Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

I CAN STEAL YOUR WIFE; The Yearly Gerewol Celebration

Jul 10, 2022 12:00PM ● By Minna Davies
Wodaabe man looking into mirror

Photo of man adoring himself in the mirror (Image source: Getty images)

I bet I can steal your wife if you dare me. Well, not me actually, the Wodaabe tribe in Niger. So, whatever you do, try not to take your wife there on a vacation, she just might not come back with you.

A tiny subset of the Fulani ethnic group is the Wodaabe tribe. Historically, they have lived as nomads in the Sahel, moving from southern Niger through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western area of the Central African Republic. The Wodaabe tribe is highly recognized for their ornate clothing and intricate cultural rituals.

The men in the Fulani tribe called the Wodaabe in Niger, in West Africa are said to think they are the most attractive group of men, the tribe's male members are thought to be extremely conceited because they constantly carry mirrors around.

In the tribe, sexual relationships between women and men are completely permissible prior to marriage, and marriages are arranged during childhood.

The men of the tribe participate in a beauty pageant-style event and wear extravagant costumes during the yearly Gerewol celebration. Guys dress up for the event in an effort to win over the wives of other men. The men prepare and get ready for the celebration for six hours beforehand so they can dance and flaunt their skills. 

Read more about the Wodaabe Tribe:

Wodaabe men compete in a Gewerol festival Image by Dan Lundberg via Flickr httpswwwflickrcomphotos9508280N07675366895inphotostream

A Peek Inside the Wodaabe Tribe’s Culture and Gewerol Mating Rituals on Niger Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, Niger! On August 3rd, 1960, this West African country gained independence from the French. To celebrate the country’s independence, we are exploring the Wodaabe tr... Read More » 


Man making up for the festival (Image source: Getty image)

The culture holds that the whiteness of the eye, the firm, straight bridge of the nose, and the whiteness of the teeth are indicators of beauty. Therefore, the purpose of the makeup is to emphasize these features. They use red clay to paint their faces, eyeliners to make their eyes look whiter, and lipstick that will also whiten their teeth. Additionally, they have white ostrich feathers in their hair that make them look taller.

The smile can be scary, but it is part an important part of the festival (Image source: Getty Images)

Three of the tribe's most attractive women are selected to evaluate as the males perform a circle-dancing dance as part of the celebration. Other ladies who are already married to other men look up to the guys they want to be their second husbands. If a guy manages to take a woman without being discovered, he is instantly recognized as her husband and the union is recognized.

A woman Admiring a man she likes at the festival (Image source Getty images)

Due to the polygamous nature of the tribe, wife theft is largely acceptable. Despite this, some men forbid their wives from taking part in the celebration out of concern that they would be taken. 


Works cited

 Minna Davies is a creative writer and a thespian with a degree in theatre arts from the University of Lagos.  He has been privileged to have some of his works featured on Nigeria's big stages.  It is important to dream, but if no one gets to see it, it is as good as dead. 

Read more from Minna Davies:

Picture of woman after the fattening room


It is safe to say that in this era, getting "fat" does not figure on the list of body goals. That is not the case in the Efik/Ibibio clan In Calabar. Read More »