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Published on Oct 25, 2016
The Gerewol is an annual courtship ritual competition among the Woodabe Japto people of Western Chad. Young men dressed in elaborate ornamentation and made up in traditional face painting gather in lines to dance and sing, vying for the attentions of marriageable young women. The Gerewol occurs each year as the traditionally nomadic Woodabe cattle herders gather at the southern edge of the Sahara in Chad before dispersing south on their dry season pastures. There is normally a large festival and market as well as a series of clan meetings that take place for the Woodabe. The actual dance event is called the Yaake, while other less famous elements—bartering over dowry, competitions or horse races among suitors—make up the week-long Gerewol.