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Gerewol Festival: Male beauty pageant where female judges sleep with winners

For starters, the Wodaabe tribe, also known as the Mbororo or Bororo are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group.

The group is traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, western region of the Central African Republic and the northeastern of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The Wodaabe people are known for their elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies.

Aside from the tribe’s history, the tribe is involved in various social activities among them a male beauty pageant dubbed ‘The Gerewol’.

The pageant is held in the desert where men dance and sing for the attention of female judges who may take them as lovers after the competition.

Wodaabe tribe
The Wodaabe people are known for their elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies Photo: Courtesy

In the contest, men wear make up, some apply red ochre, while others paint their faces in unique geometric patterns.

The men also wear hats made from ostrich plumes and pompoms, long braids to symbolize wealth, beaded necklaces and lipstick.

After the contest, winners are identified by judges who choose their champion as take them as their lovers, even if both already have partners.

Wodaabe Tribe
In the contest, men wear make up, some apply red ochre, while others paint their faces in unique geometric patterns Photo: Courtesy

The winners are celebrated for years to come.

“You participate Gerewol to try to win a lover, even if it means stealing someone’s wife. You can marry her, or have a fling with her,” Djao, who met his second wife Tembe at Gerewol event said.

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GOTTA.news learnt that no stigma is attached to setting aside one’s marriage vows at Gerewol whether temporarily or permanently.

Wodaabe tribe
The winners are celebrated for years to come Photo: Courtesy

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