/ 2016 / Press / Sports

The Gris-gris Wrestlers from Senegal

  • Prize
    Silver in Press/Sports
  • Photographer
    Christian Bobst

Wrestling, “la lutte” in French or “lamb” in the Senegalese native
language, is by far the most popular sport in Senegal, even more
popular than football. Almost everybody, from the toddler up to
the grandmother pursues the big wrestle matches either in the
stadium, the television or on the street. Senegalese wrestling
differs from wrestling matches in western and Asian countries
mostly because of mystic rituals. In the western colloquial
language theese mystical rituals are often called Voodoo, but the
Senegalese call it Gris-gris. The mystical rituals are performed
with the presentation of amulets, the use of magic potions,
hypnotic drum sounds, songs and dance, all as a firm part of the
wrestling show. In the last 10 years, "La Lutte Sénégalaise" has
become a million dollar spectacle, mostly because of big telecom
sponsors, TV-stations and new media channels. This led to the
fact that successful wrestler become media-stars and billionaires.