XIX. Chad

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Wodaabe

Wodaabe

Chad

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The nomadic Wodaabe community belong to the Fulani ethnic group, who are distributed across at least ten North-African countries. Chad is home to many of the Wodaabe. Far from the coast and land-locked, it nestles next to the great Saharan Desert. More than a hundred languages are spoken in this country of an estimated 14.5 million people.

This is a land of stark beauty, unique pride and deep colours – a gift of its proximity to the desert.

Wodaabe people are revered for their facial and bodily scarification. This impressive adornment of the human body is created by cutting the skin with razor blades and filling the wounds with a mixture of coal and butter. The numerous lacerations heal to form a thick, dark ‘tattoo’. This process begins very early on in a child’s life.