January 2, 2016

2178 CHAD - Wodaabe man

The Wodaabe (or Bororo) are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group, traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic. In number of 100,000, they are known for their beauty (both men and women), elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies.

The Wodaabe keep herds of long-horned Zebu cattle. Their annual travel during the wet season follows the rain from the south to the north. Groups of several dozen relatives, typically several brothers with their wives, children and elders, travel on foot, donkey or camel, and stay at each grazing spot for a couple of days. A large wooden bed is the most important possession of each family; when camping it is surrounded by some screens. The women also carry calabashes as a status symbol.

Wodaabe religion is largely but loosely Islamic. Their code of behavior emphasizes reserve and modesty (semteende), patience and fortitude (munyal), care and forethought (hakkilo), and loyalty (amana). They also place great emphasis on beauty and charm. Parents are not allowed to talk directly to their two first born children, who will often be cared for by their grandparents. During daylight, husband and wife cannot hold hands or speak in a personal manner with each other.

At the end of the rainy season in September, Wodaabe clans gather in several traditional locations before the beginning of their dry season transhumance migration. The best known of these is In-Gall's Cure Salée salt market and Tuareg seasonal festival. Here the young Wodaabe men, with elaborate make-up, feathers and other adornments, perform the Yaake: dances and songs to impress marriageable women. The male beauty ideal of the Wodaabe stresses tallness, white eyes and teeth, and  sharp nose.

The men spend six hours preparing themselves for their big moment when, like peacocks they can’t dance and show off in all their finery. They paint red clay onto their faces, applying thick, black eyeliner to highlight the whites of their eyes and matching lipstick to show off their teeth. To finish the look they put white ostrich feathers in their hair, which makes them appear taller - and they have a white stripe painted down their noses to make them look sharper.

During the dance, the men stand shoulder to shoulder and slowly move in a circle. They are judged by three of the most beautiful women, chosen because their fathers have won previously the Yaake. Each female judge choose her own winner, and winning brings with it acclaim and their pick of women in the tribe. If they like a man, the women can chose to be "stolen" by him, leaving their husband, because they have all the sexual freedom, and are allowed more than one husband.

About the stamps
The stampis part of the series AIDS Prevention, issued on July 07, 2004:
• AMASOT logo (50 XAF)
• Prudence (100 XAF) - It's on the postcard 2178
• Your Doctor Advise you (150 XAF)
• Abstinence, fidelity, prudence (150 XAF)

The second stamp is part of the series Napoleon Bonaparte, issued in 1999:
• Battle from Jena
• Napoleon in Alpes
• Bonaparte crossed the Alpes
• Napoleon crossing the Alp
• First counsil visited abbey on St. Bernard mountain - It's on the postcard 2178
• Napoleon Bonaparte as First Counsil

Wodaabe - Wikipedia
The Wodaabe wife-stealing festival - Daily Mail Online
Gerewol - Human Planet

Sent from N'Djamena (Chad), on 26.11.2015

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