Wodaabe

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Wodaabe

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. 

The home environment of the Wodaabe people is called the wuro.

This is a land of stark beauty, unique pride and deep colours – a gift of its proximity to the desert. More than a hundred languages are spoken in this country of an estimated 14.5 million people.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Preparations for the Gerewol festival are at the end of the rainy season in September. Once every year the Woodabe gather their different nomadic clans on the central plains of Chad. To ensure healthy mixed bloodlines, a love festival is organized. Girls and boys prepare to show, flirt, dance and sing their cultural heritage into the future.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint Available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint Available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint Available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint Available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint Available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint Available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

No journey is ever straightforward. Having safely arrived in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, we are immediately deported into the bush to look for the Woodabe. We were warned the rain season was late this year and the journey could be sticky, but nothing prepared us for how sticky it really became.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

A long, long day. With excited anticipation we get up at 4.30 am to move into the village to witness the preparations for the first day of the Gerewol.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

Days of practice, a year of waiting and the highlight of the Gerewol festivities begin. With the men in complete costume and feathers at their finest, three women are given the privilege to choose the winners.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad


With a mobile studio in hand we make our introduction to the Woodaabe.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad

After the men have exhausted themselves the women take over. Colourfully dressed, deeply tattooed and adored in gold they kindly mock the vanity of the males, but not after they have seen themselves on camera.

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Wodaabe, Gerewol, Chad