Honorable Mention / 2018 / Portraiture / Culture

Disappearing Wodaabe People and Their Culture

  • Photographer
    Dorte Verner

Wodaabe culture is a fascinating but disappearing due to climate and other changes. The
Gerewol is an incredible spectacles; an annual courtship ritual competition where men
dress to impress; perform to attract, find love or marriage, a night of passion or
anything in between. To get there, it's the men who compete for supremacy in front of
female judges. The Gerewol in Chad is glorious beauty pageants and hidden among the thorny
bushes and a few trees.

The Wodaabe are nomadic pastoralists that pack up and move every 3-5 days in West Africa.
There life and livelihood are affected by climate change, including recurrent droughts
that affect the water availability for their herds. There are conflicts in many of its
neighboring countries that also affect where the Wodaabe can go to for pasture and water.
Wodaabe movements are constantly being narrowed. In 2016, more than 100 were killed by
farmers.