-looking. Men are rarely found without a mirror
Because this competition is not for women, but for the men of the Islamic polygamous Wodaabe tribe - an ancient group of nomadic cattle herders who are the vainest and most beautiful people on earth, so they say.
The Wodaabe tribe, who live in the Sahel, come together each year for arguably the most intense beauty pageant in the world
The major difference with this pageant is that it is the women judging the men - who are wearing makeup and dresses. It can take as long as six hours to get your face ready for the dance at the Gerewol festival, held in September
The most important date in the Wodaabe calendar is September at the end of the rainy season when sexually liberated tribe gathers ahead of their transhumance migration – to celebrate Gerewol.
Most of the time the tribe spend their time in smaller family groups travelling across the harsh Sahel desert, mainly in Niger. They can also be found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Nigeria.
After months of trekking through miles of arid desert, Gerewol is the chance for them to come together for a traditional catch up – a festival of music and dance, which last for seven days and nights.
Its location is usually kept a closely guarded secret - and is only revealed days before the event is due to take place.
And by far the most eye-catching of all the dances is the Yaake – a mating call for men to battle it out for sexual supremacy, perform in front of three female judges.
The Wodaabe believe bright eyes, white teeth and a sharp nose make a man beautiful - and the make up enhances these beatures
They believe they are the most beautiful people in the world, and the men carry mirrors at all times to check their appearance
The men spend six hours preparing themselves for their big moment when, like peacocks they can’t dance and show off in all their finery.
They paint red clay onto their faces, applying thick, black eyeliner to highlight the whites of their eyes and matching lipstick to show off their teeth.
Women have all the power when it comes to sex in the Wodaabe tribe.
Unmarried girls are allowed to have sex whenever and with whomever they wish.
Their first marriage is traditionally arranged by their families when the couple are children – called koogal – or they can marry because of love and attractions, called teegal.
A bride stays with her husband until she becomes pregnant, after which goes to live with her mother.
She delivers the baby at her mother's home when she becomes a 'boofeydo', which literally means 'someone who has committed an error'.
While she is boofeydo, she is not allowed to have any contact with her husband, and he is not allowed to express any interest in either her or the child.
After two to three years, she is permitted to visit her husband, but it is still taboo that she should live with him or bring the child with her; this only becomes permissible when her mother has managed to purchase all the items that are necessary for her home.
But by then the woman maybe ready for her second marriage - likely to be men of their own choosing at the Gerewol - and it is all about the looks.
Wodaabe, who speak the Fula language and herd long-horned Zebu cattle, is the vainest of the African tribes and consider themselves the most beautiful.
No self-respecting man, it is said, would be without his pocket mirror.
'A woman with an ugly husband will try to escape,' a tribal woman observed.
'If she doesn't, it is because she really loves her husband!'
Unlike the women, the men have relatively little control when it comes to sex.
The original article is appeared on Daily The Mail.
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