The Gerewol is a traditional central African ritual, practiced in Niger and Chad regions by the Wodaabe’s tribes, which has the purpose of showboating in front of the most beautiful and desidered women of the community. This is a real competition where the winner is proclaimed by a jury of three women, chosen like the most fascinating of the tribe.
Celebrated once a year, this event is widespread in areas inhabited by Wodaabe. One of the most famous festival is held in Ingall, in the north-west of Niger, at the end of the rainy season in September.
Through the different decorative moments, like the dowry discussion or camel competitions, the ceremony is mainly divided into two phases: the first one, called Yakee, consists in the dance event. Here challengers, first of all, wear makeup, in a way that stand out the parts of the body used as evaluation criteria: white of the eyes, nose line, color of teeth and height. Red clay, eyeliner, lipstick and ostrich feathers through intertwined hair to look taller are therefore applied on the face. Follow a very peaceful dance in a circle, which allows women to evaluate the beauty of each contestant.
After the Yakee there’s the real Gerewol, a war dance which with its pirouettes and swords highlights men’s military skills. Its visual effect is remarkable and at its end women, accompanied by village elders, choose their own partner.