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Meet Niger’s beautiful Wodaabe people

The Wodaabe or Bororoare people are proud traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders from a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group who are scattered across the sub-Saharan Sahelian steppe in Niger, West Africa

The Wodaabe speak the Fula language and don’t use a written language. In the Fula language, woda means “taboo”, and Wodaabe means “people of the taboo” which could be easily translated as “those who respect taboos”

Origins

It is alleged that the Wodaabe people’s origins could be traced back to two brothers, Ali and Degereejo. Mostly known for their their beauty (both men and women), elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies, the exact origins of the Wadaabe people are heavily debatable as scholars differ with some claiming that they originated in the upper Nile basin and some saying they came from Ethiopia, while others maintain that they came from Egypt.

Beauty

Beautiful wadaabe women.Photo:Timothy Allen via humanplanet
Beautiful wadaabe women.Photo:Timothy Allen via humanplanet

The Bororo tribe attracts attention because of their traditional value of beauty and homogeneity which they have successfully kept in their group mainly because they largely keep to themselves and rarely marry outside of their own group, which enables them to keep their cultural and genetic identity pure.

From L-R: Wodaabe woman and man looking beautiful for the gerewol or  beauty contest. Photos:Timothy via humanplanet
From L-R: Wodaabe woman and man looking beautiful for the gerewol or beauty contest. Photos:Timothy via humanplanet

Labelled as the architect of beauty pageants, the Wodaabe people consider themselves to be the most beautiful people in the world. The Bororo have been able to resist most colonialisation, imperialism and modernism that is tormenting Africa today because of their nomadic lifestyle.

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